Is it cheaper to plead guilty to a DWI charge?

On Behalf of | Apr 4, 2023 | DWI Defense

It’s quite common for people to assume that it is not feasible to successfully defend against a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge in Texas. These cases often seem open-and-shut to members of the public, especially given that police officers often conduct field sobriety tests and chemical breath tests as they determine whether they have grounds to arrest someone for a DWI.

Frequently, people make the incorrect assumption that pleading guilty is their only option when facing a DWI charge or that pleading guilty is the cheapest solution. However, a review of the possible consequences of DWI charges can help someone see the potential value in working with a legal professional to present a solid defense.

Pleading guilty is often an expensive mistake

It is common for people to underestimate the impact of a DWI conviction. They may fail to understand the severity of the penalties they face and how a judge has some degree of discretion regarding the consequences handed down by the courts.

Depending on the circumstances and the judge, even a first-time DWI offense could lead to the maximum penalties permissible under state law. That could mean thousands of dollars in fines and major costs related to court.

Additionally, the person who pleads guilty can expect to pay hundreds of dollars more per year for car insurance. Those higher premiums will persist for multiple years, quickly adding up to a sizable amount of money.

Research into policy premiums makes it clear that a DWI offense has a massive impact on insurance costs. The average adult in Texas pays $1,415 for a year of coverage. That will increase by $762 after a DWI conviction. Drivers pay $2,178 on average annually for coverage with a single DWI, an increase of roughly 54%.

A DWI conviction affects income too

Expenses aren’t the only consideration when choosing whether it is responsible to fight back against a DWI charge or not. Defendants also have to consider the potential chilling effect on someone’s career.

In some professions, a driving offense might lead to someone losing their job right away. A criminal conviction could make someone ineligible for professional licensing or a specific job. People with criminal records will also have a hard time getting the best positions with other companies.

After thoroughly considering the financial and career consequences of a DWI charge, many people will realize that a successful defense is actually more cost-effective than pleading guilty and putting oneself at the mercy of the courts. Understanding the potential consequences of Texas DWI charges can help people to decide how to respond after an arrest with the assistance of an experienced legal professional.

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