The State of Texas has passed a lot of traffic laws that can really bite you in the rear if you aren't aware of them. Surcharges!! Yikes! Painful! And once they're assessed, you can't get out of them!
It turns out that the State of Texas keeps a point system on your driving record, just like your automobile insurance company does, for each traffic violation you receive. Any moving violation gets you at least two points, and the points stay on your record for three years.
The State checks your driving record annually and if you have six points on your record, they send you a bill for $100! For every point over six points, you are charged an extra $25! Your bill will come from MSB (Municipal Service Bureau), a private company that serves as a collection agency for the Texas Department of Public Safety.
If you’re like me and take care of your traffic tickets right away, no problem. But if you have teenage or young adult children, don’t assume they are taking care of business. Sometimes they think they can "work the system" without Mom or Dad finding out and then it’s too late. Tell your kids and young friends about this point system and the importance of taking care of tickets.
Some people might be tempted to ignore a bill from "MSB" if they don’t know about this point system and surcharge business. After all, MSB just sounds like your typical debt collection agency. But if you don’t pay the bill within one month, your license will be automatically suspended! And you may not even know until you get pulled over the next time!
If you get a ticket (or worse, arrested) for driving without a license, you’ve just earned two more points! Once your license is suspended, if you plead guilty to driving without a valid license without properly negotiating with the prosecuting attorney, you will get an automatic surcharge for $250 for the next three years! My goodness! Where does it end?
If you’re in the high point range, hire an attorney to handle the moving violation charge for you. The attorney may be able to keep the conviction off your record and avoid those nasty surcharges. Do you think you might already have surcharges but don’t know where to look? DPS has a website that you can look at to find out. Go to txdps.state.tx.us and then txsurchargeonline.com to see if your license is suspended or you have any surcharges pending. You can make a payment plan and in some cases, you may qualify for reduced payments if you fall at or below 125 percent of the federal poverty lines.
Take your traffic tickets seriously. And more importantly, drive with liability insurance and don’t drive while intoxicated. Those billboards about the expense of a DWI are for real!
Source: "I Paid My Tickets. I have Insurance. Who is MSB and Why is My License Suspended?" by Ward B.B. Davison, Texas Bar Journal (April 2013)