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What are the Potential Costs of a Texas DWI Conviction?

Being charged in Texas with driving while intoxicated carries the risk of severe penalties as well as heavy costs. Even a first DWI offense can mean serving jail time in addition to paying fines, court fees and other related costs. A defendant may also have to observe probation conditions, attend DWI driver education programs and perform community service. All of these consequences must be considered in mounting the strongest defense possible at the earliest stages of a DWI case.

The near-term monetary costs, even for a first DWI offense, are significant. A convicted offender might expect to pay the following charges:

  • Vehicle towing/impoundment — After a DWI stop, the police usually have the driver’s car towed and impounded. The fees that must be paid to get the vehicle returned normally range from $200 to $500.
  • Bail — If an arrested defendant cannot pay bail in cash, they will have to hire a bail bondsman. The bondsman’s fee is usually 10 percent of the total bond amount and is not refundable.
  • Fines — A DWI convict will have to pay fines that range from $3,000 to $10,000.
  • Court fees — Court administration fees usually range from $200 to 1,500.
  • Driver education program fees — These driver education programs cost between $70 and $200.
  • Probation fees — DWI convicts are put on probation and must pay fees ranging from $60 to $140 per month for at least six months.
  • Drug testing fees — Drug testing is often a condition of probation. Tests cost $50 each and can be as frequent as once a week.
  • Ignition interlock device fees — Even first time offenders are required to install a device that requires them to pass an alcohol breathalyzer test before the vehicle will start. This costs $150 per month plus the installation charge.
  • Licensing Fees — Driver’s license suspension hearing fees and license reinstatement fees can total $325.

Although attorneys’ fees must be added to the cost, they are essential to raising an effective defense that can help reduce the penal consequences and long-term effects of a DWI conviction. A conviction may lead to personal and financial problems after the court case is closed. A defendant may lose his or her job if driving is a job function, if a security clearance is required or if the DWI otherwise violates the employer’s policy. A DWI conviction may also be a precursor to divorce and in turn can cause problems in securing child custody or visitation. Finally, a DWI will surely cause the offender’s auto insurance premiums to increase dramatically.

Kevin L. Collins, P.C. is a full-service criminal defense law firm in San Antonio, Texas. Our attorneys are highly experienced in defending people with DWI charges and the related administrative matters. If you have been accused of DWI, feel free to contact us online or call 210-598-8629 for an initial consultation.

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