You likely know a fellow Texan whose drivers license has been suspended by the egregious and unjust Texas Driver Responsibility Program (TDRP).
Never heard of it? If you drive, or depend on someone who does, you need to learn about it.
Over 1.3 million Texans have had their drivers license suspended, and not necessarily due to being irresponsible. They pled guilty or no contest to traffic violations, paid their fines, and moved on, rightfully believing that was the end of the matter.
Until they are later detained for another violation, possibly a minor infraction like a defective brake light or failure to signal. They then find themselves in shock at being handcuffed, arrested and taken to jail, totally unaware their license had been suspended for failure to pay an unknown delinquent surcharge on the previous violation.
Collection notices for the surcharges may not have caught up with them if they had changed addresses or the notices had been designed to resemble junk mail.
This scenario has been playing out for over 14 years and it is time for Texans to repeal the legislation responsible for this travesty against fellow Texans.
Judge Edna Staudt has long been a voice calling out in the wilderness for the Texas legislature to take action. She has seen firsthand the devastation this misguided program has had on families and individuals, especially those with limited or no resources to fight the system.
“Citizens who lose their mode of transportation because of delinquent surcharges lose their jobs, sometimes their homes and face immeasurable obstacles to take care of themselves and their family.”
Judge Edna Staudt
“’It’s taking money from people who are not criminals,’ Staudt said. ‘Then they keep on driving because they have to feed their family, they have to get to work, they have to get around.’ ”
Hoppe,C.O. (2014, August). Critics of traffic surcharge get little traction.
The Dallas Morning News.
Retrieved from: http://www.dallasnews.com
As a champion for justice and mercy, Judge Staudt continues to be a voice calling for the elimination of the TDRP which violates the Constitutional rights of Texans.
“Justice of the Peace Edna Staudt of Williamson County, in Central Texas, said she also deals with many frustrated Texans who are affected by the program.
“Staudt said she believes the program is unconstitutional because it penalizes drivers twice for the same violation.
“’If you get a DWI, you go to jail, pay the fine. If you can’t afford to pay, you can do community service hours. The surcharge is an additional punishment,’ Staudt said.”
Chen,C.O. (2014, April 14). Despite Changes, Driver Surcharge Program Faces Continued Opposition.
The Texas Tribune
Retrieved from: http://www.texastribune.org/
Join Judge Staudt in continuing the fight to repeal this misguided program. Leave a comment below so you can be reached with more information on how you can make a difference.
I have been caught up in this never ending circle of fines that I cannot pay. I got my license suspended but still had to go to work so I drove with a suspended license. I got stopped. Got a ticket for suspended license but still had to go to work. Got stopped again. Got another ticket. Finally they took my license away so I don’t drive because I don’t want to go to jail. I lost my job and had to take one where I could walk the 2 miles to get there which I do. On top of that, I never, ever drove without insurance but they told me I had to provide an SR22 because of my points. Why do I have to prove I have insurance and pay extra for the SR22 when I never got a ticket for no insurance. Plus why should I have to pay more money for tickets that I already paid. That is double jeapordy, right?
They need to scrap this terrible law. Its like Texas is money hungry we make a bad choice in life and pay for it later. My license are currently suspended for not having an sr22 on my insurance they suspended them untill September 2018 i have 3 small children and a wife that does not drive or work. I have to drive in order to feed my family. Now the dps is telling me that i have to wait until September 27, 2018 and have to get sr22 insurance pay 100 and something to reinstate license plus price for getting renewed i cant afford all these charges im the only one working in my family
Yes I got got up in this loop over ten years ago. I got three kids and a wife that depends on me to provide for them. Everyday i live in fear is today the day I am going to get pulled over and go to jail. It sucks cause if I go to jail there is a good chance I lose my job house and truck. I have tried the indegency program but its so complicated you need a legal aid to help.Why do i have to pay multiple times for one bad decision.I payed probation fees,fees to the county and then hit with a 3thousand dollar surcharge from the state. This is cruel punishment forcing me to break the law in order to provide for my family.What a country we live in.
