Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 45.0511. Driving Safety Course or Motorcycle Operator Course Dismissal Procedures

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (a-1), this article applies only to an alleged offense that:

(1) is within the jurisdiction of a justice court or a municipal court;

(2) involves the operation of a motor vehicle;  and

(3) is defined by:

(B) Subtitle C, Title 7, Transportation Code;  or

(a-1) If the defendant is younger than 25 years of age, this article applies to any alleged offense that:

(1) is within the jurisdiction of a justice court or a municipal court;

(2) involves the operation of a motor vehicle;  and

(3) is classified as a moving violation.

(b) The judge shall require the defendant to successfully complete a driving safety course approved by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation or a course under the motorcycle operator training and safety program approved by the designated state agency under Chapter 662, Transportation Code, if:

(1) the defendant elects driving safety course or motorcycle operator training course dismissal under this article;

(2) the defendant:

(A) has not completed an approved driving safety course or motorcycle operator training course, as appropriate, within the 12 months preceding the date of the offense;  or

(B) does not have a valid Texas driver's license or permit, is a member, or the spouse or dependent child of a member, of the United States military forces serving on active duty, and has not completed a driving safety course or motorcycle operator training course, as appropriate, in another state within the 12 months preceding the date of the offense;

(3) the defendant enters a plea under Article 45.021 in person or in writing of no contest or guilty on or before the answer date on the notice to appear and:

(A) presents in person or by counsel to the court a request to take a course;  or

(B) sends to the court by certified mail, return receipt requested, postmarked on or before the answer date on the notice to appear, a written request to take a course;

(4) the defendant:

(A) has a valid Texas driver's license or permit;  or

(B) is a member, or the spouse or dependent child of a member, of the United States military forces serving on active duty;

(5) the defendant is charged with an offense to which this article applies, other than speeding at a speed of:

(A) 95 miles per hour or more;  or

(B) 25 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit;  and

(6) the defendant provides evidence of financial responsibility as required by Chapter 601, Transportation Code.

(c) The court shall enter judgment on the defendant's plea of no contest or guilty at the time the plea is made, defer imposition of the judgment, and allow the defendant 90 days to successfully complete the approved driving safety course or motorcycle operator training course and present to the court:

(1) a uniform certificate of completion of the driving safety course or a verification of completion of the motorcycle operator training course;

(2) unless the judge proceeds under Subsection (c-1), the defendant's driving record as maintained by the Department of Public Safety, if any, showing that the defendant had not completed an approved driving safety course or motorcycle operator training course, as applicable, within the 12 months preceding the date of the offense;

(3) an affidavit stating that the defendant was not taking a driving safety course or motorcycle operator training course, as applicable, under this article on the date the request to take the course was made and had not completed such a course that is not shown on the defendant's driving record within the 12 months preceding the date of the offense;  and

(4) if the defendant does not have a valid Texas driver's license or permit and is a member, or the spouse or dependent child of a member, of the United States military forces serving on active duty, an affidavit stating that the defendant was not taking a driving safety course or motorcycle operator training course, as appropriate, in another state on the date the request to take the course was made and had not completed such a course within the 12 months preceding the date of the offense.

<Text of (c-1) effective until January 1, 2020>

(c-1) In this subsection, “state electronic Internet portal” has the meaning assigned by Section 2054.003, Government Code .  As an alternative to receiving the defendant's driving record under Subsection (c)(2), the judge, at the time the defendant requests a driving safety course or motorcycle operator training course dismissal under this article, may require the defendant to pay a fee in an amount equal to the sum of the amount of the fee established by Section 521.048, Transportation Code , and the state electronic Internet portal fee and, using the state electronic Internet portal, may request the Texas Department of Public Safety to provide the judge with a copy of the defendant's driving record that shows the information described by Section 521.047(b), Transportation Code .  As soon as practicable and using the state electronic Internet portal, the Texas Department of Public Safety shall provide the judge with the requested copy of the defendant's driving record.  The fee authorized by this subsection is in addition to any other fee required under this article.  If the copy of the defendant's driving record provided to the judge under this subsection shows that the defendant has not completed an approved driving safety course or motorcycle operator training course, as appropriate, within the 12 months preceding the date of the offense, the judge shall allow the defendant to complete the appropriate course as provided by this article.  The custodian of a municipal or county treasury who receives fees collected under this subsection shall keep a record of the fees and, without deduction or proration, forward the fees to the comptroller, with and in the manner required for other fees and costs received in connection with criminal cases.  The comptroller shall credit fees received under this subsection to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

