ASK A COP: Deadline nears for REAL ID act

Published 12:11 am Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Lynne from Port Arthur says: I’ve been on vacation and am just reading your June 11 column. Regarding the document requirements for a driver’s license: This is an important national requirement of the REAL ID Act. “The REAL ID Act is a federal law passed by Congress after 9/11 that establishes specific federal requirements for state-issued driver’s license and identity cards to be accepted for certain federal purposes, like entering a federal building or boarding a domestic flight. Although it was passed in 2005, it will not fully go into effect until 2020.” This affects everyone who wants to board a plane with their DL or enter a federal building next year. The DPS website explains how Texas is getting in compliance, as are all states.

Reply: Good Information, Lynne. If you haven’t by now it would be a good ideal to start locating documents such as your Social Security card and birth certificate. Because The Real ID Act is in force in Texas and it is a must that identifying items such as your Social Security card and birth certificate be presented in order to now obtain an official Texas Driver’s License or Identification Card. Lynne, you’re correct that this all stems from the REAL ID Act that Congress passed in 2005. Real ID requires more documents and proof of identity than non-REAL ID licenses. Texas has been issuing REAL ID licenses since October 2016.

If you have a state of Texas license or Identification Card take a look at the front right top; do you see a gold star? If the answer is YES then you are Real ID compliant. If your answer is no, you will need to be compliant by October next year for domestic air travel and federal building entrance. The gold star near the top right means you’re Real ID compliant.

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If you haven’t renewed your license since 2016, you can still use it until it expires or until Oct. 1, 2020, whichever comes first. Take, for example, 2020 rolls around and you don’t have a REAL ID yet. A valid passport or trusted traveler card is still fine, you just won’t be able to show your license to get through a federal building or airport security. You will need a Texas REAL ID with the gold star for air travel purposes. So if you’re going to renew your license make sure you have those two documents or you’re going to be turned around. It’s my belief that this Real ID process has recently became effective in the Port Arthur DPS office. I’ve spoken with the personnel at the Bureau of Vital Statistics located inside the health department and they advised there had been a steep increase for birth certificate requests, so this confirms Real ID is active in Port Arthur.


TMS from Port Arthur asks: Officer Antoine, not long ago I observed a child riding on the back of a motorcycle being driven by an adult. My question is, of course, pertaining to the safety of the child riding on the motorcycle. Is there an age limit in Texas regarding children riding on the back of a motorcycle and do they have to wear a helmet?

Answer: Good question, TMS! Thanks for being concerned about the safety of our children who are passengers on motorcycles. TMS, In the state of Texas child passengers on a motorcycle must be at least 5 years of age to ride on a motorcycle. All motorcycle passengers and drivers under the age of 21 must always wear helmets. This is actually a law I don’t agree with because in a car or truck a child must be 8 years of age or 4 feet 9 inches tall or they MUST be in a booster seat, but a 5 year old child can ride on a motorcycle. Does anybody else find this as strange?


Isabell from Groves asks: Officer Antoine, thanks so much for the article, I’m learning so much from it that Ask A Cop is the first section I turn to every Tuesday! I seen a truck parked on the side the road, but it wasn’t parked close to the curb! I said this has to be illegal so I decided to Ask A Cop!

Answer: Good question, Isabell! Parking is a problem that all municipalities large and small have to deal with. Many of the larger municipalities like Houston and Dallas have their own “Parking Enforcement” department. Isabell, in Texas the Transportation Code states that a vehicle can park no more than 18 inches from the curb. Police can issue a citation for any vehicle found parked over 18 inches from the curb.


Join Officer Antoine for Ask A Cop Live on KSAP 96.9 FM, “The Breeze” radio station every Tuesday from 1-2 p.m. Tune in and listen as Officer Antoine discusses in detail the newly released Ask A Cop article that printed in The News. You can also tune in via internet at Feel free to call in and ask your question live to Officer Antoine at 409-982-0247.


Remember to email your questions to, or call 409-983-8673 and leave a message or voice mail question, or mail them to: Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 Fourth St., Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public you can Ask A Cop!