When you are charged with a DWI, the emotional stress can be overwhelming. You may be worried about the cost of bail and fear any additional cost. You might even consider pleading guilty to the DWI charge instead of seeking legal counsel to fight the charges as a means to reduce the costs. However, even considering the costs of attorney fees, it is typically cheaper to pay for a proven DWI attorney to help you fight against the charges.
The costs associated with a Texas DWI conviction add up quickly and often surmount to $15,000 or more.
Examine the Financial Impacts of DWI
If this is your first DWI arrest, then you may think that all you need to worry about affording is bail and a citation fee; this could not be further from the truth. A DWI conviction comes with many financial pieces of baggage, including tickets and traffic fines, accident cleanup services, attorney fees, bail, jail, alcohol, and substance abuse recovery treatment, Ignition Interlock Device (IID) rental, increased auto insurance premiums, and license reinstatement fees.
Tickets and Traffic Fines
You will be responsible for paying any related traffic fines associated with the arrest. DWI traffic fines are often accompanied by a first conviction fine of $250-1,200.
Cleanup at the Site of the Accident
A DWI incident that results in a traffic accident or property damage typically incurs accident cleanup charges. Accident cleanup costs may include towing costs (ranging from $100-$1,200), daily impound fees ($75-$150). Depending on your unique situation, you may be responsible for additional cleanup expenses.
If you are fighting against a DWI charge, you will benefit from the expertise of a proven defense attorney. Legal defense for a first-time DWI will likely cost you between $1,000 and $5,000.
When you are arrested for a DWI and transported to a local jail or police station, your thoughts may race towards the cost of bail. A family member or friend may pay bail on your behalf, or they may secure a loan from a bail bondsman (which typically includes interest). A first-time DWI typically consists of a bail fee ranging from $150 to $2,500. If you do not post bail, you will remain at the jail for an extended time. It is crucial to post bail as quickly as possible because you will have many essential tasks to do in the days immediately following your arrest.
Jail is Not Free
If you are short on cash and think that avoiding bail will save you money, think again. Being incarcerated is not free; you will be responsible for paying a fee of $10-$50 for each day you spend behind bars.
Alcohol and Substance Abuse Recovery Treatment
Depending on the severity of your intoxication and the specific details surrounding your arrest, you may be required to attend an alcohol or substance abuse recovery program. While these programs can be very beneficial and support you on your recovery journey, treatment programs are often expensive.
Ignition Interlock Device Rental
Before your driving privileges are reinstated, you may be required to have an IID installed on your vehicle to ensure that you do not drink and drive in the future. An IID is a device that connects to the vehicle’s ignition switch; it will analyze your breath for the presence of alcohol. If alcohol is detected, then the engine will not start—an IID rental ranges from $700 to $1,700.
Auto Insurance Increase
A DWI conviction means you are a greater liability for insurance companies; this greater liability directly correlates with a higher insurance cost. A first DWI conviction is often accompanied by a $500-$1,500 hike in insurance premiums.
A DWI arrest always impacts driving privileges in some manner. If you receive a Notice of Suspension, you must request an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing within 14 days to help protect your driving privileges. Once the Texas Department of Public Safety suspends your license, you will be responsible for paying a license reinstatement fee. A first DWI license suspension typically results in a reinstatement fee of $100-$200.
It is important to note that this list is not exhaustive, and other fees may be associated with your specific case. The above expense ranges are associated with a first-time DWI; consecutive DWI charges will result in higher associated fees. Each DWI case is unique; your attorney will work closely with you to help you understand which costs you are responsible for and explain each cost’s reason.
Fighting the Charges Can Also Help Lower DWI Costs
When you factor in all of the fees associated with a DWI conviction, it is clear that avoiding a DWI conviction is the best way to limit the financial impact. In addition to the hefty financial burden that may lead to financial ruin, a DWI conviction often comes with many non-monetary costs. Non-monetary costs associated with a DWI conviction include a tarnished reputation, job loss, difficulty securing employment, failed background checks, emotional distress, and more.
All of this financial talk may have your head dizzy with worry. While the fees associated with a DWI are often more significant than a person can reasonably afford, it is essential to know that a DWI arrest does not always lead to a conviction. Often, hiring a proven DWI attorney will save you a substantial amount of money. An experienced DWI attorney will help you navigate the complex legal process of fighting against the DWI charges. Your attorney will try to get the charges against you dismissed or reduced.
Fighting against the DWI charges can prove to be an advantage and may result in dropped or reduced costs. While fighting against the charges is a wise choice, fighting the charges on your own can quickly become problematic and result in a less than favorable out.
Research DWI attorneys and choose an attorney with proven results and with whom you feel comfortable. Having a proven DWI attorney on your side will result in attorney fees; however, successfully fighting against the charges and avoiding conviction will likely save you much more money than you will spend on attorney fees.