DWI Talk: Texas' $6,000 "Super" Fine
Updated: Mar 10
By Sholdon Daniels
As a criminal defense practitioner, it is important to understand the consequences of being convicted of certain intoxicated driver offenses in Texas. The Transportation Code, specifically Chapter 709, outlines the fines associated with these offenses.
In addition to the fine prescribed for the specific offense, a person who has been finally convicted of an offense relating to the operating of a motor vehicle while intoxicated shall pay a fine of $3,000 for the first conviction within a 36-month period, $4,500 for a second or subsequent conviction within a 36-month period, and $6,000 for a first or subsequent conviction if it is shown on the trial of the offense that an analysis of a specimen of the person's blood, breath, or urine showed an alcohol concentration level of 0.15 or more at the time the analysis was performed.
However, it is important to note that if the court having jurisdiction over an offense that is the basis for a fine imposed under this section makes a finding that the person is indigent, the court shall waive all fines and costs imposed on the person under this section.
To establish that a person is indigent, they must provide information to the court in which they are convicted of the offense. This can include a copy of the person's most recent federal income tax return that shows that the person's income or the person's household income does not exceed 125 percent of the applicable income level established by the federal poverty guidelines, a copy of the person's most recent statement of wages that shows that the person's income or the person's household income does not exceed 125 percent of the applicable income level established by the federal poverty guidelines, or documentation from a federal agency, state agency, or school district that indicates that the person or, if the person is a dependent as defined by Section 152, Internal Revenue Code of 1986, the taxpayer claiming the person as a dependent, receives assistance from various programs.
An officer collecting a traffic fine under this section in a case in a justice, county, or district court shall keep separate records of the money collected and shall deposit the money in the county treasury. Each calendar quarter, the officer collecting a traffic fine shall submit a report to the comptroller.
Of the money received by the comptroller under this section, 80 percent is deposited to the credit of the undedicated portion of the general revenue fund, to be used only for criminal justice purposes, and 20 percent is deposited to the credit of the designated trauma facility and emergency medical services account under Section 780.003, Health and Safety Code, to be used only for the criminal justice purpose of funding designated trauma facilities, county and regional emergency medical services, and trauma care systems that provide trauma care and emergency medical services to victims of accidents resulting from traffic offenses.
In conclusion, it is important to understand the fines associated with being convicted of certain intoxicated driver offenses in Texas, as well as the options available to those who may be indigent. It is also important for officers collecting traffic fines to keep accurate records and submit reports to the comptroller.
If you have any questions about DWI fines or related issues, call 1-844-SHOLDON.