The DWI Lawyer Facts in Austin
The $1,000,000 Austin DWI lawyer question is “Why are there so many drunk driving arrests in our fair city?”
If you have been arrested in central Texas for DWI, you are not alone. Each year thousands of people are arrested for DWI (driving while intoxicated) in Austin. In fact Travis County has the highest DWI arrests per capita in the STATE!
While the final numbers are not in yet, the county could stand to earn $8.7 million from the arrests issued for driving while intoxicated in 2012 — figures which have earned the highest rate of DWI arrests per Austin resident. So why is Travis the leader in DWI arrests? One prominent theory has led to accusations that the county is “farming the poor” for badly-needed revenue.
According to criminal records, there were 5,968 class A and B misdemeanor DWI arrests in the county in 2011. That does not include felony DWI arrest for repeat offenders nor does it take into account felony DWIs with a child passenger.
If you’re confused about the difference between a DWI and a DUI, you’re not alone! Did you know that a person can be charged with both a DUI and a DWI in Austin? Find out the details on DUI vs. DWI from a top Austin DWI lawyer.
Why Get an Austin DWI Lawyer?
Having an experienced Austin DWI lawyer is no longer just a luxury. It has become imperative to protect yourself. Excellent DWI lawyers live all over the state, but you will need a local attorney. The advantages of having an local lawyer should not be discounted. Local based attorneys will know the prosecutors and judges better and will have an understanding of local politics that attorneys from other counties will not. A locally-based DWI attorney will know Austin DWI prosecutors and judges better and will have an understanding of Austin politics that DWI lawyers from other counties will not. A strong relationship between your lawyer and Austin judges and prosecutors could be the difference between dismissal and a Travis County jail term, public embarrassment, and devastating financial consequences.
Austin DWIs can be the most expensive in the nation, most costing between $7,000 and $10,000 each. While every case is different if you don’t have an excellent Austin DWI lawyer you will be subjecting yourself to unwanted liability. Counties collect up to $6,500 of that revenue from fees, surcharges and probation charges. With Travis County issuing more DWI arrests per citizen than any other county in Texas, the budget reflects such profits.
Follow the DWI Arrest Money
“Revenue collected is not specific to offense type,” said Neomia Bailey, misdemeanor division director for the County Clerk. “Travis County Clerk collects all court costs and fees. The rest is general budget.”
Translation: The more DWI arrests, the more it money the county makes. Understanding this is something a good Austin DWI lawyer uses to his advantage. While most will agree that DWI is a preventable crime and one which people should not commit, juries don’t like the idea of the Police Departments making unneeded DWI arrests. An experienced Austin DWI lawyer will point out the financial incentives to the county. You can bet your child’s college tuition that the state will not bring it to the jury’s attention.
To better understand where the money goes consider these facts. If you are placed on probation for either a first or second offense (fairly common in Travis County), you will pay a monthly probation fee, a fine, and court costs that are prorated over of your probation term.
Money that goes into the county budget includes probation fees of $60 per month for a maximum of two years, up to $2,000 in fines, and a Texas surcharge of $1,000 per year for three years or $1500 a year if your case is a second offense or you had a breath or blood test over .15. The surcharge, instituted by the Department of Public Safety in 2005, was originally supposed to fund hospital emergency rooms in respective counties.
However, since the recession, the money collected from such surcharges goes into general funding. Talk about a conflict of interest!
Remember, if you are accused of DWI in Travis County you will need an experienced Austin DWI lawyer. When the odds are stacked against you and the DWI stakes are so terribly high, you shouldn’t gamble. Contact the Law Office of James Gill today for a free evaluation of your case. If you or a friend are currently in jail, please see our Jail Release page for our tips about getting out fast and with less hassle.