What is the Driver Responsibility Program?

The Driver Responsibility Program establishes a system that authorizes the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to assess surcharges to an individual based on certain traffic offenses that have occurred on or after September 1, 2003. Individuals are notified by mail each time a surcharge is added to their driver record. Surcharges are in addition to other fees and do not replace a suspension, revocation, denial, disqualification or cancellation resulting from the same conviction.

Surcharges are assessed in two ways:

  1. Point System, and

  2. Conviction Based.

Individuals who have both points and convictions reported to their driver record will receive separate surcharges for each offense; a surcharge for the points and a surcharge for the conviction(s).

The Driver Responsibility Program (DRP) was enacted in 2003 and can be found in Chapter 708 of the Texas Transportation Code. DRP requires the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to apply surcharges to individuals with certain traffic convictions. A surcharge is an administrative fee charged to a driver based on the number of points or convictions on the driver record. A driver may receive separate surcharges for both points and convictions. Surcharges are applied in addition to other fees, i.e., administrative, SR-22, etc. and do not replace a suspension, revocation, disqualification, denial, or cancellation resulting from these convictions. In other words, your license may still be automatically be suspended as a result of failing a breath/blood test and then it can be suspended again after your conviction if the license surcharges are not paid.


Conviction-Based License Surcharges

Drivers who are convicted of one or more of the offenses listed below will pay a yearly surcharge for three years from the date of each conviction once the conviction has been reported to DPS. No points are applied for these offenses since the surcharge is automatic upon conviction. This means that if you are, for example, convicted of a 2nd DWI within 3 years of your 1st conviction, you will pay both surcharges until it has been 3 years since the initial conviction.  After the 3 years since the initial conviction has passed, you will continue to pay the license surcharges on the 2nd conviction until 3 years have passed since the 2nd conviction.

1st Offense Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)

  • Texas or out-of state conviction for DWI, Intoxication Assault or Manslaughter

  • Surcharge: $1000 per year for 3 years. Total: $3000.

DWI with Blood Alcohol Concentration of 0.16 or More (Including 1st Offenses)

  • Texas or out-of state conviction for DWI

  • Surcharge: $2000 per year for 3 years. Total: $6000.

2nd or More Offense Driving while Intoxicated (DWI)

  • Subsequent Texas or out-of state conviction for DWI, Intoxication Assault or Manslaughter

  • Surcharge: $1500 per year for 3 years. Total: $4500.


Note: The table above only includes DPS license surcharges. This table does not include mandatory fines imposed by the court that will result from criminal conviction.  Additional court costs and fees will likely also be imposed. See the DWI Fines & Penalties page for more information. License surcharges do not include Reinstatement Fees. You will be charged the license surcharge, in addition to any reinstatement fees. See the (ALR) License Revocation page for more information.


DPS Driver Record Review

DPS reviews surcharge cases annually. A surcharge will be assessed if an individual’s driver record:

  1. Continues to reflect six or more points, or

  2. If the underlying conviction for the surcharge is still within three years.

The amount of a surcharge can vary with each annual assessment if convictions are added or removed from the driver record. The number of points on a record can vary each year based on convictions that are added or removed.  Please be aware there is a lapse in time from the date you are convicted for an offense and the date your conviction is reported to DPS by the courts. As a result, points may be added to or deducted from your record for offenses committed in the previous 12-month period.


How will I know if I receive a surcharge for an offense?

You will receive a notice through the mail to your most recent address on file at DPS or to the most recent forwarding address with the United States Postal Service if it is different.

Reminder, it is required by statute (Texas Transportation Code §521.054) that you notify DPS within 30 days of when your address changes.

To change your address online, visit www.dps.texas.gov/DriverLicense under “Online Services.” The surcharge must be paid within 105 days to prevent suspension of your driving privileges. 


DPS Contracts with a Vendor

DPS contracts with an outside vendor (Municipal Services Bureau - MSB) to collect surcharges. This vendor is legally authorized to charge individuals the following service fees in addition to the surcharge.

  1. A service fee of 4 percent of the original surcharge amount.

  2. An installment plan fee of $2.50 for each partial payment.

  3. A credit or debit card fee of 2.25 percent of the payment plus $0.25 (except where prohibited by law).

  4. An electronic check fee of $2.00 for each payment.

Individuals are mailed notification of surcharges to the address on record with DPS or to the most recent forwarding address on record with the U.S. Postal Service. The letter will include:

  • The amount of the surcharge and other collection fees, and

  • Information on how to pay.


