How Much Is Bail for a DWI in Texas?
Getting a DWI conviction can be an overwhelming experience for the person involved, especially if the DWI charges aren't severe. In some cases, getting arrested for a DWI can lead to spending some jail time.
While the best way to avoid spending getting a criminal history and avoid a DWI arrest would be not to drive while consuming illicit substances, the Texas state offers a bail bond system, which allows the driver to get home right away without having to spend time in jail.
However, it's important to note that not all DWI cases are the same, and not all people may be able to post bail. Even if the person is able to post bail, the bail amount itself may vary depending on the types of DWI charges. Anyone who experienced a DWI arrest recently must contact a law firm immediately to get the legal advice they may need for these cases.
Still, there are some Texas counties that offer a predetermined bail schedule, which may make it easier for both lawyers and drivers to determine how much they have to pay. The following article discusses how much the bail amounts for a DWI conviction are, as well as other fees that drivers must keep in mind at the time of experiencing DWI arrests.
What Is a DWI Conviction?
A DWI is known as 'Driving While Intoxicated' or 'Driving While Impaired.' Here, the arresting officer has the legal right to arrest someone if they suspect they've been driving with severe amounts of alcohol in their system.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, someone can be legally intoxicated if their blood-alcohol concentration levels are at 0.08% or higher. Texas drivers typically don't measure how much they're drinking or consuming while driving, which is why it's vital for them to avoid driving in these circumstances.
In case the police officer has reason to believe that the person is, indeed, intoxicated, they may press charges. Getting a DWI sentence may involve a wide range of penalties, such as losing the driver's license, jail time, considerable fines, and more.
What Does a Police Officer Do to Test for BAC Levels?
There are several tests a police officer can conduct before deciding to press a DWI charge against the driver. First, the officer may apply field sobriety tests, which measure the person's ability to keep balance, coordination, and driving skills at the moment.
In case the person fails one or more of these field sobriety tests, the officer may request additional testing, specifically breath tests and blood tests, to measure blood alcohol concentration.
Not all these tests are 100% accurate all the time, and the officer must ensure they're providing these tests according to Texas law guidelines. Otherwise, a defense attorney may be able to render those tests useless in court.
Why Should People Avoid DWI Charges?
Logically, no one wants to get arrested, pay DWI fines, or lose their license. Still, there are some people in Texas that don't know the full extent of the consequences of getting arrested for a DWI.
Yes, some drivers may be able to pay off the set bail amount and call it a day, but that still affects the person's record. If someone gets a DWI conviction, for example, they may see their car insurance premiums increase; depending on the case, these premiums may increase up to 87%, which may translate to approximately $1,000 per year.
On the other hand, past DWI convictions can lead to the person losing their driver's license temporarily or permanently. In these cases, if the driver wants to get their license reinstated, they may need to get more insurance to meet the minimum liability coverage guidelines.
Moreover, having DWI convictions on their record may often affect people professionally speaking. If the person works in the transportation sector, for example, having a DWI charge in their record could greatly affect their chances of getting hired by a company or keeping their current job. They would also have to commit to other forms of punishment such as hours of community service for DUI.
It may seem obvious for most people, but it's vital for everyone to drive safely and according to the statal and national guidelines.
How Does the Bail Process Work in Texas?
Depending on the case, the person may request a bail hearing prior to requesting a plea arrangement (if needed). In case the person is convicted, they must go to trial and pay 'Court Appearance Costs.' Overall, court costs vary, but in the case of court appearance cases, the costs can go from $200 up to $1,500.
Talking about the bail cost in general. It's challenging to make an accurate prediction of what the cost is going to be since the criminal system in Texas processes thousands of DWI cases per year. Thankfully, there are a few factors that a judge may take into account to determine what the DWI crime 'fees' are.
Some of these factors include the following:
Whether the person has past DWI convictions
Whether the person accepted or refused to take the breath or blood test
If there are any previous convictions (not necessarily DWI-related) that may deem the person as someone violent or dangerous when released
Whether the person committed another crime while intoxicated, such as assault or manslaughter
Overall, first-time DWI offenders can expect to pay from $200 to $1,000 in bail only. However, that amount may only go higher considering all the other factors surrounding DWI convictions.
Who Is Allowed to Post Bail?
In Texas, there are three general methods the person can consider for posting bail.
The first method involves contacting a family member or friend to post the entire bail on their behalf. However, the problem with this method is that the person still needs to hire a bail bond agent to post bail on behalf of those people.
If the person hires a reputable attorney to take their case, they may ask the attorney to post the personal bond on their behalf. It's vital to note that a person can't use a different attorney for posting the personal bond and the trials.
The attorney responsible for posting the bail bond must also be the one responsible for representing the person in any court hearings or trials.
