Houston DWI Lawyer Cost & Fees
Those facing DWI charges in Texas are usually aware that the process will be costly, but many defendants, even first-time offenders, are unprepared for the true cost of a DWI conviction. A first-time DWI conviction can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000, if not more.
While hiring a Houston DWI specialist may appear to be an expensive undertaking, an attorney with DWI litigation experience is well worth the reasonable cost. A DWI conviction can have severe repercussions. You may end up spending more money if you save money on a lawyer and the case goes wrong. You could face jail time, court fines, as well as state-mandated penalties and a lengthy license suspension. A criminal conviction can also have long-term professional and personal consequences. When the cost of hiring a skilled attorney is weighed against the potential immediate and long-term consequences of a DWI conviction, you should contact an attorney right away. Make an appointment for a free consultation as soon as possible to discuss your options.
Average Attorney Cost in Houston
The first thing that comes to mind is how much a DWI lawyer costs. If you intend to hire a DWI Lawyer, the first step is to enter your plea in the case. A DWI lawyer will cost between $700 and $1,500 when entering a plea. If the case does not proceed, this is all you will have to pay the lawyer.
However, if your case goes to trial, your legal fees will rise. In these cases, you can expect to pay between $1,500 and $4,000 in attorney fees. If your case is complicated and lengthy, the cost could be $10,000 or more.
The overall cost will be determined by the case’s complexity. The costs will rise if your case lasts longer in court than the average trial. The costs will rise if your case requires witnesses and expert testimony.
Structures of Fees
While knowing when to hire a DUI lawyer is critical, you should also be aware of the average costs. DWI lawyers have two fee structures to choose from: hourly and flat rate. Before you hire a lawyer, you should inquire about their fee structure.
If you choose an hourly fee schedule, you can expect to pay around $300 per hour. This will depend on the lawyer’s experience, with some in Houston charging up to $550 per hour. If your case will be quickly resolved, this fee structure is ideal. This is the best fee structure if you know you will only be invoiced for a short period of time.
When you have a more complex case, a flat fee is preferable because it covers the entire case. Flat rates are typically around $3,000 and can be paid off with a payment plan. If your lawyer suggests this payment method, it means that they believe your case can be settled without a lengthy trial.
Court Fees, Penalties, and Costs
When it comes to lawyer fees, you may overlook the court costs, penalties, and fees. All of these expenses will be added to the amount you must pay your lawyer. The issue is that these costs can quickly add up and vary depending on the case and court.
One of the first costs is bail, which can range from $100 to $2,000 or more depending on the circumstances of your case. If your bail is contingent on a drug test, you must pay for it. You will also be responsible for driver responsibility fees, which vary by state and county.
A DWI lawyer can cost as little as $700, but there is no upper limit. While many people understand what a DUI lawyer is, they are unaware that their services are not free. You must discuss fees with your lawyer before agreeing to work with them.
DWI Professional Financial Costs
The professional implications of a DWI are much more challenging to quantify. If you are a pilot or a CDL holder, a DWI conviction could mean the end of your driving career. However, many self-employed people will be unaffected professionally by a DWI. Most people fall somewhere in between these two categories, and a DWI conviction may make it difficult to obtain a job or a professional license.
Houston first DWI
Maximum $2,000 fine, 3-180 days in jail, license suspension for up to one year, and up to $2,000 per year for three years to keep your license
Houston second DWI
Maximum $4,000 fine, 30 days to one year in jail, license suspension for up to two years, same annual fee to keep license
Houston third DWI
Maximum $10,000 fine, 2 – 10 years in state prison, license suspension for up to 2 years, same annual fee to keep license
Houston DWI With Child Passenger
If you have a child under the age of 15 in your vehicle, you could be charged with child endangerment.
Maximum $10,000 fine, up to 2 years in prison, license suspension for up to 6 months, and other fees apply.
Houston Open Container Violation
Class C misdemeanor with a $500 fine. If you are also charged with DWI, you will face a Class B misdemeanor and 6 days in jail.
Houston Intoxication Manslaughter
Felony in the Second Degree
2 – 20 years in state prison [mandatory minimum] Maximum fine of $10,000