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Frequently Asked Questions
Note: The Department refers to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Reminder: Cash payments for surcharges are no longer accepted at MSB. You may make cash payments at any ACE Cash Express location nationwide instead. Click here for more details.

QUESTIONS ABOUT SURCHARGES AND DRIVING HISTORIES:

Q: What is the Driver Responsibility Program and how does it work?
Q: How many points are on my driving history?
Q: I received a surcharge for a ticket that was dismissed or I took defensive driving.
Q: I received a No Insurance surcharge but had insurance at the time of the ticket.
Q: I don't have a Texas driver license, so why do I have to pay a surcharge?
Q: Will my driving privileges be reinstated after I pay my surcharge?


QUESTIONS ABOUT PAYMENTS AND PAYMENT OPTIONS:

Q: How do I know when to pay a surcharge?
Q: What are “service” fees and why do I have to pay them?
Q: When does my monthly payment need to be received?
Q: How long does it take to process my payment and update my driving record?
Q: What happens if I defaulted on my installment plan?
Q: Can I change my due date for the installment plan?
Q:How do I pay with cash?
Q: How do I pay with check or money order?
Q: How do I pay using Money Gram or Western Union?
Q: How do I pay with credit/debit card, or electronic check?
Q: I am currently in the military and want to know how to defer my payments while deployed outside the continental United States.


QUESTIONS ABOUT NOTICES AND TELEPHONE CONTACTS:

Q: I received a Surcharge Notice. What do I need to do?
Q: I received notice that my driving privileges are suspended, but I never received anything telling me that I owe a surcharge.
Q: Why did Municipal Services Bureau call about my surcharge account?
Q: Why do I keep receiving notices that my driving privileges are suspended?
Q: Why did I receive a notice saying I accrued 4 or 5 points?


QUESTIONS ABOUT THE ONLINE SERVICES:

Q:Who do I contact for problems operating the site?
Q: What browser versions does the application support?


QUESTIONS ABOUT THE INDIGENCY / INCENTIVE REDUCTION PROGRAM:

Q: How do I apply for the Driver Responsibility Indigency/Incentive Reduction Program?
Q: Where can I get application forms?
Q: Who is eligible for the Indigency Program?
Q: Who is eligible for the Incentive Program?
Q: How much will I have to pay if I am approved for the Indigency Program?
Q: Why does the application have to be notarized?
Q: How long does it take to be notified of eligibility once the application is received?
Q: How will I be notified?
Q: Can MSB enroll me in the Indigency/Incentive Program so I don’t have to fill out an application?
Q: What if I still can’t pay the reduced balance by the due date?
Q: What is the deadline for enrollment?
Q: Why did I get a letter requesting I send documents to prove my income and earnings?
Q: What are some examples of acceptable supporting documentation for my Indigence/Incentive application?
Q: Can I apply again if I’m denied?
Q: How much will I have to pay if I am approved for the Incentive Program?
Q: What happens to new surcharges that I get after applying for a reduction?
Q: What if I paid more than the reduced balance?
Q: When do the Indigency/Incentive Programs end?


QUESTIONS ABOUT ADVANCED PAY:

Q: What does Advanced Payment mean?
Q: Which surcharges are eligible for Advanced pay?
Q: Why can't I "Advanced-Pay" my Points Surcharges?
Q: How do I opt-in?
Q: Can I mail in my full amount for all assessed years?
Q: What happens if I only make a partial payment?
Q: How do I find out the status of my Driver License?
Q: What happens to my Advanced-Pay balance if my payment is returned by my bank?
Q: What happens to my Surcharge once I have Advanced paid?


QUESTIONS ABOUT POINTS REDUCTION:

Q: What is Points Reduction?
Q: Will I get a refund?
Q: What if I still owe money on my surcharge accounts?
Q: Who can I contact if I have additional questions on my license status?

 

Q: What is the Driver Responsibility Program and how does it work?

A: You may visit the Department of Public Safety website to learn about the surcharge program. NOTE: The surcharge is in addition to all other reinstatement fees and does not replace other suspension, revocation, disqualification or cancellation actions that result from the same convictions.

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Q: How many points are on my driving history?

A: You must purchase a copy of your driver record to see the traffic offenses that have been reported. Click here for more information on purchasing a copy of your driver record. If you have a copy of your driver record, click here for the list of offenses that are assigned points.

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Q: I received a surcharge for a ticket that was dismissed or I took defensive driving.

A: Contact the court that reported the conviction to the Department. The Department must receive written documentation from the court to correct the driving record.

