Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a criminal offense that occurs every day somewhere in Texas. Many people who get behind the wheel after drinking will reach their destination safely, making them think that their decision to drive isn’t that dangerous.
However, some people who get behind the wheel after drinking will cause car crashes that result in significant property damage or injury to another person, which is why police officers constantly monitor for signs of drunk drivers on the road. You don’t have to cause a crash or have a history of bad driving for a police officer to arrest you for a DWI.
Even if you know you aren’t guilty, you might consider pleading guilty just to put the whole thing behind you. That approach could end up costing you thousands of dollars because a DWI conviction is actually very expensive.
What cost can you expect from a DWI charge?
If you decide to plead guilty, there isn’t necessarily a promise of reduced penalties. The judge could still sentence you to probation, incarceration and significant fines.
You may need to pay up to $10,000 in fines, depending on your prior driving record. There will be court costs as well. If you want to participate in the restricted license program during your suspension period, you will have to pay for the installation and maintenance of an ignition interlock device.
Insuring your vehicle will cost quite a bit more, too. Drivers in Texas can expect their annual insurance costs to go up by 54% after a DWI conviction. Overall, even a first DWI offense could mean thousands of dollars in additional costs, before you even start to consider the secondary economic consequences.
A DWI could affect your career and educational options
Most employers, as well as many institutions of higher education and scholarship programs, conduct background checks to vet applicants for criminal history. While a DWI may not be a violent offense, it can still make an employer wary about hiring you or promoting you.
Fighting back against charges can seem time-consuming or expensive, but it could reduce the financial losses you suffer after an impaired driving arrest. Understanding the risks will make it easier for you to make an informed decision about your DWI charges.