How Much Does a First-Time DWI Offense Cost in Texas?

Drinking and driving—or rather, “operating a motor vehicle”—don’t mix. Yet every year, hundreds of thousands of people drive while under the influence. If you’re caught, penalties range from fines to jail time. It’s simply not worth it.

However, if you’ve been charged with a first offense DWI, you’re probably wondering what the fines, fees and penalties are for a DWI in Texas. Even if you’re not convicted of a DWI, you’ll still have to shell out plenty for fines, administrative fees and maybe even a bail bond.

Read on to find out how much a DWI costs in Texas.

What is a DWI?

DWI stands for “driving while intoxicated,” which means that you either have a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or more, or “lack the normal use of mental or physical faculties.” DWI isn’t just alcohol-related—any intoxicant qualifies. As soon as the intoxicant affects your mental and physical capabilities, you can be charged with a DWI.

However, don’t expect leniency if you’re still in possession of your capabilities despite a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or more—that is a hard limit, also called “per se DWI.”

If there are any aggravating circumstances, such as driving with a child in the car, an open container or injuring others, you can expect the penalties to go up.

How much will you pay if you’re accused and/or convicted of a DWI?

Typically, a first offense will carry lighter penalties than subsequent offenses, but you’ll likely shell out thousands of dollars before your case is over:

  • Bail: There are no statewide standards for Texas DWI bail, so it will entirely depend on the county in which you were arrested and the judge presiding over your case. While you’re prevented from paying “excessive” bail, you might end up paying anywhere from $100 to $100,000. Even if you work with a bail bonds agent, you’ll still pay them 10 percent of the total amount of bail, in exchange for putting up the money so you can get out of jail.
  • Administrative fees: Your license can be suspended while you await trial, which means you’ll likely either have to pay to have it reinstated in whole or in part, or have your attorney negotiate for an “occupational license,” which allows you to drive from home to school, work and essential household errands only.
  • Fines: First time DWI offenses carry fines that start at $2,000, and the criminal penalties only get steeper with subsequent offenses. If you have any aggravating circumstances, you can expect to pay even more.
  • Lawyer: You’ll need a lawyer, which typically costs between $5,000 and $10,000 for the most basic cases.
  • DWI insurance rates: You can also expect your insurance rates to go up as a consequence of your conviction.

Ultimately, getting a DWI is an extremely expensive proposition. Avoid driving while intoxicated, or you could be on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars in fines for a DWI in Texas.

For bail bond assistance, call Brazoria County Bail Bonds today.

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