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Q: I received a No Insurance surcharge but had insurance at the time of the ticket.

A: You may contact the Department to provide proof of insurance so your Safety Responsibility suspension may be lifted. However, this will not remove the ticket from your driver record and you will still be required to pay the surcharge.

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Q: I don't have a Texas driver license, so why do I have to pay a surcharge?

A: Anyone who is convicted of a Texas traffic offense is required to pay the surcharge. If the surcharge is not paid, the Department will suspend your driving privileges in Texas. This prevents issuance of a Texas driver license, and may also affect your ability to obtain or renew a driver license in another state.

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Q: Will my driving privileges be reinstated after I pay my surcharge?

A: You may check your driver license compliance and eligibility by visiting www.texas.gov/LicenseEligibility and following the instructions on that website. If you do not have internet access, you may contact the Texas Department of Public Safety customer service center at (512) 424-2600

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QUESTIONS ABOUT PAYMENTS AND PAYMENT OPTIONS:

Q: How do I know when to pay a surcharge?

A: You will be mailed a notice of the surcharge requirement to the mailing address on file with the Department. If you have not received a notice, but have been told you owe a surcharge, please call Municipal Services Bureau at 1-800-688-6882 for assistance.

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Q: What are “service” fees and why do I have to pay them?

A: The Department contracts with a vendor for the collection of surcharges. The vendor charges fees as compensation for their services. The fees are:

  • Service fee of 4% of the original surcharge amount
  • Installment plan fee of $2.50 per partial payment
  • Credit/Debit card fee of 2.25% of payment plus $0.25 (except where prohibited by law)
  • Electronic check fee of $2.00 per payment

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Q: When does my monthly payment need to be received?

A:Monthly payments are based on “cycle billing”. This means payments can be made no more than twenty (20) days prior to your due date and must be posted to your account on the date due.

Please Note: Multiple payments made in one “cycle” will lower the balance. However, you must make a payment each month, or your account will default and your driving privileges will be suspended.

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Q: How long does it take to process my payment and update my driving record?

A: Payments take 1 – 2 business days from receipt of payment to post to your account, and up to 3-5 business days to update to your driving record.

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Q: What happens if I defaulted on my installment plan?

A: You may re-enter an installment plan for each account by simply paying the minimum amount due. The installment plan will be reinstated with the same due date and minimum monthly payment amount that you had previously. To prevent your account from going into default or your driving privileges from being suspended, you must make the minimum monthly payment on your surcharge account each month until the account is paid in full.

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Q: Can I change my due date for the installment plan?

A: A due date change is permitted once for each account. Request a change by calling 1-800-688-6882 or emailing dpsinquiry@gilacorp.com.

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Q: How do I pay with cash?

A: Payments can be made in person at any ACE Cash Express location nationwide. ACE locations will make change if needed. Please indicate to the ACE store associate that the payment is for 'TXDPS Surcharge MSB. You can click here to find the ACE store nearest to you.

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Q: How do I pay with check or money order?

A: Check or money order payments can be mailed to Surcharge Processing, PO Box 16733, Austin, Texas 78761-6733. Only checks drawn on United States banks will be accepted for payment. A $30.00 fee will be assessed to your account for any returned check or money order. You will be required to pay all fee(s) associated with a returned check or money order before your account will be considered as paid in full. We may represent any returned check in accordance with state and federal laws.

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Q: How do I pay using Money Gram or Western Union?

A: Payments can be sent from any Money Gram location. Fill out the blue Express Payment form completely with the following information.

  • Receive Code: 6139
  • Your 6-character reference number, found on your surcharge notice
Be sure your correct name and 6-character reference number are written on the form. You will need to send separate transactions if you are paying for multiple accounts. Call 1-800-926-9400 or visit www.moneygram.com for additional information. Payments can be sent from any Western Union location. Fill out the blue Quick Collect form completely with the following information:
  • Pay to: Municipal Services Bureau
  • Code City: DPS
  • Code State: TX
Be sure your correct name and 6-character reference number are written on the form. Write your Texas driver license or identification card number on the attention line of the form. Call 1-800-325-6000, or visit www.westernunion.com for additional information.

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Q: How do I pay with credit/debit card, or electronic check?

A: Payments can be made online at www.txsurchargeonline.com or be telephone at 1-800-688-6882. You will receive a confirmation number or confirmation receipt once your transaction is complete. The credit cards accepted are Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express. Electronic checks can be made using your checking, savings or money market account. You will need your bank routing and account numbers. Only checks drawn on United States banks will be accepted for payment. We may represent any returned check in accordance with state and federal laws.

