This guide will explain the costs associated with a misdemeanor DWI in Bexar County Texas. This guide applies ti DWI that occurred BEFORE September 1, 2019.
What kinds of Fees should I Expect?
The fees associated with a DWI can be broken up into two categories. The first category includes all of the costs associated with keeping your driver's license. The second category includes all of the costs associated with the punishment that is a consequence of your criminal case. People charged with a DWI often feel it is unfair that they are charged separately from the punishment they agreed to when they were convicted of a DWI. Therefore, it is important to understand what charges to expect once someone agrees to be put on probation.
How much is the DWI Surcharge?
The DWI surcharge is part of the Texas Driver's Responsibility Program administered by the Department of Public Safety (DPS). The surcharge is required to keep your driver's license, and it is assessed by DPS after a person has been convicted of Driving While Intoxicated. The surcharge must be paid for three years after you have been convicted (not after you have been arrested). If your DWI is a first offense and your Blood Alcohol Concentration is below a .15 then the yearly DWI surcharge is $1,000. If your Blood Alcohol Concentration is above a .15 then the charge is $1,500 per year. If this DWI is a second conviction the yearly charge is $2,000 per year.
If my license is suspended what fees should I expect?
If you have a Texas Driver's License and you get pulled over and arrested for a DWI it is very likely that your driver's license was confiscated. When it is confiscated you need to decide whether or not you should request an ALR (Administrative License Revocation) hearing. If your license is suspended, you will need to pay a reinstatement fee to get your license back. During the license suspension period, you may apply for an occupational license in the county where you reside. The county determines the filing fee for the Occupational License. In Bexar County the Occupational License filing fee is $232. The reinstatement fee to be paid to DPS is $125.
What About SR22 Insurance?
If your license is suspended and you get an Occupational License you will also need to get SR-22 insurance. SR-22 insurance is a special kind of insurance that is required for driver's who have been accused of Driving While Intoxicated. The fee will depend on the insurance company and the policy you select. Most people recommend using an insurance company different than the insurance company they have their automobile insurance with because insurance companies will often increase rates once they have knowledge that their client has been arrested for a DWI.
What Fines and Court Costs Should I expect?
The difference between a fine and a court cost is that a fine is a punishment and a court cost is an administrative fee paid to the court upon conviction for a crime. Fines are usually a punishment that can be negotiated by the attorney, but court costs are standard and cannot be lowered even if the State agrees. The maximum fine for a first time DWI is $2,000. The maximum fine for a DWI above a .15 or a DWI Second is $4,000. Also, most counties in Texas charge a monthly fee to supervise someone on probation.
Are there any other charges?
The list of miscellaneous fees is extensive. If you request an ALR the attorney is required to pay a witness fee of $10, additionally the attorney must subpoena the witness and pay a process server to serve the subpoena. There may also be a requirement to reimburse the witness for mileage depending on the jurisdiction where you were arrested and where the ALR hearing is held. If the State is alleging that your Blood Alcohol Concentration is above a .15 then as a condition of pre-trial release you may need to have an Interlock Device installed on any vehicle that you drive, or you will need to pay for and set up a different alcohol monitoring system. The company that installs your interlock will likely charge you an installation fee and a monthly fee to have the interlock device updated.
If I decide to plead guilty what other fees can I expect?
In Texas, when someone pleads guilty to a DWI they are required to take specific classes. These classes include a Vicitm Impact Panel, a TAIP (Treatment as an Alternative to Incarceration Program) evaluation, DWI intervention program, and a DWI education program. The fees associated with these classes will be determined by the class provider. Additionally, almost all courts will require a person who pleads guilty to a DWI to complete some form of community service and those courts will sometimes allow charitable contributions to pay off community service.
DWI's are financially burdensome and can take a toll on your sense of personal well being. Most DWI financial costs are triggered by a conviction and it is important to understand those costs before you make a decision about your case. Many times aggressive legal representation will allow you to avoid or minimize unnecessary expenses. The biggest financial cost may be the hidden and continuing cost of a criminal record. The money you invest in a high quality attorney will not only help you save money, it may also prevent a criminal conviction and the lingering cost of a criminal history.
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