UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 8:53am
Texans whose driver licenses have been suspended for failing to pay state-mandated surcharges are urged to take advantage of a one-time payment amnesty from Jan. 17 to April 17, 2011.
The Texas Department of Public Safety will offer lower payments to individuals who have been suspended and are in default on their surcharges. The goal of the amnesty period is to bring drivers into compliance with the surcharge law, and allow them to become licensed and insured drivers. The amnesty reduction does not apply to any other fees that you may owe the Department.
Those eligible for the Amnesty Program are anyone who had a surcharge assessed between Sept. 30, 2004, and Dec. 31, 2008, and were delinquent on those payments. The surcharges meeting the above criteria must be in default before the amnesty period.
Those who qualify for the Amnesty Program will pay 10 percent of the original amount owed for all surcharges combined, for a maximum amount of $250. Service fees will still apply. Any payments already made will be applied to the reduced amount, and if prior payments are more than the reduced amount due, no payment will be required. Prior payments more than the reduced amount due will not be refunded.
To apply for the Amnesty Program beginning January 17, 2011, see our surcharge website at www.txsurchargeonline.com  or call 1-877-207-3170. No requests will be accepted by mail, email or fax.
Once the online or telephone application is approved, the surcharge suspensions will be cleared on the applicant’s driving record within three business days. Applicants will be provided the reduced amount to pay, and they can begin making payments after three business days.
Applicants for the Amnesty Program can pay in full or make payments, but the full amount must be paid by April 17, 2011. If payment in full is not received by April 17, 2011, the reduction is voided and the suspensions are put back on the driving record.
The Department does not have plans to offer another amnesty period.
An Indigency program will be offered after the amnesty period ends in April. The Indigency program will apply to individuals at or below 125 percent of poverty level, using a sworn affidavit; will reduce the amount to 10 percent of total surcharges owed, not to exceed $250; and will rescind suspension for those who receive indigency while payments are being made. Anyone assessed a surcharge since September 30, 2004 will be eligible for the Indigency program.
The Driver Responsibility Program, which assesses fees for a variety of driving-related offenses, was passed by the Legislature in 2003 and directed the Department to administer the program. Traffic offenses that carry an automatic surcharge for three years, include DWI-related offenses, no insurance, driving while license suspended, driving without a license and point accumulation. (For example, the fee for a first-time DWI offender is $1,000 per year for three years.) The revenue generated by DRP goes to trauma centers, emergency medical services and the general revenue Fund.
Surcharges are in addition to all other reinstatement fees required for other administrative actions and do not replace any administrative suspension, revocation, disqualification or cancellation action that results from these same convictions.
From Texas Department of Public Safety