<Text of (c-1) effective January 1, 2020>

(c-1) In this subsection, “state electronic Internet portal” has the meaning assigned by Section 2054.003, Government Code .  As an alternative to receiving the defendant's driving record under Subsection (c)(2), the judge, at the time the defendant requests a driving safety course or motorcycle operator training course dismissal under this article, may require the defendant to pay a reimbursement fee in an amount equal to the sum of the amount of the fee established by Section 521.048, Transportation Code , and the state electronic Internet portal fee and, using the state electronic Internet portal, may request the Texas Department of Public Safety to provide the judge with a copy of the defendant's driving record that shows the information described by Section 521.047(b), Transportation Code .  As soon as practicable and using the state electronic Internet portal, the Texas Department of Public Safety shall provide the judge with the requested copy of the defendant's driving record.  The reimbursement fee authorized by this subsection is in addition to any other fee required under this article.  If the copy of the defendant's driving record provided to the judge under this subsection shows that the defendant has not completed an approved driving safety course or motorcycle operator training course, as appropriate, within the 12 months preceding the date of the offense, the judge shall allow the defendant to complete the appropriate course as provided by this article.  The custodian of a municipal or county treasury who receives reimbursement fees collected under this subsection shall keep a record of the fees and, without deduction or proration, forward the fees to the comptroller, with and in the manner required for other fees and costs received in connection with criminal cases.  The comptroller shall credit fees received under this subsection to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

(d) Notwithstanding Subsections (b)(2) and (3), before the final disposition of the case, the court may grant a request to take a driving safety course or a motorcycle operator training course under this article.

(e) A request to take a driving safety course or motorcycle operator training course made at or before the time and at the place at which a defendant is required to appear in court is an appearance in compliance with the defendant's promise to appear.

<Text of (f) effective until January 1, 2020>

(f) In addition to court costs and fees authorized or imposed by a law of this state and applicable to the offense, the court may:

(1) require a defendant requesting a course under Subsection (b) to pay an administrative fee set by the court to cover the cost of administering this article at an amount of not more than $10;  or

(2) require a defendant requesting a course under Subsection (d) to pay a fee set by the court at an amount not to exceed the maximum amount of the fine for the offense committed by the defendant.

<Text of (f) effective January 1, 2020>

(f) In addition to court costs and fees authorized or imposed by a law of this state and applicable to the offense, the court may:

(1) require a defendant requesting a course under Subsection (b) to pay a reimbursement fee to cover the cost of administering this article in an amount of not more than $10;  or

(2) require a defendant requesting a course under Subsection (d) to pay a fine set by the court at an amount not to exceed the maximum amount of the fine for the offense committed by the defendant.

<Text of (g) effective until January 1, 2020>

(g) A defendant who requests but does not take a course is not entitled to a refund of the fee.

<Text of (g) effective January 1, 2020>

(g) A defendant who requests but does not take a course is not entitled to a refund of the reimbursement fee or fine assessed under Subsection (f).

<Text of (h) effective until January 1, 2020>

(h) Fees collected by a municipal court shall be deposited in the municipal treasury.  Fees collected by another court shall be deposited in the county treasury of the county in which the court is located.

<Text of (h) effective January 1, 2020>

(h) Money collected by a municipal court shall be deposited in the municipal treasury.  Money collected by another court shall be deposited in the county treasury of the county in which the court is located.