You must enter the following information to use the online service:

  • Texas driver license or identification card number, or the Department assigned number located on the notice
  • Date of birth
  • Last name as it appears on the notice
  • Reference number located on the top right hand side of the notice

You must enter the following information to use the telephone service:
    Texas driver license or identification card number, or the Department assigned number located on the notice
  • Date of birth
  • Zip code as it appears on the notice

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Q: I am currently in the military and want to know how to defer my payments while deployed outside the continental United States.

A: To request a deferral, please download an application by clicking   HERE. However, DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) and Points-based surcharges are not eligible for deferral. If a United States Armed Forces advocate is submitting this application on your behalf, he/she must include your military identification number along will all required documentation for processing.

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QUESTIONS ABOUT NOTICES AND TELEPHONE CONTACTS:

Q: I received a Surcharge Notice. What do I need to do?

A: You can either pay the amount in full, or make monthly payments under the Installment Plan. You will find the monthly payment amount and due date on the remittance voucher. All monthly payments will have the same due date.
Once you start the installment plan, a monthly reminder notice with remittance voucher will be mailed to you as a convenience. You must still make your monthly payment even if you don’t receive the notice. If you are paying without a voucher, include your full name, Texas driver license/ID number and reference number(s) on your check or money order.

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Q: I received notice that my driving privileges are suspended, but I never received anything telling me that I owe a surcharge.

A: The initial surcharge notice is mailed to the address on the driver record. Suspension notices and reminder notices are mailed to the address provided by the United States Postal Service and/or skip tracing, if different from the address on your driver record.

If you have moved and not changed the address on your driver license or identification card, you may visit your local Driver License office or click here for information on changing your address online or by mail.

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Q: Why did Municipal Services Bureau call about my surcharge account?

A: Beginning September 2008, Municipal Services Bureau began contacting customers by telephone as a reminder that the surcharge account is in default and to provide payment options. All state and federal laws regulating telephone collections govern this process.

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Q: Why do I keep receiving notices that my driving privileges are suspended?

A: Beginning May 2008, Municipal Services Bureau began mailing reminder default notices. This notice is a reminder that your surcharge account is in default and your driving privileges are suspended.

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Q: Why did I receive a notice saying I accrued 4 or 5 points?

A: This is an “Advisory” notice and is informational only. This notice lets the individual know that any additional traffic convictions will result in a point surcharge. No payment is required until a surcharge has been assessed for accumulating six or more points. These notices are sent to you by the Texas Department of Public Safety, not Municipal Services Bureau. If you have questions regarding the Points Advisory notice, please call (512) 424-2600 between 8am and 5pm Monday through Friday, CST.

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Q: Why did I receive a subsequent notice informing me that my driving privileges are suspended?

A: During the 79th Legislative Session, Senate Bill 1723 was passed allowing additional collection methods. Municipal Services Bureau began mailing subsequent notices in May 2008. The subsequent notice is provided as a reminder that your surcharge account is in default and your driving privileges are suspended.

These notices will be mailed to the most current address available through the National Change of Address program, which is offered by the United States Postal Service and skip tracing. Skip tracing uses manual and batch processing to locate a current address for an individual through various database hosts.

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QUESTIONS ABOUT THE ONLINE SERVICE:

Q: Who do I contact for problems operating the site?

A: For technical assistance, contact Municipal Services Bureau at 1-800-688-6882 from 8AM to 9PM Monday - Thursday, 8AM - 6PM Friday, & 8AM - 12PM Saturday.

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Q: What browser versions does the application support?

A: This site requires Internet Explorer Versions 5.0 or higher, Netscape Navigator Version 6.0 or higher, Mozilla, Safari, and Opera 7. Using unsupported browsers or browser versions, or disabling browser features, such as JavaScript, cookies and SSL, may reduce site functionality or performance.

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QUESTIONS ABOUT THE Driver Responsibility Indigency/Incentive Reduction Program:

Q: How do I apply for the Driver Responsibility Indigency/Incentive Reduction Programs?

A:You may apply by mailing the completed application and supporting documents. Remember to have the application notarized. Once ready, please mail to:

DRP
Indigency/Incentive Application Processing
PO Box 16733
Austin, TX 78761

You may apply online by visiting www.txsurchargeonline.com. The application can be saved to your computer or completed online. The application and all supporting documents must be uploaded for the application to be considered complete.

