what does a warning ticket mean in texas

Texas Traffic Ticket

Getting a traffic ticket in Texas can be a frustrating and confusing experience. You might be wondering how much you’ll have to pay, if your ticket will affect your driving record, and if your auto insurance rates will go up. Below you’ll find all the basic information on what to expect when you get a Texas traffic ticket.

How to Plead

If you get a Texas traffic ticket, you have three choices: plead guilty, plead no contest, or plead not guilty. It’s good to weigh your options and understand the ramifications of each choice before you submit your plea.

Pleading Guilty

If you plead guilty or no contest, you’ll be required to pay your ticket and fines. You might have an opportunity to negotiate lower fines or penalties and/or points off your driving record by taking a Texas defensive driving class. These factors will all depend on your violation and it will be up to the court to decide.

Pleading Not Guilty or No Contest

Pleading not guilty is much more difficult. Fighting traffic tickets in Texas requires drivers to present their case in court in front of a judge. If you win your case, you may walk away with no or violations on your record. The court has the knowledge and the advantage in this situation though, so unless you are well-versed in Texas traffic law, you should consider hiring an attorney to present your case. Even if you do fight your ticket, you might still face fines — and lawyer’s fees.

Texas Fines and Penalties

In Texas, all tickets are assigned fines and penalties. In addition, the Texas Driver Responsibility Program (DRP) allows the state to slap drivers with additional surcharges for certain violations, on top of the fines associated with that ticket. You’ll receive a letter in the mail outlining any additional surcharges you may have to pay.

Surcharges are applied based on two factors: points and convictions. Keep in mind, if you have both points and a conviction added to your driving record, you could be charged separate fines for both!

Here’s what you can expect for each:


Every traffic violation has either 2 or 3 points associated with it. If you are convicted of a traffic violation, the points associated with that ticket will be added to your Texas driver record —and they’ll remain there for 3 years from the date of your conviction.

  • 2 points: any Texas or out-of-state traffic conviction
  • 3 points: any Texas or out-of-state conviction involving a crash

Even just one 2-point assessment on your record could result in higher insurance rates. If you continue to get traffic tickets and have 6 or more points added to your record, you will be forced to pay a surcharge every year until those points are reduced. These fines are as follows:

  1. $100 for the first 6 points
  2. $25 for each additional point over 6


Certain violations carry surcharges that are automatically assessed to you once your conviction is added to your record. You’ll be required to pay the fee for 3 years from the date of conviction, and the surcharge can be much more expensive than point-based charges. Here is a list of conviction-based surcharges and what you can expect to pay annually:

  • $1000 – Driving while intoxicated (DWI), first offense
  • $1,500 – DWI, two or more offenses
  • $2,000 – DWI with BAC of .16 or greater
  • $250 – No insurance
  • $250 – Driving with an invalid license
  • $100 – Driving without a license

Dismissing a Ticket

The only way to prevent points from damaging your driving record is to take a Texas-approved defensive driving course. Your course must be 6 hours in length and approved by the Texas TDLR. Online courses are the fastest and easiest way to meet this requirement.

Once you’ve admitted guilt for your violation, you’ll need to request permission from the court to take a defensive driving course. You can do this either in person or by mail. Once approved, you’ll have 90 days to complete and pass your course, and submit your certificate of completion to your court.

If you were doing the following, you will not be able to take defensive driving:

  • Driving 25 MPH or higher over the speed limit
  • Committed an infraction in a construction zone
  • Already taken defensive driving within the last 12 months

If you’re approved to take defensive driving to dismiss a ticket, you’ll need to submit both your certificate of completion as well as a copy of your Texas driving record to the court.

Check Your Texas Driving Record

You’re not done yet! Even after you take a TEA/TDLR-approved defensive driving course in Texas, and you’ve submitted your completion certificate along with a copy of your driving record to your court, you’ll still need to follow up. Remember, excessive points on your record can lead to additional fines, increased auto insurance rates, and ultimately a license suspension.

