Legal fees, bail, fines, and other costs to consider after a drunk driving conviction
Even a small indiscretion like a first-time DWI conviction can damage your life if you don’t have the best possible DWI criminal defense attorney. Most DWI charges are resolved with plea bargains, and some convictions can trigger custody fights.
A DWI conviction can also cause immense financial hardship, even if someone drives you to and from work and you manage to hold your job. How will you pay your bail? Can you go home or will you be arraigned? Driving under the influence is never worth the inevitable financial strain. The consequences are never considered until it’s too late.
Let’s examine what the next steps and fees are in a Texas DWI conviction.
Expenses of a Houston, Texas DWI conviction
Legal fees vary by the complexity of your case, but a first DWI offense can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000. Your second DWI (with no confounding factors) can cost you $4,000 in fines, a full year in jail, 2 years without a driver’s license, and $2,000 for 3 more years for the privilege to purchase car insurance at a higher rate.
If you’re arrested for a second DWI within 5 years in Houston, Texas, you’re required to install an ignition interlock system on your vehicle. The interlock device is designed to prevent you from driving while intoxicated.
On your third DWI conviction, you can be sentenced to 10 years in prison, owe $10,000 in fines, and lose your driver’s license indefinitely. What happens if you lose your job due to not being able to drive?
After a DWI charge, you’ll likely need to pay the following expenses:
- Attorney fees
- Court costs
- Impound fees
Impound lots and civil forfeiture
If your case is a simple DWI, you should be able to get an appointment to retrieve your car. Impound lots typically charge towing costs and storage fees which compounds daily, but they will return your car to you at the discretion of the Houston police.
If controlled substances (illegal drugs) were found, you will probably not get your vehicle back. If it was used in the sale of illegal drugs, it will be forfeited to the law enforcement agency who arrested you. They will sell your vehicle and use the money to offset their costs in detaining you.
If you drive for work, then your commercial driver’s license is your livelihood, your benefits and your pension. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration warns commercial drivers of their increased responsibility. A slight error while driving a tractor-trailer truck can be fatal or cause a horrific accident. CDL drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04 percent are driving while intoxicated. A revocation of your commercial driver’s license means you’re unable to work, causing additional financial hardship.
Our attorneys may be able to get your criminal DWI charges dismissed depending on the circumstances, such as no injuries or inclement weather.
Additional costs of DWI in Houston, Texas
If you caused an accident while driving under the influence and the accident injured someone or damaged property, your DWI is a felony. Your legal fees may total up to $10,000, depending on the unique circumstances of your case.
If you injured or killed someone, you can be charged with manslaughter or intoxication manslaughter. Both are second-degree felonies that can result in up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. If you killed a fireman, an emergency medical technician, or a police officer, your manslaughter charge is a first-degree felony.
You need an experienced DWI defense attorney who will work to get your charges reduced. This charge will cost you at least 180 days in jail and up to $10,000 in fines. Your driver’s license will be suspended for at least 1 year.
Seek help from a Houston DWI criminal defense attorney
Our Houston criminal defense lawyers strive to preserve your rights, your freedom, your right to drive, and your family. We may be able to get your bail and charges reduced if you contact us immediately after your arrest.
Under Texas Penal Code Section 49, driving while intoxicated is either a misdemeanor or a felony. Arguably, the highest cost of a DWI conviction is having a criminal record. A DWI conviction will remain on your record for at least 7 years, and you’ll have to disclose your criminal record when you apply for a job.