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Ignition interlock devices: Expensive and required for some Texas DWIs

Getting a driving while intoxicated, or DWI, conviction in Texas is expensive. In fact, a recent article published in MSN Money found these convictions can lead to over $10,000 in costs. These costs can include:

  • The initial ticket.
  • Bail. Depending on whether a bonding company is used or not, the cost of bail can run from $150 to $2,500.
  • Insurance spikes. A drunken driving conviction can lead to increased insurance rates. These rate increases can last five or more years after the incident and can lead to prices that are double or even quadruple the price of coverage before the DWI ticket. In some cases, insurers may even drop a driver who has a DWI conviction on record.

Unfortunately, these are just a few of the fees associated with this ticket. Another cost in Texas can include that of ignition interlock devices.

Ignition interlock devices and Texas law

In Texas, drivers who receive a second or subsequent DWI are required to install an ignition interlock device on all motor vehicles the driver owns. In some circumstances, a first time DWI offender may also have to install the device. This generally occurs if the driver had a blood alcohol content greater than 0.15.

The driver is generally required to cover the cost of installation and maintenance of the device for a year following a period of mandatory license suspension. Requirements are strict, including use of a device approved by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The device works by preventing the vehicle from starting until an alcohol free breath sample is provided. In an attempt to reduce the risk of using a third party to provide the sample, a rolling retest is conducted. This means additional samples are often required within 15 minutes of starting the vehicle. A record of any failed tests is kept and additional tests are required within 45 minute intervals.

Take charges seriously, get legal help

Clearly, the cost of a DWI in Texas is steep. As a result, those charged with a DWI should take the charges seriously. A strong defense could lead to a reduction, or even dismissal, of charges. If, for example, an officer did not have cause to make a stop when you were pulled over, your legal rights may have been violated. This could mean any evidence confiscated during the stop is inadmissible in court.

This is just one example of a defense that a legal professional can explore for you. If you are charged with a DWI in Texas, contact an experienced Texas DWI attorney to better ensure your legal rights are protected.