Citizens who have had their license suspended can obtain an Occupational Driver License at their local Justice of the Peace office for $43.00 An affidavit stating the necessity to drive is adequate. Information and forms are available at http://www.wilco.org
This all started when my adult son got a speeding ticket in 2015. Then the surcharges started coming. $260 for the next 3 years. During that time his license was suspended and he got more tickets for DWIL. He couldn’t get insurance so got a ticket for no insurance. But he had to get to work and earn a living. I kept asking what the surcharges were that kept coming in the mail. He didn’t know, and when he would call during his lunch break, he could never get through. So I called for him one evening at 8pm. (They are open until 9pm). Much to my surprise someone answered the phone almost immediately. The lady explained the surcharges come for 3 more years for various driving violations. We were shocked. I’m helping my son get caught up on these surcharges because he desperately needs his license back. After all is paid, it will total over $6,000! This has created such a hardship on my son and his family. He had given up on ever being able to pay this debt. It takes every dime to support his family (wife and 3 kids). We are praying hard that this failed policy gets repealed and the debt that goes with it!
I have been trapped in the cycle of surcharges since I was 17, I am currently 23. I applied for the indegency/incentive program and got denied for exceeding the poverty level requirement. My license is suspended. My wages are not that high, It is enough to just get by paycheck to paycheck.I live alone and pay all my bills by myself without any government help. This surcharge cycle destroys so many young adults life’s and careers. Please someone destroy this horrible cycle. It makes people depressed and felt like they lost hope in life. Causes fear when seeing an officer even when they are smiling.
With the city of Dallas I talked to a judge he said work for the city for 5 days I work for 5 days now the city of Dallas want me to pay $45 for each ticket I worked off that’s double jeopardy I can’t get my license back till I pay if I could pay I would have paid the first time would had to work for free
Anthony, I encourage to check with your Justice of the Peace and inquire about an Occupational Driver License for $43.00 so you can drive legally.
Im being punished for being poor!!! I’m a single mother with 2 children still living at home. I busted my butt to find a job after a surprise lay-off ended my income of 6 years. 4 years later I finally found and happily settled for a minimum wage job just to get off TANF and food stamps and have been there almost a year now. 3 months after getting this job I made the mistake of taking a different unknown route home. It was extremely foggy and the local sheriff had set up his speed trap even with the speed limit sign. There is a 10 mph reduction at that point on that highway and reduced visibility prohibited me from knowing that until it was too late. I recieved 4 tickets plus they impounded my car which I was never able to get back due to the 350 initial fee plus daily storage charges. I worked a deal with the court giving them over 1/2 my check for 3 paychecks under their promise of not reporting the incident to dps which they did anyway. When I found out I called them and they claimed it was a mistake so I informed them I’d gladly send this checks payment once they fixed their mistake. Of course that would be impossible as it was going to take time and so in so was on vaca etc. I informed them that my kids were literally starving due to the amount they were requiring me to pay and informed them that I wanted an affidavit of indigency form and hearing with the judge. She refused and offered to lower the payment by $25 every 2 weeks. After several phone calls, no help, and the inability to speak to anyone else I informed her that I couldn’t afford to pay both them and dps and that dps was more important so I’d pay them instead. Now they’ve filled 4 Omni holds on me and each one is higher than they were supposed to be. I live 22 miles from my job and walked to and from for months until I ended up in hospital with a heat related/dehydration issue. I now have the same set weekly schedule as a woman who picks me up and takes me home for $50 a week. I struggled and was able to remove 2 Omni holds but hit a road block with my 3rd and final due to extra added fees charges etc and that jp refusal to reduce cost. The required amount is nearly 3 times the original ticketed fine which I could not pay at the time it was given. Now thanks to Caney City o have 5 Omni holds and my license is still ineligible. It’s really frustrating!!! I work a full time job and can’t make ends meet living in a delapatated leaky rv on my own property which I still need to pay taxes on this year. Drug dealers, criminals, etc have no issues what so ever because they’ve got money and the poor working class are suffering. Then you’ve got small town cops, judges, etc trying to profit off us as well, like Lancaster and Caney City. It’s ridiculous and the more I’ve searched repeatedly for answers, help, resources, a way to appeal to the federal government regarding the state of Texas unconstitutional laws but find nothing. The state will, or should I say might grant me an occupational hardship license but basically that’s just another money making scheme for yearly profit. Honestly if I could have afforded it, I would have already filled for it; I would have borrowed from any and everybody to come up with the required fees had there been a simple guarantee that the hardship license would be granted but if you think I’m gonna put myself further in debt on hopes, dreams, and the knowledge that a state appointed official will decide my fate- you’re crazy as hell. Thanks Texas for screwing your born, raised, lifelong resident.
