Even if you’ve never been arrested before, being picked up in Texas for a DWI is going to be an unpleasant experience. If convicted of a first offense, you could well spend some time in jail.
And that’s not all. Fines can be as high as $2000. There’s also a yearly $1000 surcharge that must be paid for three years after conviction. That’s if your blood alcohol level was less than 0.15. If it was over that amount, the yearly surcharge doubles. You can lose your license, you can be ordered to attend a DWI program at your expense, and you can be ordered to perform community service. You can be ordered to pay $60 per month probation fees. Of course, your insurance will also go up significantly, probably doubled for 10 years. You will also have to purchase an SR-22, basically an additional and more expensive insurance policy for two years. All told, the total direct and indirect costs you face for years after your conviction can be well over $20,000.
That’s just for a first conviction. The second DWI can mean jail time jail time of anywhere from 30 days to a year. The fines will be up to $4000, plus a $1500 driver’s license surcharge for the next three years. Your driver’s license will be suspended for at least six months and possibly as long as two years.
A second DWI sometimes also means that you’re ordered have an ignition interlock device installed. An ignition interlock device costs between $50 and $100 each month in rental fees. It forces you to take a breath test before you can start your car. You need to also perform random breath tests while you’re driving.
If you refuse to take a blood-alcohol or breath alcohol test in Texas, your license will be suspended for 180 days if it’s your first offense. Second and third offenses result in a two-year license suspension. Prior DWI convictions remain on your record forever.
Many people plead guilty to a first-time DWI, but this is often a mistake. Do a careful analysis of the costs before making a decision. There are long-term costs such as insurance rates that need to be part of the decision. Be sure to speak with an experienced Texas DWI lawyer as soon as possible. If you or a loved one has been arrested for DWI or DUI in Texas, we would be glad to help you can reach us at (682) 204-4066.