Hiring an Attorney to Defend You Can Lessen the Insurance Impact
There are many potential negative ramifications of a DWI conviction in Texas. You may spend time in jail and/or pay a hefty fine and court fees. You could lose your license for a significant period of time or be required to have an ignition interlock installed on your vehicle. Another byproduct of a conviction—your motor vehicle insurance premiums could go up substantially, or you might even have your insurance cancelled!
It may seem like the impact on your insurance coverage is the area where an attorney would have the least impact, but an insurance industry study came to a different conclusion. In fact, the data collected by researchers at QuoteWizard suggests that hiring a lawyer to aggressively defend you on DWI charges can more than pay for itself by helping you avoid both premium increases and additional fines. The analysts at QuoteWizard talked with defense lawyers, considered conviction data and examined insurance rates. When they crunched the numbers, here’s what they found:
- If you hire an attorney to handle your DWI prosecution, you are up to three times more likely to have the charges reduced
- The difference between insurance rates if you’ve convicted for negligent or reckless driving, as opposed to driving under the influence? An average of almost $500 every year.
- The average annual cost of a DWI conviction (in terms of your motor vehicle insurance)—About $830!
The Breakdown of Effects to Your Car Insurance After DWI
Before seeking quotes from insurers, QuoteWizard put together a profile for a hypothetical driver. For purposes of the study, that motorist was 30 years of age, single and currently insured for 10 years. The insured vehicle was a 2010 Honda Accord, fully paid for, and the driver put an average of 10,000 miles on the car each year, primarily back and forth from work. The quotes assumed state minimums of personal liability, property damage and uninsured motorist coverage, with $500 comprehensive and collision deductibles. QuoteWizard then obtained quotes for male and for female drivers who had:
- A clean driving record
- A negligent driving charge
- A DWI charge
According to the data collected, the average court fees and fines for a person without an attorney was $3,600. That average was reduced to just $1,600 when the defendant opted to hire a lawyer. In addition, an unrepresented defendant incurred, on average, a $3,400 increase in insurance premiums over a three year period. A defendant who chose to retain counsel experienced an average premium increase of only $1,500 over the same period. The average cost of an attorney was $2,500, but that expense was more than offset by the reduction in fines, fees and insurance premium increases.
Among the costs that can be reduced or avoided by hiring legal counsel are:
- Court-imposed fines, which in Texas can be as much as $4,000 for a first time offender
- Traffic school or treatment programs — Anywhere from $150 to $500 or more
- Ignition interlock fees — You will be assessed an installation fee ($75 to $150) and a monthly maintenance fee (up to $100)
- Department of Motor Vehicle fees, including license reinstatement costs
Contact the Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys at Bailey & Galyen
We aggressively defend people who have been charged with drinking and driving or operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol. To set up a free initial consultation, contact us online or call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.