Cost of a DUI

A DWI or DUI arrest and/or conviction can be a very costly venture. In fact, the Texas Department of Transportation recently completed a study in which they developed an approximate calculation of the realistic expenditures an individual might incur under the circumstances. To ensure the validity of their findings, Department of Transportation interviews were conducted with court personnel – including county clerks, judges, prosecutors, public defenders and District attorneys; private practice defense attorneys and even persons who had been convicted of drunk driving.

Prior to this research, I doubt anyone realized just how expensive a DWI can be. What follows are the average range of rates one could expect to pay for the various elements associated with a drunk driving lawsuit.

*Expect to have your car towed and impounded if you are arrested for drunk driving – unless there is another individual in the car who is not intoxicated and can safely drive the vehicle to your home. The average cost of towing and impound fees is $300.

*Once you’ve sobered up and can appear before a judge you will then go through the arraignment process. This means you will hear the charges filed against you. Most likely, bail will be required. Bail is an amount of money the suspect must pay in order to be released from custody. This usually occurs after booking and arraignment. The suspect offers bail as a promise to appear in court for any further scheduled criminal proceedings which could include any of the following: arraignment, preliminary hearing, pre-trial motions, and the trial. If at any time the suspect fails to appear in court – he or she will be subject to immediate arrest, and bail will be forfeited. The average cost of bail varies widely. This study set the average range at anywhere from $200 to $5000 dollars!

*A DWI defendant may choose to avail him or herself of a court-appointed attorney or public defender. If not, then securing the services of a DWI attorney experienced in DWI law can cost anywhere from $300 to $10,000 dollars!

*If you think you can use the ‘court facilities’ for free – think again. Court costs themselves may run anywhere from $200 to $1500 dollars.

*The next step will probably be going before a judge to determine whether or not you will be permitted to drive. That will cost additional fees and fines that have been estimated to be another $200 to $1500 dollars.

*If you are convicted a DWI fine can run anywhere from 200 to $2000 dollars. Your insurance will increase in the range of $200 to $2400 dollars annually. You will be required to pay a Driver Responsibility fee of $1000 per year for three years in order to keep your license.

*Finally other fines could be imposed for equipment such as ankle bracelets or ignition-interlock systems. The price – five thousand or more annually.

If you’ve been using your calculator to keep track of the cost of a single (first) DWI then you realize that you’ve racked up fifteen or twenty thousand dollars at least – and that’s not even all the costs that are associated with a DWI stop. Certainly you have better things to do with your money.