There are many reasons to avoid driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, including the high financial costs associated with DWI charges and convictions. When most people think of DWI penalties and consequences, they think of license suspensions and criminal records. Defendants are often surprised by the significant monetary consequences of DWI convictions.
Costs related to a DWI in Texas vary, depending on the unique circumstances of your case. Defense attorneys at Vinas & Graham, PLLC, know that even at the lower end of the expense scale, DWIs are financially burdensome. See below for a breakdown of costs associated with DWI charges and convictions in Texas.
Fines And Fees
If you are convicted of a DWI, you will usually have fines and fees to pay. You could be ordered to pay fines of up to $10,000, depending on the specific facts in your case. Circumstances that can impact your fees include any prior DWI convictions, a child passenger in your vehicle when you were driving under the influence, and the level of your blood alcohol content. You may also have to pay court costs and post bail.
High-Risk Automobile Insurance
A DWI conviction typically leads to an increase in automobile insurance costs. When your insurance company finds out about your conviction (and they almost always do find out), the company will either cancel your policy or raise your rates to cover a high-risk insurance policy. If your insurance company cancels your policy, you will have to find another insurance company to provide you with expensive, high-risk insurance.
DWI Attorneys’ Fees
Attorneys’ fees are technically optional, but deciding to defend a DWI case by yourself to avoid those attorneys’ fees may end up costing you more in the long run. Defendants with experienced DWI attorneys have a better chance of seeing reduced charges, reduced penalties, and dismissed charges than defendants without legal advocates fighting for their rights.
Annual License Fees
When you eventually get your driver’s license back after a DWI, you will have to pay annual fees to retain your license in the state of Texas. Depending on case circumstances, you may have to pay fees as high as $2,000 per year for three years after your license has been reinstated.
DWI Education Program
Defendants convicted of DWIs in Texas are required to take a DWI education course regulated by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. You will be responsible for all costs associated with the education course.
Ignition Interlock Device
In some cases, defendants convicted of a DWI may be ordered to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle to prevent them from driving when the device detects alcohol in your system. If you are ordered to install an interlock device in your vehicle, you will be required to pay for the installation costs. If you cannot afford the upfront costs of the device installation, a court may order you to pay for it according to a payment plan.
DWI convictions may lead to lost wages, especially if you are required to drive for your job. Employers sometimes terminate employees for criminal convictions, particularly if they are felony convictions. Certain professional licenses may be suspended or revoked after a DWI, as well. Unfortunately, once you have a DWI conviction on your record, you may have a harder time securing gainful employment.
Personal Injury Lawsuit
In the worst-case DWI scenario, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol leads to accidents resulting in bodily injuries. If anyone is injured in your DWI accident, such as another vehicle occupant, a pedestrian, or a bicyclist, you may be on the hook for the cost of their injuries and damages.
Even if your automobile insurance covers some of the injuries and damages sustained in your DWI accident, your insurance policy limits may not cover all of the costs. Injured parties may seek to recoup those uncovered costs from you in a personal injury lawsuit.
DWI In Texas
DWIs are costly, and if you have been charged with a DWI in Texas, you need an experienced attorney defending your rights and representing your interests. A Texas DWI defense attorney at Vinas & Graham, PLLC, will review your case and go over defense strategies and possible outcomes.
Contact our office at 713-229-9992 or submit an online form, and someone from our office will contact you to schedule a consultation. Follow us on Facebook to learn more about our law firm and the different types of legal services that we provide.