(i) If a defendant requesting a course under this article fails to comply with Subsection (c), the court shall:

(1) notify the defendant in writing, mailed to the address on file with the court or appearing on the notice to appear, of that failure;  and

(2) require the defendant to appear at the time and place stated in the notice to show cause why the evidence was not timely submitted to the court.

(j) If the defendant fails to appear at the time and place stated in the notice under Subsection (i), or appears at the time and place stated in the notice but does not show good cause for the defendant's failure to comply with Subsection (c), the court shall enter an adjudication of guilt and impose sentence.

(k) On a defendant's showing of good cause for failure to furnish evidence to the court, the court may allow an extension of time during which the defendant may present:

(1) a uniform certificate of course completion as evidence that the defendant successfully completed the driving safety course;  or

(2) a verification of course completion as evidence that the defendant successfully completed the motorcycle operator training course.

(l) When a defendant complies with Subsection (c), the court shall:

(1) remove the judgment and dismiss the charge;

(2) report the fact that the defendant successfully completed a driving safety course or a motorcycle operator training course and the date of completion to the Texas Department of Public Safety for inclusion in the person's driving record;  and

(3) state in that report whether the course was taken under this article to provide information necessary to determine eligibility to take a subsequent course under Subsection (b).

(m) The court may dismiss only one charge for each completion of a course.

(n) A charge that is dismissed under this article may not be part of a person's driving record or used for any purpose.

(o) An insurer delivering or issuing for delivery a motor vehicle insurance policy in this state may not cancel or increase the premium charged an insured under the policy because the insured completed a driving safety course or a motorcycle operator training course, or had a charge dismissed under this article.

(p) The court shall advise a defendant charged with a misdemeanor under Section 472.022, Transportation Code , Subtitle C, Title 7, Transportation Code,  1 or Section 729.001(a)(3), Transportation Code , committed while operating a motor vehicle of the defendant's right under this article to successfully complete a driving safety course or, if the offense was committed while operating a motorcycle, a motorcycle operator training course.  The right to complete a course does not apply to a defendant charged with:

(1) a violation of Section 545.066 , 550.022 , or 550.023, Transportation Code ;

(2) a serious traffic violation;  or

(3) an offense to which Section 542.404, Transportation Code , applies.

(q) A notice to appear issued for an offense to which this article applies must inform a defendant charged with an offense under Section 472.022, Transportation Code , an offense under Subtitle C, Title 7, Transportation Code, or an offense under Section 729.001(a)(3), Transportation Code , committed while operating a motor vehicle of the defendant's right to complete a driving safety course or, if the offense was committed while operating a motorcycle, of the defendant's right to complete a motorcycle operator training course.  The notice required by this subsection must read substantially as follows:

“You may be able to require that this charge be dismissed by successfully completing a driving safety course or a motorcycle operator training course.  You will lose that right if, on or before your appearance date, you do not provide the court with notice of your request to take the course.”

(r) If the notice required by Subsection (q) is not provided to the defendant charged with the offense, the defendant may continue to exercise the defendant's right to take a driving safety course or a motorcycle operator training course until the notice required by Subsection (q) is provided to the defendant or there is a final disposition of the case.

(s) This article does not apply to an offense committed by a person who:

(1) holds a commercial driver's license;  or

(2) held a commercial driver's license when the offense was committed.

(t) An order of deferral under Subsection (c) terminates any liability under a bond given for the charge.

(u) The requirement of Subsection (b)(2) does not apply to a defendant charged with an offense under Section 545.412, Transportation Code , if the judge requires the defendant to attend and present proof that the defendant has successfully completed a specialized driving safety course that includes four hours of instruction that encourages the use of child passenger safety seat systems, and any driving safety course taken by the defendant under this section within the 12 months preceding the date of the offense did not include that training.  The person's driving record under Subsection (c)(2) and the affidavit of the defendant under Subsection (c)(3) is required to include only previous or concurrent courses that included that training.

1 V.T.C.A., Transportation Code § 541.001 et seq.

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