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  • No More Surcharges In Texas?

    I came across this article. Any thoughts?




    Texas may drop extra charge in DWI, no-insurance cases
    Associated Press
    March 7, 2011, 12:43PM

    AUSTIN — Lawmakers are considering eliminating a program that requires those charged with offenses including driving while intoxicated and failure to have insurance to pay state surcharges.

    Nearly 60 percent of those with the surcharges — about 1.2 million drivers — are unwilling or unable to pay and owe the state more than $1.1 billion.

    The surcharges are part of the Texas Driver Responsibility Program. The Senate Criminal Justice Committee recently called for the program to be eliminated, calling the increasing number of drivers who are unlicensed and uninsured because of it “unacceptable.” Drivers who refuse to pay lose their licenses.

    Texas Department of Public Safety DPS, under orders from the Legislature, began offering an amnesty program in January that allows delinquent drivers to settle up and get their licenses back by paying 10 percent of the amount they owed.

    The Texas Driver Responsibility Program was approved by the Legislature in 2003 to raise money for highways and trauma care, but no money from the program has ever gone to highways because of a lack of payments, and trauma centers have received only a fraction of what was intended.

    DWI offenses carry the biggest surcharges — $1,000 a year for three years on the first conviction and $2,000 a year if the blood alcohol content is twice the legal limit. No car insurance and an invalid license draw a $250-a-year surcharge for three years. Surcharges must be paid in addition to regular fines assessed for those violations.

    “These surcharges are not changing behavior, not being collected and are creating a new class of criminals each day by adding to the 1.2 million unlicensed and uninsured drivers in the state,” the Senate committee said in a report to the Legislature.

    Two other states that tried similar surcharge programs abandoned them because of the huge number of drivers who would not pay.

  • #2
    Well, I can tell you how to avoid the fees. Get insurance and don't drive drunk. Problem solved.

    Comment


    • #3
      Well, they'd probably due a better job at collected said fees if they did a better job of notifying people that they have said surcharge on them before they just go and suspend their driver's license, which adds to their financial burden, making them incapable of making the payments...
      “The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."

      "You go for a man hard enough and fast enough, he don't have time to think about how many's with him; he thinks about himself, and how he might get clear of that wrath that's about to set down on him."

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by JTShooter View Post
        Well, they'd probably due a better job at collected said fees if they did a better job of notifying people that they have said surcharge on them before they just go and suspend their driver's license, which adds to their financial burden, making them incapable of making the payments...
        How exactly do they notify people? I'm assuming they mail letters to the address on the DL. Of course you know how many people have their current address on their DL....

        Comment


        • #5
          They are notified, the problem is they send letters to the DL address, and alot of people never change their address....

          Its almost double jeopardy, you get convicted and pay courts x amount of dollars, then have to turn around and pay the state

          Comment


          • #6
            Not to mention making it a Class B in some instances to drive like that, further taxing the county courts....

            Comment


            • #7
              DWI here is a friggin joke. I call more cabs than i do carryin folks to jail. Whats the point?? all the paperwork and dickdance FST's for a class B? I have better ways to use my time.
              Originally posted by crass cop
              Just do it in front of a camera and try not to get a boner and you shoudl be fine.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by LaPlaca View Post
                DWI here is a friggin joke. I call more cabs than i do carryin folks to jail. Whats the point?? all the paperwork and dickdance FST's for a class B? I have better ways to use my time.
                Think about that the next time you read a story about a fellow officer getting killed by a drunk driver who hit him on a traffic stop. It doesn't matter what the end result is, they should be taken to jail. If you did your job based on what happened at conviction time you'd probably find yourself parked in the corner of a parking lot all shift.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by LaPlaca View Post
                  DWI here is a friggin joke. I call more cabs than i do carryin folks to jail. Whats the point?? all the paperwork and dickdance FST's for a class B? I have better ways to use my time.
                  Harsh, but perhaps there is some truth to this. No surcharges takes even more bite out of the current DWI laws. $1000 per year for three years is very serious and now that penalty is out of the equation. I don't anticipate slowing down because of this but it is definitely disconcerting.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Se7en View Post
                    Think about that the next time you read a story about a fellow officer getting killed by a drunk driver who hit him on a traffic stop. It doesn't matter what the end result is, they should be taken to jail. If you did your job based on what happened at conviction time you'd probably find yourself parked in the corner of a parking lot all shift.
                    No officer is going to get killed by a drunk driver that is now riding in the back of a cab otw to the house. Im not basing my decisions on conviction time, im basing my decisions on NOW time, as in, id rather catch burglars, robbers or dopers instead of be tied up for 2-3 hours on a BS class B nobody cares about. How many repeat drunks have killed officers? im willing to bet quite a few so obviously the system is a joke. When Im stopping a guy with 5 or more priors for DWI, whats the point of #6? The penalties keep decreasing and we still have 2,000 Texans die in DWI accidents every year. The whole FST process is crap and we all know it, from the Officer to the judge, we all know its crap. Its a friggin show we put on for the courts to make it look 'official'. every juror knows what a drunk acts like but we still have to jump through hoops even when we got a guy that blows .20 Its the good ol boy culture here in Texas, whats the matter with a guy having a few beers after work? Hell, we've all done it...blah blah blah.