Wait a couple weeks then contact your court for a new copy of your driving record. Make sure the ticket and points were removed from your record, and if not contact your court right away.

Find all the basic information about Texas traffic tickets and violations to fight tickets to prevent being on your Texas driving record.

Do Speeding Warnings Affect Your Car Insurance Rates?

A speeding warning probably won’t impact your rates, but this doesn’t mean they don’t matter.

Law enforcement agencies give police officers a lot of discretion when it comes to issuing traffic tickets. If you are pulled over for speeding, the officer could give you a speeding ticket or a speeding warning.

It is obviously better to receive a warning than a ticket, but how do speeding warnings impact your auto insurance rates? They probably won’t, but potentially could. This article will examine this question in further detail and offer some tips for reducing insurance rates.

One of the easiest ways to find the lowest car insurance rates is by comparing providers. We’ve reviewed the best car insurance companies and offer a convenient-to-use quote comparison tool. Try it below or call (855) 518-0148 for free auto insurance quotes.

In this article:

What Does A Speeding Warning Mean?

A speeding warning is not an order to appear in court or pay a fine. It will not add points to your license. A speeding warning means that the officer is “letting you off the hook,” so to speak.

A written warning may appear on your driving record. If you are pulled over and the officer notices you’ve already received multiple speeding warnings, he’s more likely to give you a real citation.

Speeding Tickets Versus Speeding Warnings

If you are pulled over for driving over the speed limit, the officer will either give you a speeding ticket or a speeding warning. There are differences in how each will affect your wallet.

May add points to your license

Will not add points to your license

Are citations to appear in court and/or pay a fine

No need to appear in court or pay a fine

Can increase your auto insurance rates depending on the infraction

Unlikely to increase your insurance rates

Will definitely appear on your driving record

May or may not appear on your driving record

There are two different types of speeding warnings you might receive: written or verbal. A verbal warning will not appear on your driving record. There is no paper trail, and the incident will live on only in the collective memories of you and the officer that stopped you.

Written speeding warnings may appear on your permanent record. This depends on the practices of the particular police department. It is possible that the warning will be stored in a rusty filing cabinet, never again to see the light of day. It’s also possible that the warning will be filed electronically. Electronic records are easily accessible to any car insurance company that decides to search for them.

The good news is that it is highly unlikely for a speeding warning to increase your insurance rates. Even if an auto insurance company knows about the warning, it is unlikely to care. However, if you have a high number of speeding warnings, that could be a different story. If you have a lot of speeding warnings on your record, you increase the likelihood that the next officer will ticket you after a traffic stop.

How Speeding Warnings Impact Insurance Rates

Auto insurance carriers look at a number of factors to determine your premiums. These include:

  • City
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Credit score
  • Driving history
  • Vehicle
  • Gender

Providers care about your driving history, because they want to know how likely it is that your driving will result in a claim payout. Having a single ticket or a couple minor infractions is common for most people, and not likely to spike your rates. However, drivers with multiple traffic violations – especially DUIs – are deemed “high-risk” by insurance carriers.

A speeding warning is the least likely infraction to increase your insurance rates. Your current provider probably won’t even know about the warning. When you sign up with a new provider, the company may find the warning on your driving record, but is unlikely to care.

It is possible that if you accumulate a high volume of speeding warnings and tickets, your rates will rise. A single warning should not raise your rates even by a penny.

How To Reduce Your Car Insurance Rates

There are many strategies for reducing your insurance rates, and you don’t need to wait until you get speeding warnings to try them.

Ask For A Higher Deductible

Policies with higher deductibles have lower premiums. But just because a higher deductible will lower your annual premium doesn’t mean it’s always a good idea. Make sure you will be able to afford your deductible should you get into an accident. In some cases, an extremely high deductible is not worth low rates. You need to find the ideal balance for your own budget.

When considering this option, be realistic about your own driving habits. This is a very bad option if you have gotten into a lot of accidents.

