If you’ve been charged with DWI, you may already have had to pay bail and the vehicle impound fee. Unfortunately, these costs are minor compared to the fees you could potentially face if you are convicted. The reality is that you could wind up paying thousands of dollars as a result of your conviction, even if it’s a first-time offense.
Don’t think that cooperating will get you a more lenient sentence and lower costs. The best thing you can do is contact an experienced Houston DWI attorney as soon as possible. With over 30 years of experience, The Law Offices of Ned Barnett can help you face your drunk driving charges.
You will have to pay a lawyer to defend you against the charges unless you choose to defend yourself. While you could save a lot of money by representing yourself, your chances of success are fairly slim. There is very little margin for error, and neither the prosecution nor the judge is obligated to explain the law to you or otherwise help you with your case. No matter how strong your case, even minor procedural mistakes can result in a conviction.
Legal fees can vary widely from lawyer to lawyer. Some attorneys work on an hourly basis, meaning that they will bill you a certain amount per hour for any time spent on your case. Other lawyers work on a flat fee basis, where you pay a single fee that covers the entire cost of your defense.
The circumstances surrounding your case can also affect what your lawyer will charge. For example, they may charge less for a straightforward DWI case that they believe will be quickly resolved. You can also expect to pay significantly more if your case goes to trial.
Lastly, when comparing fees, it’s important to keep in mind that you get what you pay for. The cheaper attorneys often lack experience in handling DWI cases, and therefore may not be able to provide you with effective representation. Some attorneys charge lower fees because they work on a volume basis, which means that you will not get the attention you expect or need.
Court Costs and Fines
If you get convicted of a DWI, you will be responsible for paying the court’s administrative costs for handling your case. These fees vary depending on what happened in your case but could vary anywhere from $200 to over $4,000 upon conviction.
In addition to these fees, the court will also impose fines if you are convicted. Some of these amounts include:
- First offense – Fines reaching $2,000
- If your BAC was .15% or greater at the time of a first DWI – Fines of up to $4,000
- Second offense – Fines of up to $4,000
- Third offense – Fines reaching $10,000
Administrative Costs and Other Fees
In addition to the court costs and fines, there are a slew of other fees that you will have to pay if you are convicted of DWI, including
- Monthly probation fees – Probation is part of many DWI sentences in Texas. While on probation, you will be required to pay a monthly fee that depends on the terms of your probation and the area in which you serve your sentence.
- Alcohol education program fees – Upon conviction, you could be ordered to attend an alcohol education program. These fees also fluctuate.
- Ignition interlock device (IID) fees – You will also be required to have an interlock ignition switch installed on your car, which requires you to take a breathalyzer test before the car will start. You will have to pay a monthly fee for the device, which can also range in price.
The Collateral Costs of a Houston DWI Conviction
It’s critical to remember that there are other costs you will have to pay that are harder to quantify. If convicted, you can expect a substantial increase in your insurance premiums – sometimes as expensive as $1,000 per year. Perhaps more importantly, you will also have a DWI conviction on your permanent record, which could impact your ability to find future employment. And while DWI convictions are not uncommon, you can expect that it will damage your reputation in the community.
Worried about the Cost of a Houston DWI? Contact Us Today
DWI defense lawyer Ned Barnett has over 30 years of experience defending people in the Houston area charged with drunk driving offenses. He knows how expensive a conviction can be, and understands the true cost for his clients, which is why he aggressively fights for your rights.