A conviction for DWI can change your life forever. In addition to the obvious costs of taking a quick guilty plea there are several other less obvious effects of being convicted of DWI.
1) The fine ... obviously enough. Fines for a first DWI commonly range in the area of $1000.
2) Court costs. Defendants that take guilty pleas pay hundreds of dollars in court costs.
3) Probation fees. For every month you are on probation you will have to pay the probation office additional fees.
4) Department of Public Safety surcharges. A first time DWI offender will have to pay at least $1000 a year for three years to get their license back. Repeat offenders or particularly bad cases have to pay even more... up to $2000 a year.
5) Classes. There are classes that people convicted of DWI must take. They must be paid for as well.
6) Alcohol evaluation. The state will evaluate you to determine if you are an alcoholic. You will pay for this as well.
7) The "Victim Impact Panel". DWI offenders sometimes must watch a tape about the effects of DWI on victims. Sometimes they are told the effects in person by the victims. This costs more money.
8) Ignition Interlock. A conviction can result in the installation of a device that you have to blow into to start your car. In addition to being somewhat embarrassing it is also very expensive. Judges can always order it installed and it is sometimes mandatory.
9) Insurance premiums. A conviction for DWI will raise your insurance premiums dramatically.
10) A criminal record. You will have a criminal record for the rest of your life. Murderers, Rapists and Robbers can receive "Deferred Adjudication" which can keep their crimes off of their records. Deferred Adjudication is not available for DWI. A conviction will stay on a person's record until they die.
Stephen Foster is a former Webb and Bexar county prosecutor. He has prosecuted and defended thousands of cases. He has appeared on various news programs across Texas and well as been featured as a legal expert on the San Antonio television program Great Day SA.
Attorney at Law
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