How Long Does Online Defensive Driving Take in Texas?

Information Last Verified: June 15, 2021 by Jordan Fabel

Online defensive driving is ideal for people who have busy schedules because of the ability to work at your own pace. Did you wait until the last minute to begin or complete your certificate? Texas courts give you a maximum of 90 days to complete your course, but the time spent in the course is up to you!

The state of Texas requires all approved courses to be a minimum of 6 hours. The silver lining is by taking defensive driving online, you allow yourself the freedom and convenience of being able to log out whenever you need or want to. To keep track of your progress, approved courses will have timers for each section. Easy right?

Depending on the reason, you may not need to or may not be able to take the course. The most common reasons people decide to take defensive driving are:

No matter what the reason is for taking a defensive driving course, doing so will be to your benefit.

Are you eligible to take defensive driving?

The main reasons for being unable to take defensive driving include but aren’t limited to:

You ARE ELIGIBLE to take a Texas defensive driving course if you meet the following criteria:

Once you have received permission from the court to take defensive driving, you can begin choosing a course. Be sure the online defensive driving course you choose is approved by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.

Go to a Defensive Driving Class or Get Online?

Online courses are trending in today’s online super highway, however, you can still go with the old school in-person interaction. There are ups and downs to both sides of the road, and both options provide you with a certificate upon completion! Attending a class room course will give you the option of being able to ask an instructor any questions you may have along the way. If you enjoy mingling with new people and are a social butterfly, then spread your wings and go to school!

A popular option for class room courses is attending a class hosted at a restaurant or comedy club, which may include a meal. Make a day of it, go with a friend and have fun!

Class room courses provide breaks throughout which do not count toward the 6 hour state minimum required time spent. This will increase the total time spent however this option may be for you if you’re a “make-it-in-one-trip” kind of person.

Regardless of which road you take, both will provide all the information you will need to succeed. A live course instructor isn’t necessary, however, they can be helpful. Are you also a do-it-yourself kind of person? Well, you can do it yourself, online! With a little help from Google, taking your course online will be easy street.

Are we starting to see a trend? Online seems to be the most beneficial and straightforward way to go. Convenience is the most obvious benefit of certifying online. You make your own dress code, decide your own break limits, and do as much or as little coursework as your schedule will allow.

With 90 days to provide a certificate of completion to the court, it may feel like you have all the time in the world. Be careful though, 90 days have a way of sneaking up on you. Think about it this way; you could spend 10 minutes a day taking the course online and be finished in 36 days. Whichever way you choose to split up the time, keep in mind your deadline of completion given by the court.

Will taking the course online make it easy to cheat on the course?

If by cheating you mean looking up information on google during the answer portion, that is not considered cheating. However, If you are referring to allowing another person to take the course for you, that is definitely considered cheating. The online courses are designed with checks and balances to make this form of cheating more difficult.

Periodically, The course will ask you personal questions pertaining to your vehicle and driver’s license. Failure to answer these questions correctly will result in your account being locked, in which that case you will need to call the course provider to unlock your account. This level of security is to prevent “switcharoo” cheating.

Relax! Fix yourself a cold drink (Shirley-Temple?), grab some snacks, login, and let the course, well, take its course.

Let’s Talk Turkey: What does defensive driving cost?

$25.00 is the lowest price for defensive driving allowed by law in Texas. Don’t be fooled by companies advertising the “lowest price”. If the cost of the course is lower than $25.00, it is not approved and the certificate will not be valid in court. You can always opt for the fancy upgrades and services for additional fees such as video formatted courses, and instant print e-certificates available immediately upon completion. Instant print? Yes! As of November 1st, 2018, you are no longer at the mercy of snail mail. Of course, the cost of instant gratification is the same as convenience, however, if you waited until the night before/morning of your court date, this option is for you!

All done with my course! What Next?

The hard part is over! You can relax now if you haven’t already by taking the course online and drinking all those frosty Shirley-Temples.
Your certificate will include a duplicate, which will be labeled “insurance copy”.

Present the first one to the court to begin the ticket dismissal process and the other to your insurance provider.

What if I don’t have my certificate completed by the date given by the court?

Counties may vary, however, if you fail to submit a certificate of completion for the course within 90 days you may be issued a court summons, assessed additional fines, or both… To possibly avoid such atrocities, contact the court in the county where you received your ticket. If you do not follow up with the court, a warrant may be issued for your arrest. If you are unable to submit your Certificate of Completion to the court by the assigned due date, observe the following:

  1. Contact the court ASAP. Inquire your court appearance date. If there is time between the date of the call and the court date, complete your driver safety training immediately.
  2. If there isn’t additional time, inquire about the next steps to submit the Certificate of Completion. For some courts, if you miss the first court appearance date, a hearing to “show cause” is scheduled by the court. In most cases, this is the last opportunity to present your certificate before the judge.
  3. If you are issued a “show cause” hearing, you may register to take a driver safety training course. You must complete it on or before the due date. The judge may accept the Certificate of Completion.
  4. Stick to your “show cause” hearing and follow all instructions to a “T”. Be prepared by taking all court required documents and smile, but not too big. This will help with your ticket dismissal.

What if I need a copy of my driving record for defensive driving?

For an additional cost, many online defensive driving courses (including ours!) offer a driving record option or combo package with your certificate.

Your driver record will be emailed to you the same day you order it as long as you order it and make payment for the driver record prior to 4 PM CST on a business day (Monday through Friday). Otherwise, you will receive your emailed certificate the following business day.

Most courts in Texas require that you turn in a certified copy of your driving record with your certificate of completion. The purpose is to ensure you haven’t taken a course in the past 12 months for a prior ticket.