The state of Texas takes driving while intoxicated seriously. In fact, it’s the 13th strictest state in the nation. Getting in DWI in Texas will result in license suspensions, possible jail time, and some pretty significant fines.
Exactly how much does a DWI cost in Texas? Read on to learn more.
First things first, let’s review how you get a DWI in Texas in the first place. According to Texas law, you can get a DWI if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or less. If you’re impaired from drinking alcohol or doing drugs, you can also be charged, regardless of your actual BAC.
If you’re charged with a DWI in Texas, you’re in for a long struggle. Let’s take a look at the financial and non-financial costs you’ll face.
The answer to the question “How much does a DWI cost in Texas?” isn’t a simple one. You see, it depends on a number of factors including whether or not there was a child in the car and whether it was your first offense. There are also other variables that can impact your final cost.
If you’ve been charged with DWI for the first time, you’re likely to get some leniency from the courts. This is particularly true if the details surrounding your case were fairly innocent and if you have a good defense attorney on your side.
Here’s a summary of the most common costs associated with a DWI, and their estimated costs. Note that these amounts will vary depending on a variety of factors.
Add these all up, and you’re looking at a possible price tag of over $17,000!
First time DWI convictions come with a fine of up to $2,000 and anywhere between 3 and 180 days in jail. You’ll lose your driver’s license for up to a year and will have to pay an annual fee $1,000 per year for three years if you want to maintain your driver’s license. Note that if your BAC is 0.15% or higher, this fee increases to $2,000 per year, for a total of $6,000.
If you have a child under 15 in the car with you when you’re arrested, your fines and punishment increase significantly. Now you’re looking at a fine of up to $10,000, up to two years in jail, and a suspension of your driver’s license for 180 days.
If you’re arrested for DWI a second or third time, penalties get far stricter. For your second offense, you’ll face a fine of up to $4,000 and 30 days to one year in jail. You’ll also lose your driver’s license for up to two years. You’ll have to pay a driver’s license surcharge of $1,500 per year for three years to maintain your license ($2,000 for a BAC of over 0.15%).
A third DWI carries penalties of a $10,000 fine and two to ten years in prison. You’ll also likely lose your driver’s license for two years and have to pay a surcharge of $2,000 per year for three years.
Second and third DWI charges also mandate the use of an ignition interlock. This device contains a mini-breathalyzer that prevents your car from starting if you’ve been drinking. You are responsible for covering the costs of renting this device.
In addition to the high financial costs, a DWI in Texas will also create many non-financial burdens. If you’re charged and convicted of a DWI, you could lose your job. This is particularly true if you need a CDL license or your job requires driving. It can also impact you if you’re a pilot, need a license to practice medicine, or are in the education field.
Some companies have ethics clauses in their handbook that would require automatic firing for a DWI conviction. You could also lose your job simply for missing work due to being in jail. Since a DWI is part of your public record, you’ll likely also have difficulty finding a new job.
Even if you’re lucky enough to keep your job, you’ll likely lose out on work due to serving jail time, dealing with multiple court procedures, and completing community service hours. If you lose your driver’s license, you’ll also need to factor in the cost of transportation to work or school and to any required meetings, court appearances, and to the location of your community service.
If you’re convicted of a DWI, particularly if there is a child in the car, this will also have a serious negative impact on any child custody proceedings.
It’s always better to think long and hard before getting behind the wheel after you’ve been drinking. If you’re facing DWI charges, your next best bet is to find the best possible attorney to help you craft an effective defense and minimize the damage as much as possible.
Now that you know the answer to the question: “How much does a DWI cost in Texas,” it’s time to start focusing on what’s really important – your defense. Without proper representation, your chances of beating a DWI charge are slim to none.
Don’t throw your life away! You can’t undo the past, but you can make smart decisions to help you get your life back and move forward.
You need a professional to listen to the details of your case and help you decide on your best course of action. Call HCG Law at 210-222-9132 to schedule an appointment or contact us by completing our online form and we’ll reach out to you.