Houston Criminal Defense Blog

Charged with DWI? Penalties May Threaten More than Just Your Freedom

It is well known that being convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI), or driving under the influence (DUI) for drivers under the age of 21, can result in numerous criminal penalties. Depending on the type of charge involved and one’s criminal record, these convictions can be punishable by terms of imprisonment, probation, court ordered classes, and driver’s license suspensions or revocations, to name a few. While the penalties handed down by criminal courts and the Texas Department of Public Safety (TxPDS) are indeed severe, and although they can create profound barriers in one’s personal and professional future, they also entail numerous hidden consequences that one may easily miss when considering whether they need legal representation.

Among these “hidden” repercussions lie significant financial expenses. In such tough economic times, financial stains can have a tremendously negative impact on your financial stability, as well as that of your family’s. To better illustrate the expenses you can expect with a DUI conviction, it is best to begin with the fines and court costs that come directly from the criminal court. For first time offenders, fines can be as much as $2,000. In addition to these fines are various court costs and administrative fees that can quickly add up. With more serious allegations and with multiple offenses, fines can also increase.

In addition to fines, you can expect various costs associated with many of the terms of your sentence. If you are eligible for alternative sentencing options, including work release, work furlough, or house arrest, you will most likely be required to pay for these programs. Court ordered classes that may include drinking and driving classes or alcohol education courses will also result in expenses. Some jurisdictions and certain offenders may also be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on their vehicle, which acts as a breathalyzer that prevents a vehicle from starting if it detects the presence of alcohol. IIDs are typically leased from third party vendors and often need to be calibrated periodically, thereby creating ongoing expenses.

As far as the financial expenses that result from a driver’s license suspension, convicted offenders are required to pay various administrative fees upon restoring their license or when obtaining a restricted license. Insurance premiums will also increase and may remain high for long periods of time. The costs of public transportation, taxis, and paying for rides may also be an expense you should consider.

Protect Your Financial Future with a Proven Houston DWI Lawyer

While each case and individual is unique, these types of costs are common in the wake of a DWI or DUI conviction. In the most devastating circumstances, individuals who drive for a living, who have strict employment policies, or who are currently looking for employment may face significant barriers when it comes to earning wages. Penalties are designed to deter people from committing illegal acts, and as efforts to crack down on impaired driving have intensified immensely throughout Texas and nation, these penalties have grown to encompass crippling financial consequences. Several anti-DUI campaigns throughout the country have also highlighted the hidden costs of DWIs and DUIs with slogans that refer to a DWI as the most expensive cab ride you’ll ever take.

If you or someone you care about has recently been charged with a DWI or DUI in the Houston area or any of the surrounding communities, do not be led to believe that DWI convictions are inconsequential. Learn more about the charges and penalties you face – including hidden financial expenses – by bringing your case to the attention of a proven Houston DWI attorney. Allow former prosecutor turned defense lawyer Billy Skinner to review your case and inform you about the ways in which he can protect your financial future. Contact Billy Skinner & Associates today.

Categories: Criminal Defense