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2024 How Much Does a DWI Lawyer Cost in Texas?

How much does a DWI lawyer cost in Texas is one of the first questions you may have when facing Driving While Intoxicated charges. The truth is that the expense of hiring a DWI defense attorney in Houston, TX, depends in large part on the complexity of your own DWI situation, as well as other factors.

What Goes Into Determining Your Attorney Fees

The more complex a case, the more time and energy a lawyer has to spend understanding the situation, examining evidence, researching, potentially hiring other professionals or witnesses to aid your case, etc. With complex cases, it is more likely that a legal professional will ask for an hourly rate, as they want to be paid for the extra hours they invest into building your defense and bargaining on your behalf.

Similar to hiring any other trained individual, the price will vary with educational background, experience, and specific skills they bring. Seasoned lawyers who have invested time learning the intricacies of DWI laws will charge more for their time than newly minted attorneys who are still building their legal knowledge.

Hourly Fees Versus Flat Fees

The difference between hourly fees and flat fees is evident in the name. An hourly fee will be a set hourly price that is paid for each chunk of time that your lawyer invests in your case. If you and your legal representative agree that you will pay them $200 per hour, then a case that requires 10 hours of their time will come to $2000. Attorneys may choose an hourly fee for a specific part of the case that seems like it will require unforeseen effort.

A flat fee is a set price that may cover the entirety of your lawyer’s services or a select portion of your case. In this situation, it does not matter how many hours your lawyer invests; rather, they will work the required hours it takes to accomplish the given tasks for a specific amount of money. If the work takes longer than anticipated, there will still not be unanticipated costs for you to deal with.

Case Complexity and Levels of DWI Offenses

DWI cases become more severe and often more complex with repeat offenses. While a first-time offense will typically be a misdemeanor, a third, fourth, or subsequent DWI will be dealt with as a felony. Unsurprisingly, felony cases come with higher consequences and may come with higher lawyer fees.

DWIs that involve minors under the age of 15 as passengers, underage drivers, or especially injury to another person or persons will have further considerations. If, for example, you receive a DWI after a crash that has resulted in someone’s death, you will likely be facing an intoxication manslaughter charge, as well as potential legal claims from insurance and the family of the deceased. This would make the case both grave and complicated and lead to higher lawyer fees.

How to Set Yourself Up for a Better Case Outcome

Beyond working with a reputable attorney and getting proper legal guidance, there are steps you can take during a DWI incident that will set you up for a better case outcome. These steps include:

  • Cooperating with law enforcement requests to use a breathalyzer or other chemical testing at the time of the incident. Refusing to take a chemical test can actually negatively impact the court’s ruling on your case.
  • Respecting law enforcement and not acting belligerently, as your behavior in the situation will likely be documented by law enforcement and given as evidence.
  • Remaining silent, particularly when being arrested and booked at the jail. It is within your rights and a smart decision to remain silent until you can speak to an attorney, as anything you say can and will be used against you.


Q: Do I Need a Lawyer for a DWI in Texas?

A: While it is always up to your own judgment whether to hire a DWI lawyer, it is usually to your advantage to work with a lawyer when facing DWI charges. Texas DWI penalties can be severe, particularly if this is not your first DWI offense. Working with a lawyer can minimize the harm caused by your DWI and can be the most effective way to reduce or even dismiss the charges against you.

Q: How Much Is the First Offense for a DWI in Texas?

A: Penalties for the first offense vary with the circumstances surrounding your DWI. If, for example, your BAC was over .15%, you will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. If your BAC was between .08% and .15%, you will be facing a Class B misdemeanor. In the more serious case, you could face up to $4000 in fines alone and up to a year in jail. With the Class B misdemeanor, you could pay $2000 in fines and spend up to 180 days in jail.

Q: How Do You Get a DWI Dismissed in Texas?

A: To get a DWI dismissed, there must be sufficient reason to do so. Often, the basis for dismissal will be errors on the part of law enforcement. If, for example, the evidence gathered by officers is not cohesive, if there was no reasonable cause to pull you over, or if the chemical testing was done incorrectly, there may be a chance of getting a case dismissed. Seasoned DWI lawyers develop skills in knowing how to get their clients’ cases dismissed, if possible.

Q: How Do I Win a DWI Case in Texas?

A: If possible, winning a case looks like keeping the DWI case from having you go to court at all. The optimal outcome is to get your case acquitted and to have the court drop your case entirely. The more likely win is getting your charges reduced or perhaps having the DWI charges changed into a careless driving plea. Plea bargains are often a way to win a case in the sense of minimizing the severity of the case outcome.

Dealing with a DWI case is overwhelming, particularly when you have to go it alone. You may feel intimidated by potential attorney costs, but don’t let that deter you from looking for a qualified DWI defense attorney in Houston. Having the right attorney can make a world of difference in the outcome of your DWI case. If you want to discuss case details and potential costs, reach out to us at the Law Office of Joseph Ruiz, PLLC.

Law Office of Joseph Ruiz, PLLC