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  • Writer's pictureJustin Sparks

How Much Does a DWI Cost in Texas in 2022? | What To Expect

Being arrested for DWI in Texas is a serious offense that can lead to jail time and a lot of costs that most defendants charged with drunk driving offenses do not expect to pay. From the moment the DWI arrest takes place, it can seem as if you are constantly having to go into your pocket to pay for one thing or another.

While the best thing you can do for yourself is to avoid DWI convictions entirely, it is not always possible.

There are times, such as during holidays or family gatherings, when you might end up drinking too much until go over the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Suddenly, you find yourself getting pulled over and having to deal with the cost of a DWI conviction.

It is, therefore, necessary to know how much you should expect to fork out before you can safely put your DWI charges behind you. A DWI lawyer is the best source of information regarding the costs of a DWI conviction and the relevant penalties.

At Sparks Law Firm, our team of super lawyers not only provides top-tier DWI defense services but also all the advice you need to be mentally and financially ready to face your DWI charge.

Wondering "How much does a DWI cost in Texas?" Call us at (817) 381- 7846 for a free consultation that will answer all your questions.

How Much Can You Expect To Pay?

How Much Can You Expect To Pay?

Have you been pulled over and has your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) been found to be over the legal limit? Now is the time to start making better decisions because between the DWI fines and other unexpected fees offenders can find themselves weighed down by expenses.

By now you should have realized that you need a DWI defense lawyer by your side if you are to have any hope of walking away from this with your criminal record and bank balance intact. The following are some of the fees that you should expect to pay:

Lawyer Fees

Of all the fees you will pay for various DWI costs, the cost of hiring a good lawyer is the most varied. There is also no correlation between the lawyer fees and the quality of legal representation you will receive. Even if you pay very high lawyer fees, jail time is still a possibility.

However, due to the nature of the DWI charge and the possibility of being locked up, a lot of people end up paying a lot more to their DWI attorney than they should. It is important to consider the fee structure that the DWI lawyer uses. Some charge an hourly rate while others prefer a flat fee.

If any aggravating factors are likely to cause the DWI case to drag on for some time, then a flat fee may be the way to go because paying by the hour for months on end is one way to quickly exhaust your funds.

The top-rated DWI attorneys in Fort Worth with a better reputation with cases of DWI in Texas are likely to charge a lot more fees than other lawyers. However, even a more affordable and less experienced attorney may be able to do the job just as well, although there is a high risk of being convicted of DWI.

You also need to consider the particulars of the DWI crime you are being charged with and any prior DWI offenses you may have hanging over you. DWI laws are harsh in such situations, something which a defense lawyer will consider when setting their rate.

To give you a rough idea of the lawyer fees, you should be prepared to pay between $1,000 and $5,000 for a typical case that is settled without a trial and up to $10,000 if it goes to trial. Find out how many DUI cases go to trial.

Court Costs

Any court fees that are associated with the case are passed on to the defendant, which is yet another reason to settle the matter before going to trial. Court costs typically cover all court proceedings, such as appearing before a judge and the bail hearing before having the case heard in court.

Court costs vary depending on the State you are in and the nature of the criminal charges you are facing. However, for most drunk driving offenses you will likely be asked to pay fees of around $200 to $1,500.

Criminal Penalties for a DWI Conviction

Considered a felony, DWI penalties can be very high, especially in DWI cases where prior offenses are a factor. However, a good DWI lawyer can negotiate with the district attorney and have you released with community service as your punishment but such penalties usually apply to a first-time DWI offender only.

Repeat offenders can expect very hefty DWI costs on top of the expected jail time. If convicted of DWI in Texas, the following punishments and criminal fines can be expected:

First Offense DWI Conviction

  • Jail time of between 3 and 180 days

  • $2,000 fine

  • Suspension of driver’s license for up to two years (learn about how to get a restricted license after a DUI)

  • A $2,000 annual surcharge throughout three years if you wish to keep your driver's license

  • Installation of an ignition interlock device in your car, which will prevent you from operating it if you fail your BAC breath test. The installation fee for this is usually $85

  • Cost of a DWI intervention program

Second Offense DWI Conviction

  • Jail time of between one month and one year

  • $4,000 fine

  • Suspension of driver’s license for up to two years

  • A $2,000 annual surcharge for three years to allow you to keep your driver's license

  • Installation of an ignition interlock device in your car to manage when you are allowed to drive it

  • DWI educational programs

Third DWI Offense

  • A sentence of two years to 10 years in State prison

  • $10,000 fine

  • Suspension of driver’s license for up to two years

  • A $2,000 annual surcharge throughout three years if you wish to keep your driver's license

  • Installation of an $85 interlock device in your car, which will prevent you from operating it if you fail your BAC breath test

  • DWI intervention programs

Driver's License Suspension Costs

Not only is it very inconvenient to have your driver's license suspended, but you may also face significant administrative penalties, especially for repeat DWI offenders. Unless you are ready to serve the entire period of suspension of your driver's license without being allowed to drive, you should pay the following administrative license revocation fees as surcharges:

  • A $1,000 yearly fee for first-offense DWI offenders (fees charged for three years)

  • Subsequent offenders are charged a $1,500 annual fee for three years

  • When convicted of driving while intoxicated with a BAC of more than 0.15, the penalty is a $2,000 yearly fee

Texas Department Probation and Alcohol Education Program Fees

An initial DWI charge does not usually come with any jail time unless it is accompanied by other serious charges such as reckless driving or endangering a minor. However, a probation period is mandatory, which usually lasts for six months. During this time, offenders are required to pay a monthly fee of up to $100.

The judge may also order the offender to attend an alcohol education program which is a 12-hour course that costs $70. Repeat offenders will be ordered to attend the more rigorous DWI intervention program, which is a $185 30-hour class.

Motor Vehicle Insurance Costs

Car insurance premiums increase significantly after a driver's license suspension. The minimum liability coverage for Texas drivers typically rises to:

  • $30,000 to cover bodily injury or death of one person in a vehicle crash

  • $60,000 which covers bodily injury or death of multiple victims in the motor accident

  • $25,000 to pay for property damage caused by the car crash

DWI Bail Cost of a DWI Offense

The bail bond system is available for those charged with class C misdemeanor charges, such as the majority of Texas DWI cases. You or your family member can post bail on your behalf which will allow you to be released from jail until the time of your next court appearance. Alternatively, a bail bonding agency can post bail for the defendant.

However, if there are other aggravating factors associated with the DWI offense, such as intoxication manslaughter, bail may be denied. Failure to appear on the date of your court appearances is also an (offense bail bonds suspension).

The amount of bail required depends on a variety of factors in each particular DWI offense, but typically costs for a first-offense DWI offender range from $200 to $1,000.

Ignition Interlock Device Switch Fees

Repeat offenders within five years will be forced to incur further indirect costs when they install an ignition interlock device switch in their vehicles to prevent them from driving while intoxicated. This device typically costs around $85 and being caught by law enforcement officials without it in your car will result in immediate arrest.

Sparks Law Firm Can Help!

Sparks Law Firm Can Help!

The maximum fines that you end up paying, as well as other associated fees, depends on the law firm you choose. At Sparks Law Firm, our reputation for winning cases and having an excellent attorney-client relationship speaks for itself.

Get the right law firm on your side today and you could avoid paying the maximum fine and walk away with nothing more than community service and a warning. Call us today for a free consultation!


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