                    In short, its pointless. The d-bag gets time served, a couple little fines he'll never pay and hes back on the road that evening celebrating his joke of a trial.
                    Originally posted by crass cop
                    Just do it in front of a camera and try not to get a boner and you shoudl be fine.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by LaPlaca View Post
                      No officer is going to get killed by a drunk driver that is now riding in the back of a cab otw to the house. Im not basing my decisions on conviction time, im basing my decisions on NOW time, as in, id rather catch burglars, robbers or dopers instead of be tied up for 2-3 hours on a BS class B nobody cares about. How many repeat drunks have killed officers? im willing to bet quite a few so obviously the system is a joke. When Im stopping a guy with 5 or more priors for DWI, whats the point of #6? The penalties keep decreasing and we still have 2,000 Texans die in DWI accidents every year. The whole FST process is crap and we all know it, from the Officer to the judge, we all know its crap. Its a friggin show we put on for the courts to make it look 'official'. every juror knows what a drunk acts like but we still have to jump through hoops even when we got a guy that blows .20 Its the good ol boy culture here in Texas, whats the matter with a guy having a few beers after work? Hell, we've all done it...blah blah blah.

                      In short, its pointless. The d-bag gets time served, a couple little fines he'll never pay and hes back on the road that evening celebrating his joke of a trial.
                      So what happens when he's on the way to the house, then he tells the cabbie to take him back to his vehicle or somewhere else and he gets behind the wheel and kills a family on the way home? Talking about feeling guilty for the rest of your life, and that's only the beginning since you'll have the civil liability hanging over your head. Last time I checked, drunk drivers kill more annually than burglars, so for me, the arrest is very important. Ya, does all the paper work suck, sure it does, but guess what? it's our job. I think most officers who dislike doing DWI's are those who lack training with impairment detection and proper administration of SFST's. Personally, I can understand if the world is falling apart and you decide to put a drunk in a cab, but to do it as a routine is unacceptable........

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by LaPlaca View Post
                        No officer is going to get killed by a drunk driver that is now riding in the back of a cab otw to the house. Im not basing my decisions on conviction time, im basing my decisions on NOW time, as in, id rather catch burglars, robbers or dopers instead of be tied up for 2-3 hours on a BS class B nobody cares about. How many repeat drunks have killed officers? im willing to bet quite a few so obviously the system is a joke. When Im stopping a guy with 5 or more priors for DWI, whats the point of #6? The penalties keep decreasing and we still have 2,000 Texans die in DWI accidents every year. The whole FST process is crap and we all know it, from the Officer to the judge, we all know its crap. Its a friggin show we put on for the courts to make it look 'official'. every juror knows what a drunk acts like but we still have to jump through hoops even when we got a guy that blows .20 Its the good ol boy culture here in Texas, whats the matter with a guy having a few beers after work? Hell, we've all done it...blah blah blah.

                        In short, its pointless. The d-bag gets time served, a couple little fines he'll never pay and hes back on the road that evening celebrating his joke of a trial.
                        If you think its "pointless" to arrest dwis, maybe its time for a career change. While the system may be a joke, there is a lot more learned from being taken to jail, having to bond, get a lawyer etc than a cop taking you home. Last state I worked in had similar laws and punishment but we still hooked everyone.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by beavo451 View Post
                          How exactly do they notify people? I'm assuming they mail letters to the address on the DL. Of course you know how many people have their current address on their DL....
                          Originally posted by bell4fan View Post
                          They are notified, the problem is they send letters to the DL address, and alot of people never change their address....
                          I know. Why not try sending the letter to the address the vehicle is registered to as well? Maybe put a lien on the vehicle?

                          Doesn't matter ultimately, because at least where I work, it's not like they're going to pay the tickets, fine, or anything else for that matter.


                          Originally posted by LaPlaca View Post
                          DWI here is a friggin joke. I call more cabs than i do carryin folks to jail. Whats the point?? all the paperwork and dickdance FST's for a class B? I have better ways to use my time.
                          I'm sorry, but I'm with LaPlaca on this one. Here in Dallas, you're looking at spending at least 3-4 hours at jail alone. Add on top of that when you do go to court, they're just going to get probation and you're going to be stuck in court for 2-3 hours making comp time you're not going to be able to use.

                          Fortunately for me there are people I work with that love DWI and will take it for me if I help them with their dope arrests.
                          “The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."

                          "You go for a man hard enough and fast enough, he don't have time to think about how many's with him; he thinks about himself, and how he might get clear of that wrath that's about to set down on him."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            While DWI convictions are a joke, enforcement is not. Yes 2,000 people a year die in Texas due to alcohol related accidents. IMO, not enough officers are trained in SFST's. In rural Tx, you always hear, call a trooper..which is fine, but like said above, that ties up rescources. You find a drunk, take him to jail, so I can go out and find a drunk also..now 2 drunks are off th road, instead of just the one.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by TX Constable
                              I wholeheartedly agree with this but to be honest with the exception of a few guys on the force who specialize in them and seem to enjoy doing them, every other officer I know avoids them like the plague including myself. They are too time consuming and the amount of work that the arresting officer has to do to process one is ridiculous. And like the others said they are going to walk on the charge and re-offend anyways. How many times have you come across a guy with multiple DWI arrests on his record and he is still out on the roads driving around? How many times have you seen a news story where a DWI fatality involved a driver with multiple previous DWI's on their rap sheet?

                              As to the mention of training I will be the first to confess that I did not get adequate DWI training in the academy. It was a joke.
                              If you didn't receive adequate training, is your agency able to send you to another class as a refresher? If you realize there's a problem, take some corrective measure to resolve the issue. We can "What if," and "How many" all you want, but the true question is, how many drunks did we arrest and it saved an innocent person from getting killed by that person 22 minutes after your arrest? If there was some way to see the future, I bet cha that at least one DWI arrest in a healthy 20-year career has saved at least one innocent person's life, and to me, that's worth it....

                              Comment

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