When facing a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge, you may be wondering, “how much does a DWI cost in Texas in 2021?” Depending on the specifics of your charge, court fees, fines, lawyer fees, etc. the costs can add up quickly, and it’s important to know what to expect. At a minimum, you can expect to pay a criminal fine of up to $2,000 if convicted of a first-offense DWI and up to $10,000 for a third offense. That said, the cost of a DWI charge in Texas starts adding up the second you’re placed under arrest — enlisting the help of an expert DWI defense attorney early can help you keep the impact to a minimum.
Mark Thiessen, founding attorney of Thiessen Law Firm, is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Board Certified in DWI Defense Law by the National College for DUI Defense, has been voted a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by The National Trial Lawyers Association, and voted a Texas Super Lawyer by Thompson Reuters.
To fully understand the costs of a DWI in Texas, Mark is here to walk you through the types of costs that might be associated with a DWI conviction.
What is a DWI?
So, what is a DWI? In Texas, you will face a DWI charge when you’re caught driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the legal alcohol limit of 0.08%. Depending on your body, it can only take as few as one to two drinks to reach this BAC.
The fine amount of up to $2,000 is associated with first-time offenders who had a BAC between 0.08% and 0.15%.
If you are caught with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of over 0.15% or are being charged with intoxication manslaughter or assault, then you will likely be facing steeper penalties and criminal fines up to $10,000 depending on your case.
The Cost of a DWI in Texas
How much does a DWI ticket cost in Texas? The amount of criminal fines you’ll have to pay will depend on whether there are prior offenses, driver age, aggravating factors, whether a child under the age of 15 was in the car, and whether anyone was hurt.
If convicted, you can expect to pay a criminal fine of at least:
- DWI First offense: up to $2,000
- DWI Second offense: up to $4,000
- DWI Third offense: up to $10,000
- DWI with a child passenger: up to $10,000
- Intoxication assault or intoxication manslaughter Texas: up to $10,000
It’s important to keep in mind that these fines are the maximum criminal fines for a conviction for each offense although they are not the minimum, as you may be charged additional fines and fees, including the driver’s license surcharges levied by the Texas Department of transportation:
- First offense DWI: $1,000 annual fee for three years, $3,000 total
- Second offense DWI: $1,500 annual fee for three years, $4,500 total
- DWI with 0.15 BAC or higher: $2,000 annual fee for three years, $6,000 total
Types of additional DWI costs
Other potential costs to consider for a drunk driving offense in Texas can include:
- Fines, surcharges, court costs, and lawyer fees
- Jail time or prison sentences, perhaps even for a first offense
- Bail bonds
- Suspension of your driver’s license
- License reinstatement fees
- SCRAM device (ankle monitor) costs
- Community service
- Intervention and alcohol education programs for drunk driving
- SR-22 costs
- More costly auto insurance
- Vehicle impound and towing fees
Being convicted or even accused of a DWI is nothing to take lightly. The penalties are at an all-time high and can cost you thousands of dollars. If you’ve been charged with a DWI in Texas, don’t wait to reach out to Thiessen Law Firm.
Our experienced DWI attorneys will work tirelessly to help you navigate the legal system, save your license, and reduce or remove penalties. We’re here to fight for your rights and your reputation.
FAQs about Texas DWI penalties and DWI cost
How much does a first-time DWI cost in Texas?
It’s hard to give a set number for how much a DWI in Texas first offense will cost in total as it depends on your case, penalties, lawyer fees, etc. That said, the cost of being convicted of a first offense DWI has a maximum fine of $2,000 plus any additional fees or penalties.
Can you get a DWI charge reduced in Texas?
With an aggressive DWI attorney on your side, it is possible to get a DWI charge reduced. Your attorney can negotiate for lesser charges, penalties, and may even be able to get your case dismissed entirely.
Is jail time mandatory for 1st DWI in Texas?
If you’re facing a DWI first offense in Texas, you could spend between 3 days and 180 days in jail. Other criminal penalties for a first offense DWI include a fine of up to $2,000, license suspension for up to 2 years, DWI intervention or education program, possible ignition interlock device, and community service. The severity of your punishments will depend on the judge’s jurisdiction.
Charged with a DWI in Texas? Thiessen Law Firm should be your first call.
The total cost for a DWI including direct and indirect costs can add up, costing you anywhere from $2,000 to well over $20,000. While hiring a lawyer may feel like yet another expense, hiring a DWI lawyer can help you fight your charges and avoid the indirect financial burden of living with a DWI charge on your record.
When you need a dedicated, aggressive Houston DWI lawyer, call Thiessen Law Firm. We know how to beat a DWI. We have hundreds of DWI victories and are experts in protecting DWI offenders so that their penalties are reduced to the bare minimum.
Mark Thiessen is a DWI specialist who knows how to beat complex DWI charges at trial and possesses credentials few other DWI attorneys — in Texas or across the nation — can match.
Call Thiessen Law Firm at 713-864-9000 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation today.
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