How Much Will a DWI Arrest Cost You?
If you are arrested for DWI, the costs incurred can be devastating. Bail, legal fees, fines and lost wages can all be consequences of drunk driving and DWI arrest. Beyond monetary costs lies embarrassment within your family and community, the threat to future employment, not to mention driver’s license suspension. Texas DWI penalties are some of the strictest in the country. Drunk driving compromises not only your bank account, but your freedom as well.
After a DWI arrest, feeling overwhelmed is normal. Contacting an attorney who specializes in Texas DWI law will ease your mind. Depending on details of your case, your attorney may be able to help eliminate some of your DWI costs. Avoiding conviction in your DWI case is a key factor in avoiding DWI penalties and expenses. Although you will need to incur legal fees to achieve this, your attorney’s bill will be far smaller than the amount of money you will be expected to pay following your DWI conviction.
So, how much exactly will your DWI arrest cost you?
The Texas Department of Transportation recently conducted a study which found that a first time offender could expect to pay between $9000 and $24,000 for DWI arrest and conviction. They uncovered costs that aren’t widely known to the public, but can add up to significant expenditure. Some of these less commonly recognized fees may include vehicle impoundment and increases in insurance premiums.
Texas Department of Transportation’s Drunk Driving Fees
Attorney fees: $275-$10,000
Court Costs: $25-$1500
DWI fine: $2000 *first offense*
(Second offense garners a $4000 fine and a third offense a $10,000 fine)
Course in alcohol education: $25-$185
Fee to keep drivers license: $3120 ($1040 a year for three years)
(Surcharge by Texas Department of Public Safety)
Factors that Affect DWI Penalties
Because each county in Texas administers its own court fees, these amounts will vary depending on where your DWI arrest takes place. Fines and bail may also fluctuate depending on any previous record the accused may have and the District Attorney’s recommendation.
If another person is hurt or killed due to the direct result of your drunk driving, expect additional DWI penalties and costs to incur. Expect to pay a fine of up to $10,000 even for a first offense. Intoxication assault and intoxication manslaughter are much more complicated cases than straightforward DWI cases. Therefore, in addition to stiffer fines, additional court costs and legal fees will accumulate.
Finding Help to Reduce the Fees
Finding the right Texas DWI lawyer to handle your case will be an important step in controlling the total costs of your DWI arrest. Thankfully, there are many competent and knowledgeable attorneys who specialize in DWI laws who are available to help you through this difficult period. Many offer free DWI consultations, so you can begin to understand the legal process and your rights without any up front legal fees.
Once hired, many will offer convenient payment plans where you can pay their fees over time. After your DWI arrest, passing through the legal steps swiftly will ease your financial burden. With the help of your attorney, a speedy DWI process can mean less time away from your job and a smaller amount of lost wages.
If you or your loved one who has been arrested for DWI is considering not hiring an attorney due to fear of the legal fees, you must consider the costs of a DWI conviction. If there is any chance that legal counsel will prevent a DWI conviction from striking your permanent record, the legal costs incurred will be overshadowed by the lifetime of benefits a clean record can provide.
Avoiding a DWI arrest is simple. Don’t drive a vehicle after drinking alcohol or using any drugs. A DWI conviction is costly and the DWI penalties you will bring upon yourself may be severe and will affect your life for years to come.