What is Deferred Disposition for a Traffic Ticket?  Texas Law
Under Texas Law, Deferred disposition is a suspended sentence that allows you to keep the traffic citation off your record and avoids a finding of guilt, along with Court costs, and other complications that arise from having a conviction on your driving record.
If you have received a traffic ticket, you should contact an attorney that handles traffic tickets to determine if you are eligible to keep the ticket off your record. It is important to note that drivers who hold a commercial driver’s license are not eligible for deferred disposition. If you were under 25 years of age at the time of the alleged offense and charged with a moving violation, you will be required to complete a driving safety course within 90 days as a term of your probation.
What is Deferred Deposition?
Deferred Disposition is the probation option in municipal court that results in the suspension of the traffic ticket. On your plea of guilty or no contest, the court will defer a finding of guilt, assess Court costs, and order that you post a bond and comply with certain conditions. If you successfully comply with the terms, your case will be dismissed, and the bond money will be applied to a special expense fee. In most Texas counties, there are 90 to 180 days probationary periods in which the person must avoid any additional violations. If you fail to comply with the terms, a judgment will be imposed, a conviction will be reported to DPS (Texas Department of Public Safety), and the bond money will be applied to the fine.
How do I Request Deferred Disposition?
In most counties throughout Texas, you can request Deferred Disposition on or before your first court date in person, by phone, or by mail. If the offense is a traffic offense classified as a moving violation and the defendant is younger than 25 years of age, then the judge shall require as a condition of deferred disposition that the defendant completes a driver safety course.
In-Person – If you opt to request Deferred in person prior to your court date, you may appear before the Annex Judge with the following:
Signed and completed Deferred Disposition Application (if your county requires this to be completed ahead of time)
Texas Drivers License
Proof of Insurance
Cash, check, or credit card to pay the amount requested by the court
Request By Phone - Call the Court to speak to a representative by phone to submit your Deferred Disposition information. You will need access to a computer and email to complete this process. Try to request this option as soon as possible, because certain counties do not allow for the submission of a request within a few days of your hearing.
By Mail – If you opt to request Deferred Disposition by mail, your submission must be postmarked on or before your scheduled court date to avoid a Failure to Appear Warrant.
Do I Qualify For Deferred Disposition?
Whether a person qualifies for deferred disposition is largely up to the judge’s discretion. However, there is a certain circumstance that generally disqualifies a person from receiving this deferred disposition, such as the following:
A defendant charged with an offense relating to motor vehicle control who holds or held a commercial driver’s license;
Offenses committed in a construction work zone when workers are present;
A minor charged with the offense of consuming an alcoholic beverage if the minor has been previously convicted twice or more of this offense;
A minor charged with the offense of driving under the influence of an alcoholic beverage if the minor has been previously convicted twice or more of this offense; and
A minor who is at least 17 and has previously been convicted two or more times of an offense to which Section 106.071 of the Alcoholic Beverage Code applies (purchase of alcohol by a minor, attempt to purchase alcohol by a minor, consumption of alcohol by a minor, possession of alcohol by a minor, and misrepresentation of age by a minor).
Should I pay the traffic ticket or request deferred disposition?
Whether to pay the traffic ticket or request deferred disposition is a personal choice. The costs of each option is usually similar. However, people often select Deferred Disposition to prevent the ticket from going on their driving record and possibly impacting their automobile insurance premiums. The additional option is taking Defensive Driving, this also allows the ticket to be removed from the record and is sometimes cheaper than Deferred Disposition.
What if I fail to comply with the deferral options?
If you are granted Deferred Disposition and/or deferment pending completion of the Driver's Safety Course and fail to present the appropriate documents and/or complete the course in the time required, you will be notified to return to court and explain to the Judge why you failed to comply. You must be present at this hearing, failure to do so will result in a conviction and a warrant for your arrest being issued.
In certain Texas counties, the conviction is reported to the State and may also result in surcharges and additional fees.
Late deferred disposition requests
Depending on the county or principality, a late Deferred Disposition request could still be submitted and granted. In these cities, the court sometimes grants deferred disposition at the court window or by mail after a certain amount of business days from the date of your citation. When making the request and not being timely, the defendant may be required to pay an additional fee to the deferred fine (no personal or business checks are accepted). Please contact the court to confirm if you are still eligible for this option.