Please do not mail original copies of your supporting documentation. They will not be returned to you.

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Q: Where can I get the application forms?

A: You may obtain a form or apply online by visiting www.txsurchargeonline.com. To print the form, select the ‘download’ link or you can save a copy to your computer. Please note you will need the program ‘Adobe Reader’ to open this document, which you can download at adobe.com.

If you do not have access to the internet, you may call 1-(866)223-3583 and speak to a Program Specialist for further instructions on how to receive a form.

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Q: Can MSB enroll me in the Indigency/Incentive Program so I don’t have to fill out an application?

A: No, the application must be completed by the person assessed the surcharge because they are required to have their signature notarized, and submit supporting documents to verify eligibility.    

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Q: Why does the application form have to be notarized?

A: The stamp of a public notary is required to certify the identity of the person who signs the application form, as this person is certifying that all information is true and correct.

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Q: Why did I get a letter requesting I send documents to prove my income and earnings?

A: You may be required to provide additional documentation of your income and earnings to verify that you meet the eligibility criteria.

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Q: Who is eligible for the Incentive Program?

A: Eligibility is defined as those who are living above 125% but who are below 300% of the federal poverty level, defined annually by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The determination of Incentive will be made by the Department or its designee.

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Q: Who is eligible for the Indigency Program?

A: Eligibility is defined as living at or below 125% of the federal poverty level defined annually by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The determination of Indigency will be made by the Department or its designee.

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Q: How long does it take to be notified of eligibility once the application is received?

A: If you applied by mail, you can expect to receive notification of eligibility within 60 days after receipt of the application. If you applied online, you can go to www.txsurchargeonline.com and log in to your application after 14 business days for a status and printable notice of your acceptance or denial.

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Q: Can I apply again if I’m denied?

A: Yes. You can apply for the reduction programs again at any time.

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Q: How much will I have to pay if I am approved for the Incentive Program?

A: Approved applicants will be required to pay 50% of the unpaid surcharges for all existing surcharge account(s). Service fees still apply.

Any amounts you may have paid on surcharges previously will be counted toward the reduced balance. If you have paid more than the reduced balance, your reduced amount will be zero.

Partial payments will be accepted during the six (6) month grace period, and must include a $2.50 fee with each payment. A monthly reminder will not be mailed if you choose to make partial payments.

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Q: How much will I have to pay if I am approved for the Indigency Program?

A: Approved applicants will be required to pay 10% of the unpaid surcharges for all existing surcharge account(s). The total amount of the Indigency surcharges assessed will not exceed $250. Service fees still apply.

Any amounts you may have paid on surcharges previously will be counted toward the reduced balance. If you have paid more than the reduced balance, your reduced amount will be zero.

Partial payments will be accepted during the six (6) month grace period, and must include a $2.50 fee with each payment. A monthly reminder will not be mailed if you choose to make partial payments.

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Q: What if I still can't pay the reduced balance by the due date?

A: The reduced balance remains the same even if it is not paid within six (6) months. However, your driving privileges will be suspended until the remaining balance is paid in full.

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Q: After I’m approved for a reduction, will my driver license remain suspended until the reduced amount is paid?

A: Your driving privileges will be reinstated for six months after acceptance into one of the Programs, pending no other enforcement actions on your driving record. If the reduced balance is not paid in full at the end of six (6) months, your driving privileges will be suspended until the remaining balance is paid in full. To check the status of your driving record, please visit www.texas.gov/driver and select Driver License Reinstatement and Status.

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Q: What happens to new surcharges that I get after applying for a reduction?

A: If additional surcharges are assessed within 90 calendar days of reduction approval, those surcharges will be automatically reduced and a letter sent with the new balance due. The original due date remains the same.

If new surcharges are assessed 90 days or more after the reduction approval, a new application will be required.

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Q: What is the deadline for enrollment?

A: There is no deadline for enrollment.

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Q: What if I made payments before I was approved for a reduction?

A: Any payments made on your surcharge accounts prior to approval for the Indigency/Incentive Programs will be counted toward the reduced balance. If you have paid more than the reduced balance, your reduced amount will be zero.

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Q: What if I paid more than the reduced balance?

A: If you sent your payment before being approved for the Indigency/Incentive Programs, your payment is applied toward your surcharge balance prior to the reduction and the reduced balance will include the payment. If you sent your payment after being approved for the reduction, any overpayment will be refunded to you by check within 45-60 days of payment receipt.

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Q: What are some examples of acceptable supporting documentation for my Indigence/Incentive application?

