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xavierjd, Lawyer
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Experience:  Over 20 yrs experience in prosecution and defense work
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My son has had his drivers license suspended in Texas due

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My son has had his driver's license suspended in Texas due to moving traffic violations, driving without insurance and driving with a suspended license. I know there are penalties to pay thru the Texas DPS, but also now there are surcharges. These surcharges have increased monthly until now there is no way he can afford to pay them. We have filed for indigent assistance as he has no job (due to no license) and only works when some one can take him. They have refused him and he makes less than $80.00/week.
He has really tried to improve himself and now has been offered a good job. I am so confused on what to do to try and help him get over this, he has really learned his lesson and wants to move on with his life. Do I need to obtain an attorney to settle this or is there a way to handle it on our own?
Thanks so much!!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  xavierjd replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for using JustAnswer.com. It will be my pleasure to assist you.

Did your son receive any other moving violations AFTER his license was suspended?

Does he have tickets from any other state?

Thanks
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
yes, he was ticketed for no license, no insurance several times (they knew his car and stopped him when they saw him even if there was no reason).

No tickets from any other state.

Honostly this has just spiraled out of control. There are 32 defaults listed on his surcharge assessment sheet. from 2007 until current.

We tried to do the "tough love" thing and not help. He has actually served 6 mos in county jail to pay off fines. Not it's just getting a little ridiculous to try and straighten out.

Thanks for any advice. Kathy
Expert:  xavierjd replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the information. I can certainly understand your frustration with your son and with the DPS. Unfortunately, the police had reason to stop your son because he was driving while his license was suspended. If he has 32 defaults on the surcharge assessment sheet, that means that he continued to drive while his license was suspended. To compound the problem, when he was stopped and ticketed, he failed to pay the ticket(s) or show up in court.

The above being said, do you know why he was refused for the indigency program? Was it because the application was incomplete? Did he attach verification of his income?

Thanks
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I understand what you are saying however....he spent 6 months in jail in lieu of payment of fines only to find this is still outstanding. That was his choice to try and fix things.
No reason was given as to the rejection of the indigency program and I can't find the reason. He did attach verification...
I guess I would like to know what hiring an attorney could do? I hate to keep paying for things that are not going to make a difference. Any use of me trying to pursue this?
Expert:  xavierjd replied 2 years ago.
Again, I understand your frustration. However, while the jail time was served in lieu of the payment of fines and costs, the surcharges are SEPARATE and apart from the fines/costs assessed by the court.

I do not understand why your son was not approved for the indigency program. It certainly appears from your post, that he falls within the income guidelines. Possibly there was not enough infomation provided on the application. It is hard to say. But, there is nothing from stopping your son from applying for the indigency program again. Remember, it is your son who must fill out the application, sign it and have it notarized.

Below is a link to a DPS page that was updated on January 12, 2012. It contains information and a link to the current application for the indigency program.

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

The program reduces the surcharge amount owed to 10 percent of the total or $250, whichever is less. It will also stop suspension of driving privileges for participants who are making payments, as long as there are no other license restrictions. All surcharge fees assessed on or after September 30, 2004 are eligible for reduction under the indigency program if the application is approved.

Moreover, you may call 1-(866)223-3583 for further information.

Your son and/or you should certainly speak to an attorney who specializes in license restoration. You can contact the Texas Bar Association for a lawyer referral. Below is a link to the applicable page. A 1/2 hour consultation with an attorney is no more than $20.00. You can discuss the specific facts of your case, evaluate your options and decide how to proceed.

An attorney may be able to assist your son with filling out the application for indigency (especially the part that allows for additional information) and/or assist in possibly setting up an installment payment program for the fees. Based on your post, it is doubtful that an attorney may be able to assist you beyond those services. However, it is DEFINITELY worth $20.00 to discuss any possible options.

Since an initial consultation of 1/2 hour is no more than $20.00, it is VERY important that you have as much documentation as possible regarding your son's license. Therefore, your son may wish to order a copy of his driver's license from DPS and take it to the consultation. Moreover, any correspondence that your son has received regarding the surcharge and other fees will be helpful for the attorney. An attorney may be able to help "guide you" through the system and will tell you if s/he is able to help reduce any of the charges/fees.

The botXXXXX XXXXXne is that it is worth a maximum of $20.00 to speak to an attorney who specializes in license restoration. You will then, hopefully, be able to feel some peace in knowing that you have done all that you can to assist your son.

Many states have implemented some type of Driver Responsibility Fee legislation. The legislatures, in at least some circumstances, are looking to increase revenue to the state. However, by requiring the fees to be paid by those least able to pay the fees, it has been argued that the legislatures have set up persons for failure who are trying to regain their license.

In the end, people feel caught up in a vicious cycle. They don't have a driver's license because of unpaid tickets, too many points, etc. However, thy need to work to pay the fees. People then continue to drive to get to work and take the chance that they won't get caught. However, because they do not have valid licenses, they are often pulled over by the police. The police issue traffic citations and the cycle begins again until it becomes an overwhelming, and seemingly impossible feat, to regain their licenses.

I wish you and your son luck.

It has been my pleasure to assist you today with your information needs. If you have a follow-up question, please reply and ask it.

If you are satisfied that your question has been answered, kindly select the ACCEPT button to close this thread and so that I receive credit for assisting you today.

xavierjd, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 3400
Experience: Over 20 yrs experience in prosecution and defense work
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