How Much Will a DWI Conviction Cost You in Texas?


A DWI conviction has serious consequences. In addition to having to serve a prison sentence, suffer the loss of your license, and struggle to find suitable employment, housing, and educational opportunities, those convicted of a DWI can face a host of financial penalties. Below, we will outline the various ways a DWI conviction can cost you.

Criminal Penalties & Court Fees

Depending on whether you are a first-time or subsequent time offender, you may be expected to pay $2,000-$10,000. In addition to hefty fines, you will have to cover a host of court fees, including but not limited to:

  • Court processing fees, which can range from $300-$400.
  • Probation fees (if you are offered probation), which are typically around $60 per month
  • Bail bond fees (if eligible), which can range from $500-$10,000 depending on your criminal record, the case jurisdiction, etc.
  • Attorney fees, if you elected to retain a criminal defense attorney, you will have to pay their retainer and billed hours.

Substance Abuse Evaluation

If you are awarded probation, you will typically be required to have an evaluation to determine whether you have a substance abuse disorder. After the assessment is complete, if you have an underlying drug or alcohol abuse issue, a recommendation will be made concerning counseling, outpatient treatments, and residential treatment programs. An adult evaluation costs about $40; however, if you are being evaluated for the second time within 12 months, the reassessment fee is about $60.

Towing & Impound Fees

Your vehicle can be towed and impounded after a DWI arrest. Each day your car remains in the impound lot costs about $20. Towing can cost anywhere from $25-$450.

Alcohol Monitoring System

You may be required to submit to alcohol monitoring after a conviction. An ignition interlock device can be installed on your steering wheel, and to start your car, you must use the small handheld breathalyzer that is attached to the device. In some cases, you may have to wear a SCRAM device, which is worn as an ankle bracelet and tests your sweat for alcohol every 30 minutes. These devices can cost upwards of $250 per month.

Victim Impact Panel

As a requirement of your probation, you may have to attend a victim impact panel (VIP). These panels allow for those convicted of DWIs or related offenses to hear from DWI victims regarding how the accident affected their lives. The primary goals of VIPs are to help offenders realize the severity of their crime and allow the victims a space to share their thoughts and feelings. These events can cost anywhere from $30-$55 to attend.

Increased Insurance Rates

After being convicted of a DWI offense, your insurance rates can increase substantially. Because a conviction appears on your driving record, your insurer will automatically become aware of the DWI; the conviction can stay on your record for up to 10 years. The specific dollar amount that your policy will increase is dependent on your insurer’s policies. However, it is estimated that a person who is convicted of a DWI can expect to pay approximately $665 more per year for car insurance.

Affecting Your Job/Ability to Work

A DWI conviction can negatively impact your income if you lose your job or professional license and have to look for a new job. In some cases, your employer may decide to fire you if you are convicted of a DWI (even if you were not working at the time of your arrest). Some employers must terminate your contract, specifically in instances where you work:

  • With children or vulnerable adults (i.e. the elderly or those with special needs)
  • In the medical, insurance, banking, real estate, or securities industry
  • In a position that requires you to have a professional license (i.e. teacher, nurse, etc.)

Having a criminal record can also affect your job prospects because your criminal record will appear on your background check. Even if you do not lose your job, you may lose your license, which can also impact your ability to work and your finances. If your license is suspended or revoked, you can apply for an occupational license, which permits you to drive to and from work or school. An occupational license costs about $10 per year.

DWI/Alcohol Education Program

First-time offenders and those placed on probation are required to attend and complete a 12-hour DWI Education course, which outlines the effects of drugs and alcohol on the brain and body as well as how drugs and alcohol impair your driving abilities. The course can cost anywhere from $100-$185.

Repeat offenders must attend and complete a longer course—the DWI Intervention program—that lasts for about 32 hours; these courses can cost up to $250. During the program, you can be referred to support groups and/or 12-step programs.

If you have been arrested and/or charged with driving while intoxicated or any DWI-related offense, contact J. Roland Jeter, P.C. today by calling (972) 330-4050.

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