When someone gets arrested for DWI, they’re usually juggling a lot of worries, such as: “Am I going to go to jail?” or “What will this do to my reputation?” But once the dust settles and the next day begins, one concern begins to trump them all: “How much is this DWI going to cost me?”
Even without a conviction, a Texas DWI can cost you quite a lot of money. Learn the ins and outs of DWI fines in Texas and what you might expect to pay in your own case.
The initial costs of a Texas DWI arrest
In Texas, the costs of a DWI begin stacking up before you even step foot inside a courtroom. If you’ve been arrested for DWI, these are just a couple of the expenses you’ll need to handle, regardless of conviction:
- Impound lot fees: If you are not fortunate enough to have a sober, licensed passenger with you at the time of your arrest, your car will be towed and impounded at your expense. The minimum towing charge is $250 for a car up to 10,000 lbs, along with a storage fee that ranges from $5 to $20 per day.
- Bail: Unless you want to sit in jail and wait for trial (which we don’t recommend), you’ll need to post bail to leave jail. How much this costs depends on a variety of factors including your criminal background and the nature of the DWI accusation. If you are able to post the full bail amount from your personal funds, you will be refunded the full amount upon a successful court appearance. Otherwise, you can work with a bail bondsman who will cover the full amount in exchange for a fee.
Fines and fees for a DWI conviction in Texas
Fines for a first offense DWI in Texas
If convicted of DWI in Texas, your first offense will cost you a maximum of $2,000 in fines in addition to any court fees or costs associated with probation. If you are convicted of DWI with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above 0.15, the maximum fine for a first offense DWI increases to $4,000.
Fines for a second offense DWI in Texas
As you may expect, your second DWI carries harsher financial penalties than the first. When it comes to DWI in Texas, a second offense can cost you up to $4,000 in fines upon conviction. The fine amount increases if your charge is upgraded to a felony due to death or injury.
Fines for a third offense DWI in Texas
DWI in Texas automatically becomes a felony (third degree) on your third offense, and a conviction carries up to $10,000 in fines in addition to a much stronger possibility of jail time, with a possible sentence ranging from 180 days to two years.
The fines and punishments for a fourth DWI in Texas are essentially the same as those for a third DWI, although your risk of incurring the maximum fine or sentence is increased due to your status as a repeat offender.
Fines for intoxication assault and intoxication manslaughter
In Texas, intoxication assault and intoxication manslaughter are both felony offenses regardless of any previous DWIs or lack thereof. Being convicted of either intoxication assault or intoxication manslaughter in Texas can result in a maximum fine of $10,000 and risk of possible prison time. Time served varies from 2-10 years for intoxication assault and 2-20 years for intoxication manslaughter.
Texas DWI court fees and other DWI expenses
Fines, bail, and towing fees aren’t the only DWI expenses you need to worry about. If convicted of DWI or a related offense, you’ll be required to pay court fees. And how much are the court fees for a DWI in Texas? The typical range is between $200 and $1500, and this amount can vary depending on the length and severity of your case.
However, you are only required to pay court fees upon a successful conviction. A ‘Not Guilty’ verdict or a dismissed case should not result in further court fees. With that said, if you are convicted, the terms of your sentencing (such as DWI probation or license suspension)can come with their own sets of fees.
In addition to the community service, ignition interlock, curfew and other penalties, you may be required to make payments of restitution to any victims involved in your DWI in addition to any fees associated with a court-ordered education program.
How can you avoid the fines and fees?
If you’ve been charged with a DWI in Houston, your best chance to avoid paying thousands of dollars in fees is to work with an aggressive, experienced DWI defense attorney. As a recognized Super Lawyer, Mark is uniquely qualified to try even the most challenging DWI cases and to ensure that his client’s rights are protected in court.
Discover what quality representation can do for you. Call (713) 864-9000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today!