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The Financial Implications of a Texas DWI Conviction

Updated: Jun 16, 2023 @ 9:06 pm

Less than 1 minute Reading Time: Minutes

In Texas, a conviction for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) can have severe financial implications for the defendant. Although the long term financial consequences of a DWI conviction are often overlooked, individuals facing DWI charges should be the wiser.

If we’re representing you, we’ll make sure you’re aware of the costs associated with a DWI conviction. This way, you can make a wise decision on the best way to proceed with your case.

Since 1995, we’ve helped thousands of Texans in Angleton & Brazoria County caught up in the criminal justice system by resolving DWI cases in their favor. We know what it takes to win & successfully defend our clients.

If you were arrested in Angleton or elsewhere in Brazoria County on suspicion of drunk driving, let our legal team help you. Feel free to contact The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates at 979-267-6081. You can also send us a message using our contact form.

Legal Fees & Court Costs

The financial impact of a DWI charge begins the moment you’re arrested. Once you’re arrested, you’ll incur costs related to bail, towing, and impound fees for your vehicle. You’ll also need to hire a defense lawyer to represent you in court.

At The Law Office of Tad Nelson & Associates, we’ve seen these costs vary significantly. The average cost of fighting DWI cases can range from $500 to $10,000 or more. The fine is usually contingent on the circumstances surrounding your case.

Then, there are court costs to consider. The fees vary depending on the complexity of your case, the county in which you’re charged, and whether your case goes to trial. Court costs alone can add another $1,000 to $2,500 to the financial burden.

With inflation ratcheting up and money becoming scarce, it’s best to mitigate these costs with the help of our legal team.

Monetary Penalties & Fines

If you’re convicted of driving while intoxicated, the court may impose a fine as part of your sentence. Texas law allows for fines up to $2,000 for a first DWI conviction, up to $4,000 for a second conviction, and up to $10,000 for third and subsequent convictions.

Additionally, Texas law requires a surcharge for those convicted of DWI. This surcharge, also known as the Driver Responsibility Program, costs $1,000 per year for a first DWI, $1,500 per year for a second DWI, and $2,000 per year if your blood alcohol content was 0.16 or more at the time of arrest.

The Driver Responsibility surcharge is imposed for three years following the conviction. If you have any questions about avoiding these fees or securing legal representation, contact Attorney Tad Nelson today.

Your Time is Valuable

Time is another factor to consider when assessing the cost of a DWI conviction. Time is your most important asset and you can’t afford to waste it in jail, going back and forth to court, or participating in drug & alcohol education programs. Each hour you spend dealing with the situation is an hour away from your family, your profession, your hobbies, and your life.

If you’re accused of DWI, it behooves you to secure legal representation immediately to limit the potential consequences, in the form of costs, which you’ll have to contend with.

Costs Associated with Probation

Probation the most common outcome of DWI cases in Texas. However, probation programs are not without costs of their own. Probation programs can cost from $60 to $100 per month or more, adding a significant amount to your expenses over time.

In addition to that, you may be required to attend alcohol & drug education programs as a condition of your probation agreement. Community Supervision programs often have fees attached, which are another financial burden. The cost of these programs can vary greatly, from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.

The Impact on Your Auto Insurance

A conviction for drunk driving will undoubtedly affect your auto insurance premiums. Insurance companies see a DWI conviction as a sign of risky behavior. Following a conviction, they’ll adjust your premiums accordingly.

In Texas, your car insurance rates can increase by up to 70% or more following a DWI conviction. This increase can last for several years, leading to an added cost of thousands of dollars over time.

In some cases, your insurance carrier might even drop your coverage entirely, forcing you to seek out a high-risk policy that will be even more expensive. In these situations, the costs can be so prohibitive that you might have to forego driving altogether.

Otherwise, you’ll be driving in fear of traffic stops in which cops always ask for proof of insurance. If you don’t have insurance, it’ll be grounds for a ticket. Furthermore, auto finance companies will repossess your vehicle once they find out you’re an uninsured motorists driving around in their asset. Don’t let this happen to you.

Texas Driver License Reinstatement Fees

After a DWI conviction, your Texas Driver License will be suspended. In Texas, the suspension period can range from 90 days to two years for a first conviction. Once this period is over, you’ll need to pay a reinstatement fee to regain your driving privileges. The standard fee for reinstatement is $125, but there may be additional costs related to obtaining an occupational license. There may also be additional costs if the court demands the installation of an ignition interlock device.

By hiring the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates, we may be able to prevent the suspension of your Texas Driver License by requesting an ALR hearing. During this hearing, we’ll be able to challenge the suspension of your driving privileges and you won’t have to worry about the suspension taking effect until your case is finalized; assuming you’re convicted or enter a guilty plea.

Other Economic Impacts

It’s important to note that a DWI conviction can have long-term economic consequences. A DWI conviction can make it more difficult to find a job, especially if the job involves driving. If you lose your job due to a DWI conviction, the loss of income can be substantial.

Tad Nelson & Associates

Experienced DWI & Criminal Defense Lawyers

Board Certified Texas Criminal Law Attorney

While this isn’t an exhaustive list of the cost associated with DWI cases, it provides a glimpse into the financial implications associated with a DWI conviction in Texas.

If you looking for legal representation you can trust, The Law Office of Tad Nelson & Associates is here to help. As experienced Brazoria DWI attorneys, we know what it takes to successfully resolve a DWI case in the defendant’s favor.

If you have questions or would like to meet with an attorney, our law firm operates law offices in Houston, Galveston, and League City. Our legal team is well-versed in Texas DWI laws and we’ll know the best way to handle the matter.

At Tad Nelson & Associates, our goal is to minimize the financial impact on you and your family. We’re also committed to helping you navigate the legal process by providing the best possible defense strategy for your case. Don’t underestimate the importance of having experienced legal counsel on your side during these challenging times. Contact us for help today.

Tad Nelson is Board Certified® in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

Board Certified Texas Criminal Law Attorney

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