How Do I Pay My Surcharge?

Initial surcharges notices must be paid within 105 days or an individual’s driver license will be suspended for failure to comply with the surcharge requirements. Individuals can pay all three years in advance, the 1st year in full, or enter into an installment agreement within the 105 days. The individual’s driving privileges will remain suspended until an installment agreement is established or all surcharges and related costs are paid in full.

Payments may be made online at www.txsurchargeonline.com , by phone, mail, or at HEB, Walmart, Kroger, MoneyGram, or Western Union. Payment methods include, check, money order, credit/debit card, electronic check, and wire transfer.

Make check or money order payment to MSB.

Mailing Address:
Surcharge Processing
PO Box 16733
Austin, TX 78761-6733

Please allow three to five days for processing. MSB Customer Service: (800) 688-6882.


Do I have to pay the full amount of the surcharge at one time?

You may pay the surcharge in installments but will be charged a $2.50 service fee for each payment. Failing to make a monthly installment payment will result in suspension of your driving privileges. You may only reinstate a defaulted installment agreement by submitting the minimum monthly payment or paying the remaining balance in full. 


Advanced Payment Option

This option only applies to first year surcharges assessed on and after 11/23/14 and allows an individual to pay the full assessment in one payment. In order to 'Advanced Pay' you must make a single up-front payment in the amount identified on the notice(s) as the advanced payment amount. The only surcharge charge amounts that qualify for an Advance Payment are Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), No Insurance, Driving While License Invalid (DWLI), and Driving without a License (endorsements included).

Point surcharges are not eligible because your points may vary with each yearly review if convictions are added or removed from the driver record or a point is deducted for every 12 months an individual does not receive a moving violation conviction.

Please visit Municipal Services Bureau (MSB) or call 1-800-688-6882 and speak to a Program Specialist for more information about Advance Payment.

Payments can be made online at Municipal Services Bureau (MSB) or by calling 800-688-6882.

Individuals may also mail a personal check, money order or cashier’s check to the address below. Do not send cash. Individuals must write their name, driver license number and reference number on their payment so their record can be properly identified. Make check or money order payment to MSB and allow three days for processing.

Mailing Address:
Surcharge Processing
PO Box 16733
Austin, TX 78761-6733

To learn more about additional payment options including ACE Cash Express, Money Gram or Western Union, HEB, Wal-Mart, or Kroger locations nationwide please visit the Frequently Asked Questions webpage or call 800-688-6882.


Indigency and Incentive Programs

The Indigency Program waives the amount of surcharges owed for individuals who have incomes at or below 125% of the federal poverty guidelines defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Under this program, the surcharge amount owed is waived.

  • Once approved for a reduction under the Incentive program, the individual must pay the reduced balance in full within six (6) months. All surcharge suspensions will be lifted during this period. If the individual does not pay the balance in full by the due date, their driving privileges will be suspended until the reduced balance is paid in full.

The Incentive Program reduces the amount of surcharges owed for some individuals who have incomes above 125% and below 300% of the federal poverty guidelines. Under this program, the surcharge amount owed is reduced to 50%

A summary of additional features and requirements of these programs are:

  1. All surcharges assessed are eligible for a reduction.

  2. Customers are still required to pay the full amount of all other applicable fees.

The Court Ordered Indigence Program waives all surcharges related to a particular conviction that occurred in a particular court, provided that the individual proves indigence to the court. Please note: If an Order is received from a court other than the one where the conviction occurred, it will not be accepted.


Other Surcharge Reduction Programs

Military Deferral – If you are an active member of the United States Armed Forces and you will be or are currently deployed outside the continental United States


The Trauma Center and Texas General Revenue Fund

Collected surcharges are forwarded to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts on a monthly basis who then distributes 99 percent of the money to The Trauma Center and Texas General Revenue Fund. DPS receives the remaining one percent for administration of the Driver Responsibility Program.


For Municipal Services Bureau Inquiries, use the Contact Us Form located at

https://www.txsurchargeonline.com/contactus.aspx

or

Email: dpsinquiry@gilacorp.com