In addition to the above comment:
FYI I’m 46 years old, passed both my written and behind the wheel tests with 100 and recieved my Texas drivers license when I turned 18. It’s never been suspended, revoked, or refused renewal until my birthday November of 2017 due to 3 Omni holds for tickets dating back 12 years prior
The DRP is absurdly unconstitutional. Not to mention evil. I hope the state of Texas gets sued and loses millions.
Yes it started 2014 when was on a corupted misdemeanor majanuna, conviction,I did did 15 days in jail,paid over 1000 in one fine,a drug class that I have to redue of $160 SR 22 insurance,plus u still have to pay $100 to reinstate my license and then because my license had been suspended,i got pulled over ,went to jail because of license,, try to fight ticket but same judge interfered with my appeal to the higher courts that cause me to be enabled for that appeal same judge then I had to pay $505 when the jury sentence me to pay,$250 and I had filed indigent and judge added $255 for court cost which I paid $100 in cash they took,, did 22 hrs of community service that he denied and received no credit for because the court house had not approved of that location which is a N/A AA program and then refused to work with me for and extension and now had raised it to over $1200 that I can’t pay and have no idea who to contact for to file a complaint lawsuit against this corupted justice system we have in Tyalor County Tx.and if you guide me to the right sources to take care of this awful unlawful mess,,and i want to thank you,Judge for doing and helping our community, to actually take time to know that this wrong and violates our constitution that was created for everyone,and shame on the other Judeges and government that took an oath,,,((I will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.)))”I want to tell you that it’s a dam shame of all these other Judeges that allow our system to be wrong and not take a stand and get it corrected, and need great people like Judge Edna Staudt,,to help make a difference for the better,,
About 9 years ago, I was charged and convicted of DWI. Paid my dues, court fines, probation fees, etc. Never once have I paid into the additional fees, ~$3k assigned to the private Municipal Services Bureau (MSB) to collect. Notice they are a private company but their name implies they are public company.
7 years ago, I moved away from the State of Texas and have been able to legally drive in all states but one, yes you guessed it, Texas. With the recent passing of HB 2048, maybe this will erase this unconstitutional indebtedness and restore my driving privileges in the only state I am not allowed to drive.
I am currently 36 and have not been able to live life since 2008.
I gave up on homelessness in texas because of this law and moved to hawaii (back to childhood dreams uninterupted).
Upon moving here i was refuse my license due to texas outing a surcharge hold.
I ironicly sold my classic truck to pay the fines seeing as is my new employers in hawaii said I must have a license or no job!
After paying the $2200 I audaciously applied to get my license…denied.
I flew 5000 miles to “do this in person” in texas only to find I my abstract…manditory suspension no vehicle insurance. I’m in hawaii…sold my truck to pay and they want current insurance in texas.
Still have no license a year later, back in hawaii but denied my job…homeless….homeless…hopeless.
I got married a couple years ago, we argue about my license because my wife can’t get insurance without paying for me!