Traffic Tickets

If we’re not able to secure an outright dismissal of your citation, like many of our clients who are cited for a violation of the Texas Transportation Code, you’ll be granted deferred disposition.

Deferred disposition is a form of probation used by municipal and justice courts that can last up to six months. Granting deferred disposition is within the court’s discretion. It is not mandatory.

Deferred disposition is not available for traffic offenses committed in a work construction zone while workers are present. It is not available for violation of a state law or local ordinance relating to “motor vehicle control,” other than a parking violation, committed by a person who holds a commercial driver’s license or held a commercial driver’s license at the time of the offense. It is not available for a minor with two prior convictions for consumption of alcohol (Sec. 106.04, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code) and driving or operating watercraft under the influence of alcohol (Sec. 106.041, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code).

Deferred disposition may be granted after a defendant pleads guilty or no contest, or even after a finding of guilt by judge or jury!

Under deferred, a defendant must pay court costs, at the time the deferred disposition is granted or ordered or, alternatively, notwithstanding any other provision of law:

(1) in installments during the probation period;

(2) by performing community service, if eligible, under Article 45.049, Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, if:

(a) defendant failed to pay previously assessed fine or cost; or

(b) defendant is determined by the court to have insufficient resources or income to pay fine or costs;

(3) by performing community service, if defendant is younger than 17 years, under Article 45.0492, Texas Code of Criminal Procedure;

(4) through a combination of the alternatives described above.

A deferral means the court will defer the proceedings in the case for a period of time not to exceed 180 days. The court will set any or all of the conditions to be performed by the defendant during the deferral period, which may include posting a bond in the amount of the fine to secure payment of the fine, completing a driving safety course or other course.

If the offense is a “traffic offense classified as a moving violation” and the defendant is younger than age 25, the judge shall require as a condition of deferred disposition that the defendant complete a driving safety course.

The defendant must present the court with proof of compliance with any required conditions, and comply with any other reasonable requirements.

The court must give the defendant a written copy of the order deferring disposition, listing all the conditions, and the consequences of both successful and unsuccessful compliance.

The court must inform the defendant that when all the conditions are met, the case will be dismissed at the end of the deferral period, otherwise the court will enter a judgment, and the fine will be due.

The court must also tell the defendant whether a special expense fee will be imposed.

The judge may impose a special expense fee on the defendant not to exceed the amount of the fine that could be imposed. The special expense fee may be collected at any time before the end of the probation period. The judge may elect not to impose the special expense fee for good cause shown.

If the judge orders the collection of a special expense fee, the judge shall require the amount of the special expense fee be credited in the event of default by the defendant toward the payment of the amount of the fine imposed by the judge.

At the end of the deferral period if the defendant presents satisfactory evidence of compliance with the requirements, the court will dismiss the case.

If the defendant fails to provide proof of compliance within the deferred period the court must set the matter for a show cause hearing.

The court must provide notice in writing of the defendant’s opportunity to show cause. The notice shall be mailed to either the address on file with the court or the address that appeared on the citation.

The court shall require the defendant to appear at the time and place stated in the notice and show cause why the deferral should not be revoked.

At the show cause hearing, on the defendant’s showing of good cause for failure to present satisfactory evidence of compliance with the requirements of the deferred order, the court may allow an additional period during which the defendant may present evidence of the defendant’s compliance with the order’s requirements.

After a show cause hearing the judge may either:

(a) impose the fine originally suspended pending the deferral period; or

(b) impose a lesser fine (except in instances involving defendants younger than 25 years of age involving traffic offenses classified as moving violations where the court shall impose the original fine assessed.)