My name is Arthur A.
In December of 2004 I got my first and only DWI. I was celebrating a promotion in a local Katy, TX pub and I had too much to drink. I thank God that night I got caught. I was in no shape to drive and it could of been worse if someone had gotten killed. That’s something I would have had to live with for the rest of my life.
However, I didn’t think that 10 years later I would be living in intense stress and pressure, forced to drive without a license since 2004 and many years without insurance. Back in 2004, I simply couldn’t afford the $1,000 a year surcharge for 3 years AFTER I spent 5 days in jail and paid my court fees. I had to get to work, so I was forced to drive without a license. I got pulled over several more times with a suspended license, which resulted in even more surcharges, piling up on me like a long rap sheet.
There was an amnesty period, but no one told me about it, so I was not able to take advantage of that.
Every single day for 10 years I have lived in fear of being pulled over and going back to jail and getting even more surcharges and fees. But I HAVE TO WORK OR I CAN’T LIVE, so I continue to drive. I don’t know what else to do. I also can’t even buy a vehicle from a reputable dealer and must resort to buying cars from high interest car lots. Paying too much for cars is just another added financial hardship.
I’ve lost opportunities for better paying jobs because of my suspended license. I’ve been held back at work and even had to pay higher insurance rates. I’ve tried to set up a payment plan for the surcharges, but they want to charge all sorts of fees and compounded amounts. The amount per month I would have to pay to make this right is ridiculous. I don’t have anything close to that much money.
My life has been hell for the past 10 years. I just want to be free of it all so I can breath and not hold my breath and fear how much deeper in surcharge prison I might go. I’ve paid for my sins over and over, just for that one mistake. It feels like a 10 year sentence so far with no end in sight.
I have a family and kids. I’m just trying to get by. It’s time to set this right. Let us have our licenses to drive so we can function and provide for our families. Just think how much more money would be made if all 1.3 million of us who have lost our licenses had a license and paid our registration fees, etc.
The Driver Responsibility Program just needs to go. Thank you for reading my story, and I hope someone in the state capitol understands what a hardship this is.