Financial Implications Of A DWI Conviction In Texas
Driving While Intoxicated in Texas is an offense taken seriously by law enforcement and prosecutors. Section 49.04 of the Texas Penal Code makes it a crime to be “intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.” Whether it is a first offense or a repeat offense, the criminal penalties can be strict and severe. Obviously, jail time is a chief concern for those facing a DWI charge. But there can be other collateral costs associated with a DWI conviction, and these will affect a person’s pocketbook and potentially their career as well.
Financial Costs of a DWI Conviction in Texas
A DWI conviction can cost a defendant in a number of different ways financially:
- Legal and Court Costs. Statutory fines associated with a Texas DWI conviction can range from $2,000 for a first offense, $4,000 for a second offense, and $10,000 for a third offense. State fines of $3,000 to $5,000 can also be added upon sentencing. All told, these costs can add up quickly and put a person in a financial hole that is difficult to get out of.
- DWI Education Program. Those convicted of a first offense DWI are required to complete the Texas DWI Education Program to have their license reinstated. This is a 12-hour program that has its own fee, adding to a DWI defendant’s out of pocket costs.
- Probation Costs. A conviction for DWI in Texas involved probation in addition to any jail time served. The probationary period can last 6-12 months on average, or longer for repeat offenders. Not only are probationers required to comply with the terms of probation – they must help foot the bill as well. A monthly probation charge is assessed to those in the program and can start at $25 per month or more. In addition to the out of pocket costs, there can be “hidden” costs of probation such as time missed from work due to probation appointments or mandatory drug testing.
- Lost Wages and Lost Future Wages. Whether a person is ultimately convicted of DWI or not, they may experience financial hardship due to lost hours at work or termination from a job. If a person can’t drive to work due to a DWI charge or conviction, they are losing money due to the impact on their employment. A DWI conviction can also prevent them from obtaining other jobs in the future, or not being able to get to work while their license is suspended.
If You Are Facing a DWI Charge, a Pearland Texas Criminal Defense Attorney Can Represent You and Help Get Your Life Back on Track
A DWI conviction in Texas includes not only jail time in most cases, but serious financial consequences that can haunt a person for months or years. If you are facing a DWI charge, you want to present the best defense possible and do everything you can to lessen the financial penalties you might face. The Pearland DWI/DUI lawyers at Keith B. French Law can help review your case and plan a strategy to obtain the best potential outcome, based on the facts and evidence.