Dallas Drunk Driving Lawyer – Articles

DWI in Texas and Conviction-Based Surcharges

One of the principal weapons that the state of Texas uses against DWI offenders is a financial penalty. While a DWI conviction in Texas may not carry as long of a jail sentence as many other states, it will impact your pocketbook much more heavily.

For example, a first-time DWI offender will be assessed a fine of up to $2,000. As the number of offenses increases, the fine skyrockets – from up to $4,000 for a second offense to $10,000 for the third. It is clear that DWI convictions can get very expensive very quickly. However, paying a hefty initial fine isn’t the end of the story. In addition to that initial fine, plus license suspension, plus jail time, Texas also uses a system called “conviction-based surcharges,” which strike further at the finances of DWI offenders.

Here’s how it works. The first time a person is convicted of a DWI in Texas, they are fined up to $2,000, their license suspended for up to a year, and possibly jailed for up to three months. On top of that, the state will also assess an annual surcharge of $1,000 for the next three years. In other words, even after paying the initial $2,000 fine, the offender will have to pay out an additional $3,000 over three years. And it gets better. On the second DWI conviction, that annual surcharge becomes $1,500 over three years, or a total of $4,500 in addition to any other fines or penalties. Plus, if a DWI conviction involves a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.16 or higher, the annual surcharge is raised to $2,000 over three years, or $6,000 total.

Now here’s the punch line – all the surcharges are cumulative. Meaning, if you are currently paying off a $1,000 surcharge for three years for a first DWI offense, and you are convicted of a second DWI during those three years, you get the new $1,500 surcharge added to the $1,000 you’re already paying, meaning $2,500 per year. And all of that is stacked on top of the heavy initial fines charged by the state.

If you are convicted of a DWI in Texas, prepare to pay out huge amounts of money to the state for fines and annual surcharges. Don’t let this financial disaster happen to you – call (214) 845-7007 to reach the law office of Dallas DWI lawyer Mark Lassiter.


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