The cost of driving while impaired (DWI) in Texas is very high. A DWI arrest and conviction can be devastating and have life-long consequences. Your criminal record will show the DWI and your reputation will suffer. Further, it can have a huge negative impact on your finances.
DWI offenses in the state of Texas incur a variety of associated costs. There are a multitude of fines assessed such as the criminal fines stated in the law, vehicle towing costs, and court costs. Other DWI-associated expenses include bail, impairment education/intervention program fees, and more.
Criminal fines are imposed upon conviction for DWI in Texas. They must be paid by you as the convicted party, in accordance with state law. These fines are high as they include the restitution amount for the crime, as well as a state fine that can be added during sentencing. For first-time offenders, the financial penalty can climb into thousands of dollars; the cost increases for second- and third-time offenders, or for offenders convicted of intoxication assault or intoxication manslaughter in addition to the DWI.
Vehicle towing costs and impound/storage fees can vary across the state, but can add up to several hundreds of dollars. In the Austin, Texas area for example, the total cost after a DWI will be approximately $225.00 if you retrieve your vehicle on the same day that it is towed and impounded. The storage fees add up until you go get your vehicle, however, which can mean adding about $20.00 per day to the sum.
When it comes to costs, processing your DWI case in a Texas court can also impact your finances. These court costs are charged when there is a finding of guilt (or a guilty plea) in a case; you are responsible for paying the court costs if you are convicted of DWI. The court costs can range upwards into the thousands of dollars depending on the specific charges against you.
Bail piles onto the costs for a DWI as well. The amount of bail is determined by the court and is based on various elements, including blood alcohol level (BAC) at the time of the crime, past convictions for DWI or other crimes, etc. Posting bail usually costs thousands of dollars as well–to get out of jail, you can pay the full bail to the court or contract with a bail bondsman to pay bail on your behalf. (You will pay a percentage of the bail to the bondsman, who also gathers collateral.)
DWI education and/or intervention program fees are also often part of the costs you must cover if you are convicted. These programs can cost hundreds of dollars; sometimes you learn about and are required to have an interlock ignition device installed in your vehicle at an additional cost. An interlock ignition device has an initial installation cost that you must pay, plus a monthly fee until you are no longer required to have the device in your vehicle.
There are so many costs associated with DWI convictions. DWI is one of the most expensive crimes for someone to have on their record in Texas. That said, if you want to mitigate the financial costs, hiring a reputable DWI lawyer will likely help in the long run.
If you or a loved one find yourself in need of legal services from a competent, board certified DWI attorney in Austin, Texas or the surrounding area, reach out to the professional legal counsel at Erskine Law. Brian Erskine understands the financial cost of a DWI conviction, as well as the impact to your reputation, and will help you fight the charges. With years of successful experience with DWI cases, he can provide the skilled legal representation you need in your case. Contact Erskine Law for more information.