A Driving while intoxicated conviction could cost up to $15,000 for a first time offense in Texas, according to a new study by the Texas Department of Transportation called the â€œ$15,000 six-pack.â€
The $15,000 adds up the cost of arrests, fines, jail and court costs, legal fees and counseling. The study based its results on interviews with district attorneys, defense attorneys, county clerks and past DWI offenders.
News 8 Austin explored the true cost of a DWI and how it impacts the offender and the community at large.
TxDOT released the study right before the Fourth of July weekend.
“You’re looking at significant costs, just the dollars. That doesn’t even count the court costs, time lost at work when you’re doing all these things as a consequence of the choice you made to drink and drive so that’s our message, don’t drink and drive,â€ Jim Hollis of TxDOT said.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in 2004 Texas led the nation in drunk driving fatalities.
State and local law enforcement officers will be out in force to get drunk drivers off the road during the holiday weekendâ€”a period when drunk driving offenses traditionally spike.
The cost of a DWI
Arrest, jail and court
Car towing, impounding -$ 90â€“$170
Bail for release from jail – $187â€“$2,500
Attorney fees – $500â€“$9,000
Court costs – $200â€“$580 – If convicted
License suspension – if you don’t fight the license suspension
Hearing to regain driver license – $125â€“$373
Occupational drivers license – $223
DWI fine – $300â€“$2,000
Probation – Again, if convicted
Monthly monitoring visits – $720â€“$1,440 ($60 a month for 12â€“24 months)
Alcohol addiction evaluation – $20â€“$150
Alcohol education course – $70â€“$185
Victim impact panel fee – $20
Vehicle starting device (â€œignition interlockâ€) – $65â€“$150 to install, then $780â€“$2,880 ($65â€“$120 a month for 12â€“24 months)
Other fines and fees - If convicted
Fee to keep driver license – $3,120 ($1,040 each year for three years)
Extended proof of insurance (SR-22) – $75
Auto insurance rate increase – varies
The point of me posting this story is to point out that a good deal of these expenses only occur upon conviction. Who you hire to represent you can make a difference as to whether you end up having to pay these fees.