There are many downsides to being pulled over in Texas for driving while intoxicated (DWI). Aside from the loss of your driver’s license and potential jail time if you’re convicted, there are several other inconveniences and expenses associated with this traffic offense in Texas that most people don’t realize until it happens to them.
Some of the costs involved in a DWI charge, arrest and conviction include bail, court fees and impound fees. While posting bail requires that only a small percentage of the actual amount be presented, it can run from as little as $150 to more than $2,000, depending on your personal circumstances. The vehicle you were driving at the time of your arrest will be towed and impounded. Expect to pay at least $100 for the towing fee, depending on your location. Each municipality is different on impound fees. The City of Dallas, for example, charges a $20 administrative fee, plus $20 per day. After 48 hours, you will also be charged a $50 impound notification fee. Proof of auto insurance must be provided before the vehicle is released, which can prolong the process and incur additional charges.
Finding a decent DUI attorney to represent you won’t come cheap. While some offer a free initial consultation, many do the actual work through a retainer after accepting your case. An expert witness for your case can cist between $2,000 to $7,000. Each time you or your attorney must appear in court, you must pay court costs. Appeals and certain types of continuances can escalate your court costs and your attorney’s fees.
Standard DWI Fines and Fees
Upon conviction of your first DWI, you can be fined up to $2,000. If you want to retain your driver’s license and the judge allows it, you can pay a $1,000 fee for one year, or $2,000 for three years. After your second offense, those fines increase to as much as $4,000 for your conviction, and a yearly fee of $1,000 or $1,500, or $2,000 for a three-year driver’s license retention fee.
Aside from a typical DWI, those with an open container of alcohol in the vehicle face an additional fine of up to $500. If there is one passenger or more under the age of 15 in the vehicle, the driver can receive a fine of up to $10,000.
If you are convicted of a DWI in Texas, you may opt to take a Texas defensive driving course to reduce your sentence if the judge allows it. The court may require you to have an interlock device installed on your vehicle. If you are unable to drive yourself where you need to go because your driver’s license is suspended, you may need to pay others or use public transportation. You will have to pay a reinstatement fee to the state once your suspension is complete.
Drivers convicted of DWI in Texas have higher insurance rates. Expect to pay at least an additional $4,500 over the next three to five years after your driving privileges are reinstated.
Some jobs are associated with the ability to drive or to carry a commercial driver’s license. For example, a taxicab driver or truck driver will likely lose their employment completely, while someone whose occupation is sedentary or office-bound may not be affected at all. Some companies consider any type of conviction as a security risk and may revoke your security clearance. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the case, such as whether someone was maimed or killed, it could pose a problem for future employers.