Take A Defensive Driving Class

Many auto insurance providers will offer discounts if you complete a defensive driving class. You will need to check with your individual carrier. In the following states, car insurance carriers are required to lower rates for customers who complete a state-approved defensive driving class:

Alabama Alaska Arkansas California Colorado
Connecticut Delaware District of Columbia Florida Georgia
Idaho Illinois Kansas Kentucky Louisiana
Maine Minnesota Mississippi Montana Nevada
New Jersey New Mexico (only for drivers over 50) New York North Dakota Oklahoma
Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina Tennessee
Utah Virginia Washington West Virginia Wyoming

In Texas and Florida you can take a defensive driving class to have your ticket dismissed. This can prevent your insurance rates from going up in the first place.

Ask Your Provider About Discounts

Most providers offer discounts for safe driving, policy bundling, and insuring multiple cars. The chart below lists common discounts offered by many auto insurance providers. These can help you lower your rates if you are worried about getting a lot of speeding warnings and tickets.

Reduced rates for drivers with good driving records

Reduced rates for completing a defensive driving course

Reduced rates for cars with extra safety features

Reduced rates if you bundle your auto insurance with other insurance policies

Reduced rates for insuring multiple vehicles

Reduced rates for military members

Switch Insurance Providers

Almost every car insurance company brags that customers who switch to its policies save. This is true because most people aren’t going to switch providers unless it saves money. The customers whose costs would increase don’t end up making the switch.

Like internet service providers, many car insurance companies will offer discounts if it means they can poach you away from a competitor. Compare rates among providers, and when you are speaking with an insurance agent, be sure to mention the deals you’ve been offered by competitors.

Auto Insurance Provider Recommendations

If you’re lucky enough to get off with speeding warnings, you may not be concerned about a premium spike. But, if your insurance premiums go up because of points on your license, consider comparing quotes and switching providers. Start by using our quote comparison tool or by calling (855) 518-0148.

Some companies offer great options for insurance that is both inexpensive and comprehensive. Check out two of our favorite providers below.

USAA: Best For Military

Not only does USAA car insurance offer some of the lowest prices, it also receives high customer satisfaction ratings. We give USAA 5.0 stars out of 5.0 in our USAA auto insurance review, and it is our highest-rated provider for a reason. The J.D. Power 2019 Auto Claims Satisfaction Study SM gave USAA top marks for claims servicing, and AM Best assigns USAA an A++ financial strength rating.

Note that USAA is only available to military members and their immediate family members. If USAA car insurance is an option for you, it is certainly worth exploring.

Geico: Best Overall

In our Geico auto insurance review, we found Geico to be a good alternative for those who aren’t eligible to buy USAA insurance. Geico offers full coverage at competitive prices. You can even lower premiums by tracking your driving with the DriveEasy app.

Geico has a Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating of A+ and an AM Best financial strength rating of A++ (the highest possible rating). Geico fully integrates apps into its claims filing and service request process. It is easy and convenient to request roadside assistance or report an accident.

FAQ About Speeding Warnings

Do warnings for speeding go on your record?

It depends. Verbal speeding warnings are not documented and will not appear on your record. A written warning may appear on your record. You can check your driver record yourself by contacting your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

How long does a warning stay in the system?

There is no set time that a warning will stay on your record. Some warnings may never go on your record at all, and others could potentially sit in a filing cabinet for decades. Speeding tickets generally stay on your record for five to ten years.

What happens if you get a warning from a cop?

If a cop gives you a verbal speeding warning, nothing else happens. You are free to drive away and will not be fined or summoned to court. A written warning is a little different in that it could be added to your driving record.

A single written warning on your driving record will not impact you. Multiple written speeding warnings may affect your insurance premiums and the likelihood that you get a real ticket the next time you are pulled over.

This article explains the difference between a speeding warning and a speeding ticket. We describe how speeding warnings could impact your insurance rates. ]]>