Texas DPS

If you’ve been charged with driving while intoxicated, then it’s likely you’ll have to encounter Texas DPS. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is responsible for law enforcement, highway safety, emergency management and license and vehicle regulation. DPS also oversees the Driver Responsibility Program, which imposes surcharges to irresponsible drivers. It’s important you understand how DPS functions if you’ve been charged with DWI. Depending on your situation, you may have to file an administrative license revocation hearing with DPS to continue using your license. Additionally, you could be subject to DPS surcharges based on your conviction or license points. The more prepared you are the easier it’ll be to challenge your surcharges or license suspension. If you or someone you know has been charged with driving while intoxicated, it’s in your best interest you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Attorney for TxDPS in Houston, Texas

The criminal penalties for driving while intoxicated can be overwhelming. However, this doesn’t mean you should shirk off the administrative penalties. The Texas DPS could revoke or suspend your license for a period of time or impose expensive surcharges. The attorneys at Tyler Flood & Associates, Inc. are proud to provide quality legal service to all our clients. We will utilize our resources, skills and experience to formulate a formidable defense for you. Call us today at (713) 224-5529 to schedule a free consultation. Tyler Flood & Associates, Inc. accepts clients throughout the Houston area and surrounding communities including Tomball, River Oaks, Uptown and Bellaire. Overview of Texas Department of Public Safety

What Does Texas DPS Do?

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) plays an important role in Texas’s everyday functions. They regulate licenses, vehicles, chemical testing results and emergency management. In addition, they assist law enforcement through a crime laboratory and records. Listed below are the fifteen divisions of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

  • Administration
  • Aviation and Operation Support
  • Criminal Investigations
  • Finance
  • Highway Patrol
  • Education, Training and Research (ETR)
  • Driver License
  • Emergency Management
  • General Counsel
  • Law Enforcement Support
  • Media and Communications Office
  • Regulatory Services
  • Texas Rangers
  • Information Technology
  • Intelligence and Counterterrorism

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Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Program

You might not be aware that DWI doesn’t only have criminal consequences, but administrative penalties. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will administer a license suspension if you have a BAC of .08 or greater or if you refused chemical testing. Refusing chemical testing isn’t a crime, but it’s in violation of implied consent laws. Implied consent laws address chemical testing for DWI by law enforcement. These laws state if you drive on Texas public roads then you’re implicitly agreeing to chemical testing. If you refuse testing, Texas law states you could have your license suspended for up to 180 days. A second or subsequent refusal will result in a license suspension for up to 2 years. Submitting to chemical testing doesn’t mean your license won’t be suspended. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will administer a license suspension if you fail chemical testing with a BAC of .08 or greater. Failing a chemical test will result in a 90-day license suspension by DPS. If you’ve previously failed a chemical test, then your license will be suspended for up to 1 year. Fortunately, you have options. If you hire an attorney, you could battle your license suspension with an administrative license revocation (ALR) hearing. At the hearing you can contest your license suspension with legal representation. However, it’s important you act now. You only have 15 days after arrest to file a request for an administrative license revocation (ALR) hearing.

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DWI Surcharges by Texas DPS

Another danger of DWI is the surcharges imposed by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). DPS has a system to deter dangerous driving called the Driver Responsibility Program. If you accumulated enough driver’s points or charged with DWI, then you could be subject to surcharges by DPS. DPS assesses surcharges in two ways: points or conviction based. The points system is based on your prior traffic convictions. DPS determines points by:

  • 2 points for a Texas or out-of-state traffic conviction; and
  • 3 points for a Texas or out-of-state traffic conviction that resulted in a crash.

If you have six or more points on your driving record, then DPS will assess a surcharge for every year they have six or more points. These surcharges include:

  • $100 for their first six points on their record; and
  • $25 for every additional point after six.

If you’re charged with DWI, then your surcharges will be conviction based. You will be required to pay an annual surcharge for three years from the date of your conviction. The surcharge is automatic after your conviction. If you fail to pay the surcharge DPS will revoke your license until the amount is paid. Listed below are the annual surcharges for DWI by DPS.

  • First DWI - $1,000
  • Second or Subsequent DWI - $1,500
  • DWI with BAC of .16 or More - $2,000

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How to Get an Occupational Licenses by Texas DPS

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) also issues out occupational driver’s licenses. An occupational driver’s license is a special type of restricted license if you’ve had your license suspended or revoked. The license is for fundamental needs only including work, school or essential household errands. You can request an occupational driver license by petitioning to your county Justice of the Peace. They will review your petition to see if you qualify for an occupational license. If you’re successful, DPS will reinstate your license if you present:

  • A copy of the petition and court order granting the occupational license;
  • A Financial Responsibility Insurance Certificate (SR-22); and
  • Complete payments of both occupational license fees and reinstatement fees

An SR-22 is a certificate that verifies you have maintained your car insurance. Most insurance providers will automatically notify DPS when an SR-22 is cancelled, terminated or lapses.

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Additional Resources

Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) – Visit the official website of Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to learn more about their services. Access the site to find more information surrounding ALR hearings, occupational licenses, and annual surcharges. Driving While Intoxicated – Visit the official website of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to learn more about DWI laws. Access the site to learn more about DWI penalties, enhancements and how to stay safe while on the road.

Lawyer for Texas DPS in Harris County, Texas

If you or someone you know has been charged with DWI, it’s crucial you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. If convicted, you could face thousands of dollars in fines and time behind bars. Don’t put your future in jeopardy. Contact the attorneys at Tyler Flood & Associates, Inc. for quality legal representation. Tyler Flood & Associates, Inc. is a group of attorneys who are skilled in criminal defense. We have represented clients in both administrative and criminal proceedings. Call us today at (713) 224-5529 for a free consultation. We accept clients in the greater Harris County area including Tomball, Houston, Uptown and Bellaire.


This article was last updated on March 7th, 2019.


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Robert Henderson
Robert Henderson
December 22, 2023.
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Zeta Ze
Zeta Ze
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briana Munoz
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Cesar Ricardez
October 3, 2023.
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