The economic repercussions of a DWI, even for a first offense, are higher than you might anticipate. In addition to the direct costs imposed by the court in a criminal case, individuals also may face administrative expenses from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and other collateral costs.
A DWI conviction will result in the court ordering the defendant to pay a fine, which just became more costly as of September 1, 2019. Although the Texas legislature eliminated driver surcharges, they accordingly increased the fines for DWI offenses. For a first DWI offense, the fine is now $3,000. However, if your BAC measures .16 percent or more at the time of arrest, the fine increases to $6,000. A second DWI within three years of the first results in a $4,500 fine. Furthermore, third DWI, intoxication assault, and intoxication manslaughter convictions can result in as much as $10,000 in fines.
Furthermore, Texas law now requires that individuals who are charged with a subsequent DWI, DWI with child, DWI intoxication assault, or DWI intoxication manslaughter installed an ignition interlock device (IID) on their vehicles as a condition of their bond. The installation fee and monthly monitoring fees for IIDs are not cheap and contribute to the financial burdens of a DWI.
Individuals who are convicted of DWI also may have to pay restitution for any property damage that they caused as a result of the incident, probation fees, license reinstatement fees, and more.
DWIs also result in other indirect costs. For instance, motor vehicle insurance rates also will increase following a DWI conviction. On average, these premiums may increase by about 60% or $75 per month. Additionally, individuals may need to miss work so that they can appear in court, meet with lawyers, attend counseling, and serve jail time. In some situations, individuals may even lose their jobs, which can create a substantial financial burden.
If you or a family member is facing DWI charges or any other criminal charges, we may be able to help. As experienced Texas criminal defense attorneys, we have the knowledge needed to help you navigate through often-complex criminal proceedings. Call us today at (512) 474-4445 and schedule an appointment with one of our criminal defense lawyers and learn how we can assist you.