Will you risk the emotional, financial, social and professional upheaval that results from a DWI arrest and conviction in Texas to avoid abandoning your car overnight?
The Texas Department of Transportation reports that in 2009 alcohol was a factor in 2,665 vehicle collisions in Dallas County. Of these crashes, 54 resulted in the 56 fatalities, 39 of which were the person driving under the influence. Only Harris County ranks higher than Dallas County in the number of total crashes and and in the number of fatalities in which alcohol was a factor and no county reports higher numbers for DUI crashes with serious injuries, the number of serious injuries reported, the number of other injury crashes or the number of total injuries.
While these numbers for Dallas county are staggering, they only tell part of the grim story of DWI related crashes in North Texas. If we look beyond the Dallas County line, we find that three of our neighbors are also included among the ranks of the ten most dangerous counties in the state of Texas for DUI related crashes, fatalities and injuries.
||6 months jail
||1 year jail
||2-10 years prison
|Max License Suspension
|Penalties to keep license
||$1,000 / year / 3 years
||$1,500 / year / 3 years
||$2,000 / year / 3 years
And don't forget that you will want to get out of jail as soon as possible. If you drink and drive, you should keep $500 to $2,500 in cash available for a friend or family member to hand over to the bail bondsman or you will be in the crossbar motel long after you want to check out.
When you go to jail, your car goes to jail, too. You may get out easier than your ride.
|Cost of Vehicle Impound
||If recovered the day of your arrest.
|Daily Storage Fee
||X number of days your car remains unclaimed
||For letter telling you where the car is impounded
Be prepared to find your possessions missing from your reclaimed vehicle; theft is frequent at the City of Dallas Auto Impound. Be prepared to wait several hours for service and to be turned away from the lot without your vehicle if the lot closes before you reach the claim window. Additional storage fees will be charged regardless of how many days you wait in line to claim your vehicle. Total fees for recovering an impounded car can be as much as $1,200.
It's also possible that you can lose your car completely if your car is claimed by a lien holder or if you are unable to claim your vehicle before it is sold at auction as "unclaimed property."
Legal Costs Associated with DWI
The cost for legal representation for a DWI charge can range from $2,500 to $25,000. If your attorney hires an investigator, expect your legal costs to increase by up to $3,000.
Unquantifiable Costs of DWI
Is driving your car home when you are under the influence of alcohol worth more to you than keeping your job? A DWI arrest, regardless of conviction, can cost your job in some fields such as medical, legal, educational. Some employers require a code of conduct agreement prior to employment which is violated by past or future DWI arrests.
Are you required to drive a vehicle of any sort as part of your employment? If so, your employer will likely be forced to replace you to satisfy insurance requirements.
If you're not in a field without ethical conduct expectations and your job description doesn't require you to drive a vehicle, your boss won't be impressed when you're in custody when you should be on the clock. How many days will your boss hold your job for you?
Speaking of Insurance...
If you are able to find coverage for auto insurance after a DWI conviction, rates are likely to be as much as three times what you pay now.
In the year prior to April 10, 2011, the population of Texas jails, prisons and lockdown substance abuse facilities included:
- 6,387 DWI offenders;
- 5,128 individuals convicted of DWI were received by the Department of Criminal Justice;
- released 4,082 felony DWI convicts through the Department of Parole;
- 19,136 individuals on felony DWI supervision;
- 38,071 drivers on misdemeanor probation;
- 783,905 Texans have been convicted of DWI 3 times or more