How Much Does a DWI Cost
Let’s break down the complicated subject of DWI’s, starting off with how much does a DWI cost and then the appropriate steps to take. In addition, you can learn more about the appropriate steps to take following your first DWI on this page here.
For anyone unfamiliar, DWI’s describe impaired or drunk driving while DUI’s are the actual charge for doing so. In Louisiana, DWI’s and DUI’s refer to the same crime. Learn more about the difference here.
The “Face” Cost of a DWI
For a 1st time DWI offense or DWI charges, the driver is charged anywhere between $300 to $1,000. This range depends on severity which is determined through B.A.C. levels. This price range is much less when considering subsequent or repeated offenses charges.
Though drunk driving is a very real problem, people make mistakes. Furthermore, rather than beating yourself up, take away from the experience; learn to never do it again. That’s part of the reason this first offensive is considered a misdemeanor and not a felony.
The subsequent DWI offenses are less forgiving and increase with frequency.
- 2nd Offense – $750 to $1,000
- 3rd Offense – $2,000
- 4th and onward Offenses – $5,000
Additional Sentences (Misdemeanor)
After paying your fine, there are several other mandatory things that you’ll need to serve.
For the 1st and 2nd offenses, which are both considered misdemeanors, you are risking:
- Jail time
- Community Service
- (2nd offense only) Ignition InterLock Device
NOTE: Even the punishment severity between the 1st and 2nd offense is tremendous in the above catagories. For instance, you are looking at 3 times more in the initial fine, jail time, and community service hours. It doesn’t matter that both are classified as misdemeanors.
Additional Sentences (Felony)
For any offense above 3, the charges towards them will be considered felony charges. In addition, you risk:
- Jail time
- Community Service
- Substance Abuse Evaluation
- Substance Abuse Treatment
- Home Incineration
- Ignition Interlock System
How Much in Total
The average cost of even the 1st DWI averages out to be $6,000. Why so much when the upfront fee is only $300 to $1,000? That’s because there’s a lot of hidden fees that you may be neglecting to account for.
You are looking at
- Raised insurance
- DMV fees
- Re-education fees
- Towing and storage
- Court order fines
- Ignition Interlock Device fee
- Attorney fees
The Social Costs
Not only does your reputation get tarnished, you’ll also face problems at work. While the average cost of the 1st DWI offense averages out to be $6,000, that does not account from wages lost because of your misdemeanor. In fact, individuals have reported an average $4,400 lost in wages alone. Future employers may also question you as a result of your DWI charge years down the line.
What is the Next Step
Hire an experienced DWI defense attorney. It’s going to save face, help you drop charges, and help you financially rebound more soundly. After all, once we add everything up, we know that the cost of a DWI offense is much more than the $300 upfront cost.
While the average cost of the first offense is $6,000, you will be able to hire an experienced DWI defense attorney for $2,000. With an experienced or the best DWI attorney near you, your DWI is likely to be dismissed. This is especially true if it was your first time. It will be much better if you attempt to beat the charge and be able to strike it from your permanent records.
Certain fees will still need to be paid (e.g. court fees) but insurance, wages, jail time, and suspensions can be avoided. But overall, a DWI attorney is well worth the price.
It’s also important to note that there is a limited time before hearings. If you decide to hire an DWI attorney, you’ll need to act quickly.
To Wrap Up
DWI’s happen. One thing leads to another and you just slip up. It doesn’t mean you’re a raging alcoholic or a terrible adult. But, truth be told, there is a stigma behind DWI’s, and it could lead to negative situations, whether it’s social or economic.
That’s why you need to hire a DWI attorney. Not only will it save you money, it will serve to clear your name and control long term damage. Just make sure to hire an experienced attorney who knows exactly what they’re doing.
We hope you now know how much does a DWI cost and wish you the best of luck!