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What is the Cost of a DWI?

Did you know that the cost of a DWI in Houston can exceed $20,000 if convicted? Here is a breakdown of common fines and fees associated with a DWI conviction in Houston, Texas:

DWI Lawyer Fees

While the cost of a Houston DWI lawyer may seem high – $5,000 to $20,000 depending on the severity of the case – the cost of a DWI lawyer is much less than the cost of being convicted for a DWI in Houston.

Vehicle Towing & Impound Costs

Towing fees will range from $200-$450 while impound fees average $20 per day.

Bail Cost

A bail bond is the best way to secure your freedom after arrested. The amount is based on several factors such as past DWI convictions, B.A.C. levels, B.A.C. testing compliance, or if “enhanced offenses” were committed. First time offenders rarely pay more than $1000 but amounts of $100,000 or more are likely for severe violations like intoxication manslaughter. A bond secured from a bail bond company will still require that you pay 10% of the total out of pocket.

Pre-Trial Supervision Costs

There are many types of bail bonds. Harris County has implemented a system of bonds when a defendant has no criminal history called a personal recognizance (PR) bond. These “free bonds” cost as much as $60/month and come with conditions similar to probation.

Administrative License Revocation Hearing (ALR) Fees

An Administrative License Revocation Hearing requested within 15 days of your arrest is the only way to save your license. As part of your defense, you will need to pay a process server to notify the arresting officer(s) of their need to appear. Fees for this service average $200 but will increase if more than one officer are required. If they do show up in court you’ll pay an additional witness fee up to $100 per officer.

Court Appearance Costs

Court appearance costs range from $200 to $1500.

Court-Imposed DWI Fines

By state law, you must also play a DWI fine if convicted. Texas has a schedule of DWI fines but that amount is determined by the judge if your case goes to court or by plea agreement with the prosecutors.

  • The maximum fine for first time offenders with a BAC less than 0.15 is $3,000.
  • The maximum fine for second time offenders is $4,500.
  • Third time offenders or any DWI offenders that commit intoxication assault or intoxication manslaughter can expect fines up to $10,000.

DWI Probation Fees

All DWI offenders receive mandatory probation for a minimum of six months. The probation fee for anyone convicted of DWI is between $60-$140 each month during the probation term. As with pre-trial supervision, a number of conditions will apply.

Pre-Trial Conditions / Probation Condition Costs

Pre-trial supervision and post-trial probation will come with conditions and associated costs. These include:

Mandatory Drug Tests

  • Drug tests costs $50/test and can be random or as frequent as once per week.

Interlock Ignition

  • The Interlock Ignition is a device that requires you to take a breathalyzer test in order to start your car.
  • Installation costs average about $150 and the monthly cost of the ignition interlock is usually $70-$100.
  • In Harris County, you can expect this to be part of any conditions you receive, even for a first time DWI.

DWI Education Program Fees

If you are a first time DWI offender, you may be ordered to take part in one or more DWI Education Programs

  • Alcohol Education Program – a 12-hour course that typically costs $70. Specific course topics include:
  • DWI Intervention Program – a 32-hour course for repeat offenders or those with problems that the education class failed to address. Costs are $160+. Specific course topics include

SCRAM Device

  •  You might be required to wear an ankle monitor, know as a SCRAM device, that provides real-time updates on your drinking to authorities.
  • This depends on both the severity of your crime and your ability to meet the terms of your supervision
  • The cost for this new fashion accessory is $350-$550 a month.

SR-22 Costs

To get your license reinstated after a DWI suspension, you are required to obtain a Financial Responsibility Insurance Certification (SR-22) for at least two years. The SR-22 fee is $15-$25. While the fee is small, having as SR-22 flags you as a high-risk driver, which will cause your insurance rates to go up.

Increased Car Insurance Costs

In order to have your driver’s license reinstated, you will need to buy additional insurance to meet minimum liability coverage. These requirements include:

  • $30,000 for injury or death of a single person in a car accident
  • $60,000 for injury or death of more than one person in a car accident
  • $25,000 for property damage in a car accident

These additional requirements can add up to $2,000 per year to your car insurance costs.

License Reinstatement Fee

You will pay $125 to DPS to get your license back if it is suspended.

Costs of a DWI in Houston That Are Not Costs (Technically)

On top of all this, you must ask yourself the following cost of a DWI in Houston:

  • How much would losing my job or a divorce cost?
  • What’s the cost of losing custody of my children?
  • What is the time I lose at court, education programs, community service or waiting in line downtown for a drug test every week worth?
  • What is the humiliation of having to walk around with a SCRAM device worth? How about picking up my kids from school with an interlock device?

Avoid The Cost of a DWI In Houston by Hiring a Houston DWI Lawyer

Call 713-628-1503 today for a no-obligation consultation with Clyde W. Burleson. It’s the only line on this page that doesn’t cost you money.

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