What Is the DWI Surcharge in Texas?

By Jeff Kennedy

Drivers in Texas aren’t always aware of the laws that affect them if they’re convicted of certain offenses. For instance, many people are aware that, if convicted of a DWI in Texas, they will be saddled with fines and suspension fees in order to get their drivers licenses back. Not everyone is aware that they can also be forced to pay a surcharge if they are convicted of certain offenses.

Surcharges are fees that the drivers must pay each year in order to retain their drivers licenses. These surcharges can be charged based on points or based on the offense you’ve pleaded guilty to or been convicted of.

More Information About DWI Surcharges in Texas

For DWI offenses, you will be charged a surcharge in addition to the fines and license suspension fees you must also pay. The following information shows you the typical surcharge amount for some DWI crimes in Texas:

  • First-Offense DWI – Surcharge of $1,000
  • Second or Subsequent DWI – Surcharge of $1,500
  • DWI Offense with BAC of .16 or Greater – Surcharge of $2,000

You also need to be aware that the surcharge is not a one-time fee. It’s a yearly fee that you will pay for three years. Other costs associated with DWI convictions could include the cost of an ignition interlock device, probation fees, and the cost of alcohol treatment.

How Can I Avoid Paying the Texas DWI Surcharge?

There’s really only one way to avoid paying the DWI surcharge: to not be convicted of a DWI. Many people sign a plea agreement without understanding the full financial ramifications of their decision. It’s important for you to understand that there are defenses against the a DWI charge.

DWIs have many other negative consequences in addition to the financial penalties you’ll face. You could go to jail, and you could lose your job. You will likely struggle to secure gainful employment in the future because of a DWI conviction.

Possible defenses against a DWI charge include the following:

  • You weren’t drinking and driving at all, and there was some mistake.
  • You were pulled over illegally.
  • The field sobriety tests were faulty.
  • The breath testing device was not properly calibrated.
  • The officer made procedural errors that could lead to a case dismissal.
  • Your rights were violated.
  • The laboratory made errors when testing your sample.
  • There’s not enough evidence against you to convict you of a DWI offense.

Reach Out to a Fort Worth DWI Attorney

Not every person charged with a DWI is guilty of the offense, and many people don’t realize they have options for fighting to avoid a conviction. Your future is important, and you deserve a strong defense.

Speak with a DWI lawyer about your drunk driving charge and discover what options you have. A DWI surcharge is not the only negative consequence of a conviction. Call the Law Offices of Jeff C. Kennedy today at 817-605-1010 or fill out the online contact form at the bottom of this page.


Jeff C. Kennedy was the light of hope at the end of very dark storm. He was not only able to defend my case swiftly, but had the alleged charges dismissed completely. His calm and empathetic demeanor offered emotional succor to myself and those I care about most. My children and I are eternally grateful for his excellent service and I hereby recommend Jeff C. Kennedy without reservation.


Jeff Kennedy truly cares. He and his staff kept me informed all the way throughout my case and provided me with all my options and the potential outcomes for my case. When the day finally arrived to resolve my case, Jeff was able to negotiate a reduction to a lesser charge. He was well prepared and coordinated everything perfectly. Jeff is not only a good lawyer, but a good man.


I hired Mr. Jeff Kennedy to handle a DWI charge. From day one, I knew I had picked the right attorney. Jeff always took the time to answer any of my questions, treated me very professionally, and truly cared about my case. I have never been in any kind of trouble before and I was very nervous about the thought of going to trial. Jeff thoroughly explained the entire process to me and made me feel at ease. Jeff took my case to trial and the jury found me NOT GUILTY!


Jeff Kennedy is a professional, intelligent, easy-to-talk-to lawyer with an excellent understanding of how the system works. Jeff was able to get my twice the legal limit BAC thrown out and he kept me from having an interlock device put on my car. This has been my only big mistake in life so far (hopefully the last) and I am glad he was there to walk me through it. You will not regret hiring him.

9133 Belshire Dr
North Richland Hills,
Texas 76182
301 W Vickery Blvd Suite #101
Fort Worth, Texas 76104
303 W Abram St
Texas 76010
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