The most common reason for taking a Houston defensive driving class is to get a traffic ticket dismissed. When you get a traffic ticket you have a few options: You can pay the ticket and take the hit to your insurance rates that may come with a moving violation. You can hire a lawyer and pay big bucks to try to beat the rap. Or you can take a defensive driving class and have the ticket dismissed.
Want more reasons to take defensive driving? Many insurance companies give a 10% discount on your liability rates for up to three years after you have completed the course, even if you took the course to get a traffic ticket dismissed. And taking a Houston defensive driving course can make you a better driver. That may help you avoid future tickets as well as keeping you safer.
Although the State of Texas allows the defensive driving option for ticket dismissal, the exact process will vary between jurisdictions. Houston traffic courts may have different requirements than those of other local municipalities such as Bellaire, Sugar Land, the Woodlands, West University Place, Katy and others. Check the back of your ticket, or contact the appropriate court to learn more.
Texas defensive driving courses may be taken in person, online or on DVD. No matter which format you choose, the minimum time required for defensive driving is six hours. The advantage of taking the course online or on DVD is that you can watch the course in sections as you have time available, rather than spending an entire day in a classroom. Of course, the advantage of the all-day in-person class is that you get it done all at once.
Here are the usual steps for getting a ticket dismissed by taking a Houston defensive driving class:
Before you sign up for a class, verify that you may get your ticket dismissed by taking a defensive driving course. State law says that you may do so if you have not had another ticket dismissed by taking defensive driving within the last 12 months, you have a valid Texas Drivers License, you were not driving more than 25 mph over the posted speed limit or speeding in a school or work zone, you were not charged with a seat belt violation and you have valid proof of required insurance coverage.
Contact the court before your scheduled court date and ask for approval to dismiss your traffic ticket by taking defensive driving. Once approved, choose a Houston defensive driving course from the many available. There are all kinds of courses, including comedy defensive driving, and a variety of formats available. Most cost $25, as that is the minimum charge mandated by the State of Texas.
Most courts will require that you submit a copy of your driving record. If yours does, they will let you know how to request the record. Do it right away as it can take a week or longer to get your driving record after requesting it.
Give yourself plenty of time before the court deadline to complete the course and receive your certificate. Usually your certificate will be mailed, so expect that it will take at least 3 to 7 days to get your course certificate.
If you take an in-person class, get there on time! You must attend all six hours of the class to get your certificate.
Getting a traffic ticket dismissed is not free. Not only do you have to pay for the defensive driving course and your driving record, you will also have to pay court costs. However, this is usually less than the cost of the ticket and the ticket will be dismissed.
Even though you took defensive driving because you got a traffic ticket, most insurance companies will give you a discount when you submit your certificate to them, so be sure to contact your insurance agent about your auto insurance discount.
Houston defensive driving courses offer a simple and inexpensive way to deal with a traffic ticket. And once you ticket is dismissed, drive carefully—and defensively!