Many people do not realize until it is too late how much it will cost them if they get a DWI in Texas. The fine that the judge imposes is just the beginning of the drain on your wallet. You will also have to pay court costs and attorney fees. If the judge orders driver education, you will have that expense as well.
Also, your insurance premiums will skyrocket. It can take years for your automobile insurance costs to come down. You might have to use an ignition interlock device that requires you to take a built-in breathalyzer test every time you drive, as the Texas Department of Public Safety describes. Those devices are not free.
With all of these expenses, plus the damage that a criminal conviction does to your career and reputation, it is vitally important to try to avoid a DWI conviction. A Texas DWI lawyer might be able to help you get a better outcome.
Statutory Fines for DWI in Texas
The Texas Department of Transportation explains specify a range of fines for DWI, depending on multiple factors in your case. Here are some examples:
- You can get a fine of up to $500 for having an open container in a vehicle, whether you are the driver or a passenger. If several people in your car have open containers, the cost could add up to $2,000 or more.
- The first DWI conviction can result in a fine of up to $2,000. You can go to jail for a period from three to 180 days, which will cost you in lost income. You can lose your driver’s license for up to a year. The state will charge you fees to reinstate your license. You will also have to pay a fee of $1,000 or $2,000 every year for the next three years to retain your driver’s license.
- For a second DWI conviction, the statutory fine can be up to $4,000. You can spend from a month to a year in jail, which will mean that you are not earning a paycheck. You can lose your driver’s license for up to two years and have to pay reinstatement fees. For the next three years, you will have to pay $1,000, $1,500, or $2,000 every year to keep your license.
- A third DWI conviction can result in a fine of up to $10,000. Your prison sentence can be two to 10 years, which is a massive amount of lost wages. You will continue to suffer financial losses for the rest of your working life from low-paying jobs. You can lose your driver’s license for up to two years and have to pay reinstatement costs and annual fees for three years to keep your license.
- Texas law considers driving while intoxicated as child endangerment if you have a passenger under the age of 15 in your vehicle. In this situation, you can get hit with a fine of $10,000. You can lose your license for up to 180 days. Also, you will lose significant income if the judge sentences you to time in the state jail, which can be for up to two years.
Additional Costs of a DWI in Texas
You will have more financial losses after a DWI in addition to statutory fines, lost wages, driver’s license reinstatement fees, and annual fees to keep your license. Every case is different, but here are some of the additional costs of getting convicted of a DWI in Texas:
- Court costs. Courts assess costs to pay for their overhead. The costs vary by court, but you might have to pay a couple of hundred dollars to the court.
- Administrative process. A DWI goes through two separate procedures: administrative and judicial. The state has an administrative process to suspend or revoke your driver’s license. The judicial process is the court case. The state will charge you fees and costs.
- Your car insurance premiums will go through the roof after a DWI conviction. The increased premiums will stay high for years. Your current insurance company might cancel your policy, forcing you to buy insurance from another company at higher rates.
- Attorney fees can be one of the highest costs of getting charged with a DWI, but with so much at stake, you should try your hardest to avoid getting a conviction. A DWI lawyer can help prepare a defense for you and navigate through the court case and administrative procedures.
- The judge might order you to use an ignition interlock device (IID). You will have to pay for installation and monthly charges, which can add up to $1,000 to $2,000 a year.
- Sometimes people have to attend driver education courses or addiction treatment as part of the judgment for a DWI conviction. These programs can cost from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
Call the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg today at (214) 696-9253 to get started on rebuilding your life and fighting your DWI charges.
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