Cost of a DWI

If you're thinking about drinking and driving this holiday weekend, you might reconsider. Houston Public Radio's Paul Pendergraft reports, the Texas Department of Transportation has completed a survey that shows the real cost of a first time DWI offense.

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Aside from the genuine safety concerns, there are some attention getting hard costs associated with a DWI. Jim Hollis of the Texas Department of Transportation reports his agency commissioned a survey that calculated all the real expenses connected to a first time offense. He says a first time DWI could come with a price tag of $24,000.

"Car being towed and impounded, that's going to cost you 300 bucks. Bail for release from jail can be up to $5,000. Attorney's fees, up to $10,000 in Houston just to get an attorney to defend your case. Court costs up to $400. Then we have the license suspension. If your license is suspending, either you didn't submit to a breath test, you have an automatic license suspension. To get that license back could cost you up to a $1,000. The DWI fine itself--obviously if you're convicted is $2,000. Even after all this is done, now in the state of Texas, there's a $1000 a year for three years fee to get your driver's license renewed each year."

Hollis says they didn't assign a dollar figure to the time you would spend dealing with all this nor did they put a value on the overall frustration. He says past public education campaigns have focused on the safety issues. He says this one deals with the pocketbook and might make people think twice before getting behind the wheel after having too much to drink.

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