A: Examples of the documents that will be required are:
  • A copy of SSI benefits statement, if applicable.
  • A copy of the most recent Medicaid benefits statement, if applicable.
  • A copy of your two (2) most recent and complete bank statements.
  • Your most recent 1040 and related 1099, if applicable.
  • Evidence of dependents, if not listed on the previous documents.
  • A copy of your two (2) most recent pay statements.
  • A copy of the two (2) most recent pay statements from Other Household income listed above.
  • A copy of your Unemployment approval or denial letter.
  • A copy of your Veteran Benefits statement, if applicable.
  • Evidence of housing assistance which may include a Government Housing contract.
  • Other applicable documentation.

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Q: How will I be notified?

A: You will be notified by USPS 1st class mail.

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Q: When does the Indigency/Incentive Programs end?

A:The programs have no expiration date.

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Note: Your application for the TXDPS Surcharge Indigence/Incentive Reduction Program and any supporting documents you provide may be forwarded to the Texas Department of Public Safety for additional review and, if found to be fraudulent, may incur assessment of criminal penalties.

QUESTIONS ABOUT ADVANCED PAY:

Q: What does Advanced Payment mean?

A: The Advanced Pay option only applies to first year surcharges assessed on and after 11/23/14 and allows you to pay the full assessment in one payment. In order to 'Advanced Pay' you must make a single up-front payment in the amount identified on the notice(s) as the Advanced payment amount.

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Q: Which surcharges are eligible for Advanced pay?

A: Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), No Insurance, Driving While License Invalid (DWLI), Driving without a License. (Points surcharges are not eligible)

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Q: Why can't I "Advanced-Pay" my Points Surcharges?

A: Points surcharges are only assessed when you have six (6) or more points on your driving record during the annual review of your driving record by the Texas Department of Public Safety. Individuals who have six (6) or more points on their driver record are assessed a surcharge every year they maintain six (6) or more points.

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Q: How do I opt-in?

A: Go online to www.txsurchargeonline.com or call 1-800-688-6882 and speak to a Program Specialist.

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Q: Can I mail in my full amount for all assessed years?

A: Yes. Please select the Advanced Payment option on your Initial Notice and include a check, money order, or credit card information for the advanced payment. Please mail your payment to:

TXDPS Surcharge Processing
P.O. Box 16733
Austin, TX 78761-6733

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Q: What happens if I only make a partial payment?

A: In order to 'Advanced Pay' your surcharges, you must make a single up-front payment in the amount identified on the notice(s) as the advanced payment amount. If you make a partial payment, you will initiate an Installment Agreement. All overpayments will be refunded within 45-60 days, and you will be assessed for the subsequent years associated with the initial surcharge.

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Q: How do I find out the status of my Driver License?

A: You can go online to www.texas.gov/driver or you can call the Texas Department of Public Safety at 512-424-2600.

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Q: What happens to my Advanced-Pay balance if my payment is returned by my bank?

A: Insufficient funds (NSF) payments will be reversed from your account and an NSF charge of $30.00 will be applied. Your surcharge balance will revert back to the original balance owed and those surcharge accounts will no longer eligible for the Advanced Pay option in the future. You will be required to pay the balance in full or enroll in an Installment Agreement by making the minimum payment.

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Q: What happens to my Surcharge once I have paid my Advanced Pay balance?

A: The surcharge that was Advanced paid will be paid in full and you will not be assessed or receive notices for any subsequent years related to this surcharge account.

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QUESTIONS ABOUT POINTS REDUCTION:

Q: What is Points Reduction?

A: The Legislature passed a law during the 81st session authorizing the Department of Public Safety to deduct one (1) point from a driver’s record for each year a person does not receive a conviction for a moving violation.

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Q: Will I get a refund?

A: No. If your record received an adjustment resulting from points reduction, future assessments may be reduced or the point surcharge may not be assessed if your record now reflects less than 6 points. Any fees paid prior to the record adjustment were collected under the laws in place at that time and are not subject to a refund.

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Q: What if I still owe money on my surcharge accounts?

A: To identify any remaining funds due on your surcharge accounts and pay the minimum owed, visit www.txsurchargeonline.com and click on Online Services. Or you may contact us at 1-800-688-6882.

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Q: Who can I contact if I have additional questions on my license status?

A: If you would like to check your driving eligibility or pay reinstatement fees, please visit www.texas.gov/driver and select Driver License Reinstatement & Status. If you other questions relating to your driver license, please visit www.dps.texas.gov and select Driver License.

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