One of the first things you will be faced with after being booked for a DWI in Texas is securing bail money in order to be released from custody, but how much is bail for a DWI in Texas? How much does a first-time DWI cost in Texas? How much DWI bail will you be required to pay?

The winning Houston DWI lawyers at Thiessen Law Firm are here to go over the ins and outs of bail and bond, as well as give you an idea of the amount you will actually be required to fork over for your freedom.

If you or a loved one has been arrested on suspicion of DWI in Texas, call the best DWI lawyers Houston has to offer at Thiessen Law Firm at (713) 864-9000 and ask them to fight for your freedom. 

What’s the difference between bond and bail for DWI?

Before jumping into possible bail amounts for DWI offenses in Texas, it is important to distinguish between bail and bond, two terms that are often (erroneously) used interchangeably, but have very different meanings. 

What is bail?

Bail refers to the monetary amount set by the court to secure a defendant’s temporary release from custody while they await trial. For the court, the payment of bail serves as a guarantee that the defendant will appear in court. Bail is returned to the defendant or their family once the case has concluded and the defendant has reliably appeared in court. 

DWI bail amounts are typically set during arraignment and are decided based on a number of factors, including things like the severity of the crime, the defendant’s criminal history, and the likelihood that the defendant will flee.

What is a bond?

Bond, however, refers to the pledge that you make to the bonding company for the service of paying your bail. Bail can be expensive, and defendants rarely have that kind of money just lying around. This is often where a bonding company or a bondsman comes into play, offering to pay the entirety of your bail for a percentage of the cost (usually 10% or 15% of total bail) upfront. 

Using a bonding company will incur fees that you would not otherwise pay because bail amounts (either partial or whole) are often returned at the end of criminal cases — but if a bonding company posts your bail, you will not get that bond payment back. 

What are the average DWI bail amounts in Texas?

What is the average bail for a first time DWI? How much is bail for a 2nd DWI in Texas? Because previous criminal history and severity of crime are the main determinants for DWI bail amounts in Texas, bail for a DWI in Texas first offense will be much lower than bail for repeat or felony DWI.

Bail for a DWI first offense in Texas is generally in the high hundreds to the low thousands, while bail for a 2nd DWI can see that number go up in the mid to high thousands. Bail amounts for felony DWI charges generally start at $10,000, but can go much higher — for instance, charges for intoxication manslaughter can see bail amounts from $50,000 to $100,000, depending on the circumstances. 

What are the types of bonds in Texas?

There are a few types of bond, which means that there are a few ways in which defendants can post bond in Texas, including:

  • Attorney bonds, which essentially entail your attorney acting as a bondsman. In this situation, an attorney who posts your bond will be automatically assigned to your defense. 
  • Personal Recognizance bonds are sometimes offered when a person doesn’t have the financial resources to post bail, or when the court believes that they need to monitor someone’s behavior while they await trial. PR bonds involve a delayed release from jail and a lot of extra cooperation on the part of the defendant. 
  • Property bonds are uncommon, but allow a person to put up property as collateral for release. 
  • Cash bonds can be considered your standard bond. You pay the entire bail amount in cash, and it is returned (minus fees) at the end of your case, regardless of the outcome. 
  • Surety bonds are bonds that are paid through a bail bondsman or bail bond company. 

Surety bonds are the most common type of bond posted in Texas. Most bail bond companies charge 10% of the total bond amount as the upfront fee, but there is no hard and fast rule in place, and bond companies can attempt to charge whatever they like. 

Keep in mind that you will only get your bail money back if you post cash bail, otherwise your bail will not be returned at the end of a case. 

How long is jail time for DWI in Texas? How much are court fees in Texas for DWI?

There is a big difference in DWI Penalties for a DWI first offense in Texas and penalties for repeat or felony DWI. The charges, possible jail sentence, and maximum fines for common DWI charges in Texas are as follows. 

OffenseChargeJail TimeMaximum Fine
First Offense DWIClass B Misdemeanor3 – 180 days$2,000
Second Offense DWIClass A Misdemeanor30 days – 1 year$4,000
Third or Fourth DWI3rd Degree Felony2 – 10 years$10,000
DWI w/ a Child PassengerState Jail Felony180 days – 2 years$10,000
Intoxication ManslaughterSecond Degree Felony2 – 20 years$10,000

Other than steep court fees, you will be required to pay DPS surcharges to the tune of anywhere between $3,000 and $6,000 if you are convicted. DWI costs in Texas are however not entirely accounted for in fees paid and time served. The real cost of a DWI often lies in damage done to your reputation, your professional life, and your family.

Don’t be convicted. It’s not over yet, you can still hire a DWI lawyer who actually wins DWI cases, like Mark Thiessen of Thiessen Law Firm, to protect your freedom. 

Going to court for DWI? Make sure you have a trial attorney in your corner.

So, how much is bail for a DWI in Texas? Unfortunately, bail for DWI in Texas is totally out of your control and can land anywhere from $100 to $100,000, depending on the details of your case.

What you can control is who you hire to represent you. Because your lawyer will have high amounts of influence over what happens to your case when you go to trial, hiring a DWI Specialist is likely the best tactic you have available. 

Mark Thiessen is a trial lawyer who wins DWI cases. He is also the only lawyer in America who is 3x board certified in: 

  • Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization
  • DUI Defense by the National College for DUI Defense as approved through the American Bar Association
  • DUI Law by the DUI Defense Lawyers Association
  • Board Certified Advocate in Criminal Trial Law by the NBTA Foundation

If you have a DWI case you can’t lose, you need to call Thiessen Law Firm at (713) 864-9000 or contact us online today for a case evaluation. 

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Mark Thiessen is an aggressive trial lawyer best known for his devotion to justice for his clients and high rank as a DWI Super Lawyer in Texas.