Driver Surcharges are additional payments assessed by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) against drivers convicted of certain driving offenses. Surcharges are in addition to court fines or fees related to the conviction. DPS assesses the surcharge each year for three years, starting from the date of conviction, for the following driving offenses:
DPS will send the notice by mail to the address they have on file for you. If you’ve moved and haven’t changed your address with DPS, you might not receive the notice, and your license could be suspended without your knowledge. To find out if you have a surcharge, contact DPS or go to www.txsurchargeonline.com, click the online services button and enter the requested information. There is a fee for the search.
You must pay the surcharge either in full or as part of an installment plan within 30 days of receiving the notice, or DPS will automatically suspend your license. The suspension will remain in effect until all surcharges, costs, collection and reinstatement fees are paid. DPS outsources surcharge collection to a private company that adds service fees on top of the surcharge. So, a driver with a first DWI conviction and a surcharge of $1000 for 3 years could pay a total of $3210 ($3000 in surcharges, $120 in service fees and $90 in installment plan fees).
Yes, if you are low income and qualify for one of the following DPS Programs:
NOTE: Under either program, you must pay the entire reduced balance within six 6 months. During this 6-month period, all surcharge suspensions will be lifted. If you don’t pay in full during that time, your license will be suspended until the reduced balance is paid in full. You will not lose the reduction.
1. Get the application and instructions.
- Go to www.txsurchargeonline.com/Indigence.aspx .You can apply online, download the application and instructions, or call (866) 223-3583 to have one mailed to you. More information, including Federal Poverty Guidelines, is available on the same web page.
2. Gather supporting documents.
The type of documents required depends upon whether you’re applying for the Indigency Program or the Incentive Program. Here are some examples:
- A 1040 for the prior tax year with 1099 forms related to the 1040
- The most recent two (2) months’ bank statements
- The most recent two (2) paycheck stubs from all employers
- Unemployment claims of payment or denial letter for the previous months
- Social Security Supplemental Income (SSI) statements and receipts
3. Sign and verify the application.
You can sign it in front of a notary OR you can complete, sign and attach an Unsworn Declaration form instead. Texas law allows an Unsworn Declaration in lieu of a written verification, certification, oath, or affidavit. Tex. Civ. P. & Rem. Code Sec.132.001. For a free Unworn Declaration form, visit http://texaslawhelp.org/resource/do-it- yourself-court- forms-free.