Overall, the best method people can use regarding bail bonds is hiring a Bail Bondsman or a Bail Bond Company. Here, the bondsman can post bail even if the person isn't capable of paying their bail. In these cases, the bondsman charges a fee for the job, which is typically about 10% or more of the total bond amount. Moreover, the person who hires a bondsman must also promise to attend all court hearing dates.
Several jailhouses in Texas offer people the ability to contact a local bail bond company, so this shouldn't be a problem for anyone.
Are There Any Other Fees Following a DWI In Texas?
Unfortunately, bail isn't the only thing people are supposed to pay off when they get a DWI conviction. Overall, there are a lot of other fees the person charged with a DWI may be responsible for paying, even if the criminal charges are not that severe.
This section is going to cover some of these fees that may follow a conviction of this kind.
As mentioned at the beginning of this page, whether it's a DWI defense for a first, second, or third-time offense, everyone must hire a lawyer that can help them understand their legal rights, their case's possible outcomes, and other important legal factors following a case.
Logically, the person must pay for particular attorney fees, which may vary depending on the case. Some lawyers, for example, charge hourly rates instead of flat fees. Anyone interested in hiring a lawyer must ask what their payment method is going to consist of before choosing to work with them.
Moreover, if the person is working with a greatly-experienced lawyer, they may expect to pay a bit more for their services. On the other hand, the more complex the case gets, the more likely a lawyer is of charging more for their services.
Finally, the cost of the case may vary significantly if the case goes to trial. Some lawyers double their rate if this happens, so that's another vital thing the person must discuss with their lawyer before hiring them.
Typically, simple cases may range from $1,000 to $5,000, whereas cases that go to trial may cost even more than $10,000.
As mentioned before, court appearance costs may range from $200 and $1,500. However, there are other court-imposed fees to consider in DWI cases. Someone with a first offense, for example, may expect to pay up to a $2,000 court fine, whereas other severe cases may increase the rate up to $10,000.
Some of the things that can affect the amount of the fine include whether it's a first, second, or third offense, and if the person committed any additional crime, such as assault or manslaughter.
Also known as an 'Administrative License Revocation Hearing,' people may request ALR hearings if they want to save their license. People may request this hearing within 15 days to get arrested and must pay a process server, which starts at $200. Moreover, if the arresting officers appear in court, the person may also have to pay witness fees that may start at $100 per officer.
Driver's License Surcharge
People who get a DWI are likely to get their license suspended. In these cases, they must pay an annual surcharge for at least three years.
A first-time offender may expect to pay $3,000 in total. Second-time offenders may pay $4,500, and third-time offenders (or those who got convicted with BAC levels of 0.15% or more) may pay a total of $6,000 following their conviction.
Unfortunately, anyone with a DWI conviction must go on probation. First-time offenders may expect a minimum probation time of six months, and that period may increase the worse the conviction is. It's vital to note that anyone with a conviction must pay monthly probation fees, which may range from $60 to $100.
Alcohol Education Programs
Depending on the case, the person may be requested to attend one or more Alcohol Education Programs. These programs typically go for $70 and last 12 hours. However, those with more than one DWI conviction may expect to go through a DWI Intervention Program, which is a 30-hour-long course that costs $185.
Interlock Ignition Switch
A person with more than two convictions may get requested to install an ignition switch on their car. These devices work as a breathalyzer that may prevent the car from starting if the person is intoxicated. Installing this device may cost from $70 and $100 per month.
Car Impound Costs
Impound costs may start at $20, which isn't that much considering the rest of the fees the person may have to pay. However, some impound lots can charge additional money per day; that amount can range from $5 to $20 extra per day.
Car Towing Costs
Logically, the arresting officer may choose to tow the car if they suspect the person of a DWI. Depending on the vehicle's size, the towing costs may vary from $250 to $450.
What Is an SR-22?
Anyone who got their license suspended due to a DWI must get an SR-22 to prove financial liability to the state of Texas. This document is required following a conviction for at least two years, although that period may get extended to up to five years if the conviction is more severe.
People who got involved in a DWI case must present their SR-22 to the authorities if they don't want to lose their driver's license again. In case the person lets their SR-22 'expire,' the Texas Department of Public Safety may choose to suspend the person's license immediately.
The SR-22 form may cost from $15 to $25, although the true cost of this insurance document may increase considerably depending on the conviction.
Hiring the Right Attorney for a DWI Conviction in Texas | Sparks Law Firm
It's not hard to see that getting convicted for a DWI involves a lot more money than the bail money. In essence, calculating the bail amount may vary depending on the case, who the person is working with, and other factors. The Fort Worth TX DUI lawyers at Sparks Law Firm can help anyone with a DWI conviction understand all their options, as well as how much their bail is going to be. The experience and skills of a lawyer also affect how long a DUI case takes in Texas. If there's anyone who needs more information on this matter, they should call this law firm promptly.