The financial burden of being arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas is significant. The various costs of a DWI in Texas include fines, penalties, insurance increases, surcharges, license reinstatement fees and court costs. These fines and costs also increase with the number of convictions you incur for the same offense. The total cost of a DWI in Texas can reach as high as $15,000 or more.
It’s important to remember that if you are arrested for DWI, hiring a defense lawyer, despite being a significant expense, will save you a significant amount of money in the long run, even if you are convicted. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some specific DWI fines and costs.
What Are DWI Surcharges?
Since September 1, 2003, the Texas Driver Responsibility Program allows additional surcharges (or “administration fees”) to be charged to drivers convicted of DWI. First time convicted DWI offenders are required to pay $1,000 per year for three years to this program. If when you are arrested your blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeded .16, or double the intoxicated limit, even if it is your first offense, you will be charged $2,000 per year for three years. These surcharges increase if there are also prior convictions. Other surcharges includes $250 annually for three years if you are caught driving before your license is reinstated and an additional $250 for three years if you are caught driving without insurance.
Additional DWI Costs
Texas law requires that anyone arrested of DWI will have their license immediately suspended. A temporary license will be granted that expires within 15 days. During this period, the person accused of the DWI must attend a hearing to see if they can maintain their driving privileges, and there are costs associated with this type of hearing.
People accused of DWI should also understand that DWI costs do not stop with court costs and associated fines. There will also be a significant increase in their car insurance rates, and many insurers will require the driver to carry an additional rider on their policy. If you lose your right to drive, you will also have costs associated with public transportation in order to get to work and run errands.
Houston DWI Defense Lawyers
If you are facing a DWI charge, contact the Houston DWI attorneys at Thiessen Law Firm to request a free consultation. Given the amount of fines you can expect to pay if convicted of a DWI, it is in your best interest to hire a qualified DWI defense attorney who will work to reduce or overturn the charge. You can reach us by calling (713) 864-9000 or by filling out our online form.