Everyone knows that getting a DWI is expensive. You’ve seen the public service announcements saying how expensive they are and sometimes claiming to cost a certain amount of money.
There’s no way they can cost that much, right? Wrong.
Getting a DWI in Texas is expensive in more than one way. Of course, a getting a DWI costs money, but what about the time? Not just community service, but the cost of the time away from family, your job, and other important things in your life.
We’re going to take a look at a first offense DWI cost including financial and other factors. Keep reading for some eye-opening information as well as how to minimize some of the damage done.
Court costs will vary, but the fine imposed upon a first offense DWI offender can be up to $2000 in Texas. Fines may be determined by your judge and attorney’s negotiating skills.
They also can be decided by how high your blood alcohol content was. Judges tend to show less mercy toward offenders with a BAC over .15.
Cost of Mandatory Classes
Part of your sentencing can include driving classes and will include substance abuse classes. These classes, of course, are not free.
Driving classes start at $189 for a 12-hour course. This may not be mandatory in every county or it could be highly suggested. These also may ease some of the cost of insurance.
The DWI Education classes are mandatory for every offender. These are also 12-hour courses, ranging in price from $80-$100.
Regaining Driving Privileges
When you get a DWI, your license will be suspended for a period of time, up to a year. To reinstate your license, you will pay the office of motor vehicles a fine of $125. Remember that regardless of the conviction, if you refuse a breathalyzer, your license will automatically be suspended.
That doesn’t sound like much but when you also consider the fact that the Texas Department of Transportation has the Driver Responsibility program. This means that depending on your blood alcohol content, you will have to pay $1000-$2000 per year for 3 years.
To look further into detail, if you want to save your license, an ignition interlock device must be installed on any vehicle you operate. There is a fee to install and usually a monthly fee of $70-$100.
You will also have to have a hardship license. This particular license will allow driving privileges to and from work as well as other household duties.
Finally, your auto insurance will go up. You may have to carry an SR-22 which is basically high-risk insurance. The SR-22 typically isn’t extremely expensive but combined with the other costs of driving after a DWI conviction, it adds up quickly.
Your time is valuable. Most people work for a living and are compensated for their time. When you’re dealing with a DWI conviction, you will be dealing with community service.
There could be up to 100 hours of community service imposed, which means 100 hours worked that you don’t get paid for. You may miss time with family or other important events.
Depending on your occupation, you also might have to take off work for classes or mandatory community service. Bosses may or may not be understanding of your plight, resulting in discipline or termination.
The one cost you will actually want to pay is an attorney’s fee. Getting a DWI will be expensive no matter how you slice it.
Enlisting the help of a trusted expert should not be negotiable. An attorney who specializes in these cases will know what technicalities to look for and if the charge can be negotiated to a lesser crime.
It is difficult to say what an attorney will charge, as each one has a different fee structure. One attorney could charge a set amount per DWI while the next may require an hourly amount.
On average, expect to pay around $2000
What Else Will a DWI Cost You?
Apart from the standard court costs, attorney’s fees, and other mentioned financial burdens, there are a few others to think of, regardless of conviction. These monetary costs include bail, towing, and even gas mileage.
Some professions won’t allow you to continue working or practicing with any type of major driving infraction. Others will place you on a probationary period where you’ll need to attend 12-step meetings, submit to random alcohol screenings, or even complete an outpatient rehabilitative program.
Aside from money and time, a DWI in Texas may cost your job/career, your self-image, trust of family members, and the list can go on.
Your reputation will be damaged from a DWI. Remember, even if people don’t read the paper as often, your mugshot can still be posted online for friends, current, and future employers, and family to see.
Some may be understanding of the situation, but others who have had loved ones injured or killed by a drunk driver may not take so kindly to your ordeal.
Finally, the trust of family members will be diminished. If you have children old enough to recognize something’s wrong, you’ll have to explain. They may be embarrassed by your actions or arrest. Your spouse may not want you driving the family around for a while.
There could be the question of why you didn’t call for a sober ride or get a taxi. Regardless of what is asked, the trust in your judgment will take time to rebuild.
Repairing the Damage
Unfortunately, once you’ve been arrested for a DWI, the costs start adding up quickly. There could be a lot of consequence to the conviction.
Luckily, finding an attorney who is experienced in DWI cases is an easy first step to begin fixing the damage caused. There are plenty of them out there, find one that you’re comfortable with.
Look for an attorney that will fight to prove your innocence first and then negotiate a better deal for you. The sooner you start working on your case the better.
So, when you’re ready, contact us. This will be one DWI cost you’ll be glad to have.