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How Much Does a DWI Cost?

The number one question asked by those accused of Driving While Intoxicated in Texas is "How Much is this going to cost me?"

Depending on the persons criminal record, the jurisdiction, and the complexity or the case, competently defending a DWI case can easily cost thousands of dollars. Being convicted of even a misdemeanor DWI can cost more. A rough approximation for DWI's in the Harris, Fort Bend, Montgomery, Galveston, and Brazoria counties is as follows:


Bail: 0 - $5000

Legal Fees: Varies depending on the lawyer, but in my opinion, competent representation costs at least several thousand dollars and goes up from there.

Bail Conditions:

  • Ignition Interlock Device: $200 to install, $75 / month monitoring;
  • Monthly Monitoring by HCCS Department: $25 - $75;
  • Restricted License Fee to DPS: $10

Administrative License Revocation:

  • Legal Fees: Some attorneys charge additional fees to handle the hearing or an occupational license.
  • Subpoena Service: $75 - $150.00
  • Filing Fees (Appeal or Occupational License): $250
  • DPS Reinstatement Fee: $125.00
  • Occupational License Fee: $10
  • SR-22: $100 - $500

Parking for Court: $5 - $15 per day

Time Off From Work: ?

Application Process for Pretrial Diversion: $250 - $500

Expert Witness Fees: $0 - $10,0000


All of the above, Plus

Probation: $40 - $75 / mo. x 1 - 2 years

Time Off From Work for Probation Meetings, Jail, Classes, Community Service: ?

Classes: $100 - $1,000

DPS Surcharges: $3,000 - $6,000 ($1,000 - $2,000 / year for 3 years).

Court Costs: $300- $500

Fines : 0 - $4,000

Driver's License Suspension

  • Filing Fees (Appeal or Occupational License): $250
  • DPS Reinstatement Fee: $125.00
  • Occupational License Fee: $10
  • SR-22: $100 - $500

Increased Insurance Premiums: 600+ per year

Again, this is a rough estimate and the actual costs may depend on the complexity of a case, one's criminal record, the county, the lawyer, and a number of other variables. But make no mistake, a DWI, even if you win, is a very expensive thing to defend. But, it's an even more expensive thing to lose. Over the years, many clients who have won their DWI cases by dismissal or not guilty verdicts at trial have told me that they didn't feel like they'd won. On account of the way our courts work and the time and money spent by them, I can understand how they feel. But make no mistake, people convicted of DWI feel even worse, and people who receive pre-trial diversion somewhere between.

As the old saying goes, "You can beat the rap, but you can't beat the ride." And the ride is a long, embarrassing, expensive one.

Categories: Criminal Defense, DWI

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Law Offices of Q. Tate Williams, P.C. - Criminal Defense Lawyer in Houston
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