Author Topic: Texas Judgment for traffic accident  (Read 1544 times)

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spinn

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Texas Judgment for traffic accident
« on: July 02, 2006 09:42:01 PM »
A friend of mine was in a serious car accident when living in Texas about fifteen years ago. He somehow had a judgment placed against him, according to the Texas dept of motor vehicles which is strange because no such judgment exists on his credit file.

When emailed, the Texas DMV responded by saying that they will not reinstate his drivers license until the judgment is satisfied and listed the name of the creditor attorney. The amount owed is probably significant but all of this happpedned fifteen years ago or so.

The immediate issue is that my friend cant get his license back and now lives in another state.

Does anyone know how to resolve this, without possible awakening a creditor from years ago? Is there any way to check and see if someone has a judgment issued against them in Texas? And why would this prevent them from getting a drivers license?
« Last Edit: July 02, 2006 09:49:02 PM by spinn »

Flyingifr

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Re: Texas Judgment for traffic accident
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2006 10:48:39 PM »
Last question first - may states suspend drivers licenses for unpaid traffic-related judgments.

Next - have your friend get a smuch infor from the Texas Motor Vehicles as he can abot this Judgment - Court location, docket, etc.... Then write to teh Court and ask for a copy of the Transcript.

Now, to my question - if he wa snever serveed with papers, he may be able to get the judgment set aside, but he better move on it.
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centex

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Re: Texas Judgment for traffic accident
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2006 11:28:46 PM »
For starters, the relevant agency to obtain information on the license will be the Texas Department of Public Safety.  They handle the issuance and suspension of the TxDL. 

Other factors to determine will be where the accident occurred and whether any State property was damaged.  I have seen many clients who had not only a claim by the traditional insurance avenues but also a claim for damages associated with guard rails, light posts and various signs. 

Chapter 521 is the current iteration of the Transportation Code that addresses driving privileges in the State of Texas, although 15 years ago, it was probably somewhere around Section 6700 of the Vernons Texas Code Annotated.  I don't happen to have that readily accessible although I am sure it is in a box in the garage somewhere since it was not uncommon to have the transportation guide in the same edition as the Texas Penal Code and some other ancillary codes when you were just looking for the quick desk reference while in school.

The other question to be determined is whether the reinstatement is conditioned upon payment of a judgement or whether it is reinstatement fees associated with a suspension for an alcohol or drug-related offense.  A secondary element is going to be dependent upon whether there was a conviction for certain enumerated felony offenses. 

As a quick update, I also recalled that some of the SR forms deal with Unsatisfied Judgments and the Texas Motor Vehicle Safety Responsibility Act.  Look at Chapter 601 of the Transportation Code.  The form filed by the judgment creditor is the SR-62 and if there had been an Installment Agreement that was not fulfilled, then it would have been an SR-73 that was filed.

The friend is going to need either the SR-11 or the SR-19 to be completed and then pay the $100 reinstatement fee.

Oh, and the fact that the judgement is not on the bureau reports is neither odd nor strange, particularly given its age.  Not all judgments make it to the reports, and the entities like Hogan and Lexis were not as active in that era.  , my tax lien does not even show up on all of the bureaus. 
« Last Edit: July 02, 2006 11:41:13 PM by centex »

spinn

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Re: Texas Judgment for traffic accident
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2006 11:41:04 PM »
Thanks for the replies....

My friend was a kid when this happened and admitted to a lot of mistakes in previous lives. One of them was driving without insurance at the time this happened. I know, thats a very bad thing.

I dont think any criminal charges were filed, unless they were from the driving with no insurance. The judgment seems to be from the person my friend hit. I still am not quite sure why that would cause Texas to suspend ones license if not paid. Can they suspend your license until you pay a Civil judgement? I do not beleive any public property was damaged.

Since it was so long ago, isnt it possible that the judgment was not renewed? How can we find out if the judgment has finally died?

centex

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Re: Texas Judgment for traffic accident
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2006 11:48:19 PM »
My friend was a kid when this happened and admitted to a lot of mistakes in previous lives. One of them was driving without insurance at the time this happened. I know, thats a very bad thing.

definitely a very bad thing

Quote
I dont think any criminal charges were filed, unless they were from the driving with no insurance. The judgment seems to be from the person my friend hit. I still am not quite sure why that would cause Texas to suspend ones license if not paid. Can they suspend your license until you pay a Civil judgement? I do not beleive any public property was damaged.

There were only a few criminal offenses for which suspension is/was an automatic thing upon conviction.  But since he had no insurance, the laws pertaining to insurance provide that the driving privilege can be suspended until the judgment is satisfied or an installment agreement is entered into, not to mention the subsequent proof of fiscal responsibility (insurance).

Quote
Since it was so long ago, isnt it possible that the judgment was not renewed? How can we find out if the judgment has finally died?

If the judgment was not renewed, it is possible that the requirement to pay the matter could be set aside, but friend is probably going to need to deal with TxDPS General Counsel to resolve that issue.  The Statutes are silent as to the sequence of events if judgement lays dormant.  And since friend is out of state, that raises other issues that will really complicate the youthful indiscretions.

ETA: relevant section on reinstatement:
601.332. SUSPENSION OF DRIVER'S LICENSE AND VEHICLE
REGISTRATION OR NONRESIDENT'S OPERATING PRIVILEGE FOR UNSATISFIED
JUDGMENT.  (a) Except as provided by Sections 601.333, 601.334, and
601.336, on receipt of a certified copy of a judgment under Section
601.331, the department shall suspend the judgment debtor's:
      (1)  driver's license and vehicle registrations;  or                         
      (2)  nonresident's operating privilege.                                       
   (b)  Subject to Sections 601.333, 601.334, and 601.336, the
suspension continues, and the person's driver's license, vehicle
registrations, or nonresident's operating privilege may not be
renewed or the person issued a driver's license or registration in
the person's name, until:
      (1)  the judgment is stayed or satisfied;  and                               
      (2)  the person provides evidence of financial
responsibility.   
« Last Edit: July 02, 2006 11:50:05 PM by centex »

spinn

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Re: Texas Judgment for traffic accident
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2006 12:02:18 AM »
Thanks again Centex for the generous response. Thats not good news but I will have to tell him to get an attorney.

This will obviously be a very delicate situation that needs to be handled carefully.

Hope I am not repeating myself but how can we determine if the judgment was not renewed?

centex

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Re: Texas Judgment for traffic accident
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2006 12:07:33 AM »
Thanks again Centex for the generous response. Thats not good news but I will have to tell him to get an attorney.

This will obviously be a very delicate situation that needs to be handled carefully.

Hope I am not repeating myself but how can we determine if the judgment was not renewed?

He knows where the accident was which means he knows what county he was likely sued in.  There is your starting point...

 

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