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Charlotte Law Blog

The True Costs of a DWI

On behalf of Randall & Stump, PLLC in Charlotte, Charlotte DWI Attorney, DUI/DWI on Tuesday, October 29, 2019


You are probably aware that a DWI conviction could result in probation, jail time, and other serious consequences. However, many people neglect to consider the economic costs of a DWI, which could total thousands of dollars. The truth of the matter is that you could be dealing with the fallout from your DWI conviction for a very long time.

The DWI lawyers at Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys know how to get you a fair result. We help you understand your options and fight for your rights to make sure your DWI case doesn’t become a burden for the rest of your life. If you’d like to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced DWI lawyers, call us today at (980) 237-4579 or fill out our online contact form to learn more about how we can help you.


The first cost you may have to incur is bail. Ultimately, you will get this money back, if you or someone you know pays the bond in its entirety. If you are unable to post the bond yourself, you will have to pay a small fee, calculated as a percentage of your total secured bond amount, to the bail bondsman, which you do not get back.

Restoration of Your Driving Privileges

Simply being charged with DWI will result in the automatic civil revocation of your North Carolina driving privilege. After 10 days of your civil revocation, you may be eligible to apply for a pretrial limited driving privilege. However, you will have to pay a $100 fee to the clerk of court for this privilege. The automatic suspension will expire after 30 days, and you will again have to pay a $100 restoration fee to the clerk of court, even if you didn’t apply for the pretrial limited driving privilege.

If you do not get your license reinstated or are not eligible to do so, you will likely have to pay a significant amount of money in order to use public transportation.

Court Costs

If you are convicted of DWI, the court will order you to pay court costs. These are usually around $190, and represent the various costs the court has incurred in handling your case.

Court Fines

You also face heavy fines if you are convicted of DWI. The potential fines will vary according to the circumstances of your case and the severity of your DWI charge. North Carolina has five levels of DWI sentencing:

  • Level I: Fines of up to $4,000
  • Level II: Fines of up to $2,000
  • Level III: Fines of up to $1,000
  • Level IV: Fines of up to $500
  • Level V: Fines of up to $200

Even for a Level V DWI, the fines imposed by the court will be in addition to all of the other costs you will have to pay. If there are aggravating factors and you are charged with an Aggravated Level I DWI, you could potentially face up to $10,000 in fines.

Classes, Counseling, and Community Service

If you are convicted, it is very likely that you will be ordered to attend substance abuse classes, seek counseling, perform some community service, or some combination of all three. Each of these, however, have an additional cost that you will have to pay. Substance abuse programs often cost around $260 per session. If you have to complete community service, you will likely have to pay fees of approximately $250. Other alcohol assessments or other programs can cost approximately $100 per session. Ongoing counseling and treatment could cost thousands before you are done.

Attorney’s Fees

Of course, if you choose to hire an attorney, you will have to pay attorney’s fees even if you don’t prevail. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, this could cost several thousand dollars. That said, an experienced DWI lawyer can help you avoid a conviction or help you negotiate a very favorable resolution of your case.


A conviction will almost certainly cause your insurance premiums to rise, and the increase will probably be significant, typically around a 300% increase. Over the course of a year, your conviction could cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars in premium increases.

Non-Economic Costs of a DWI

A DWI conviction can wind up costing you thousands of dollars. However, the true costs of a DWI can extend far beyond the dollars and cents. A DWI conviction will be a matter of public record, causing embarrassment among your family and friends. You may lose your job and find it hard to secure future employment. If you have a professional license, your DWI conviction could jeopardize your ability to work in your chosen profession.

Contact a Charlotte DWI Lawyer

Don’t let your DWI charges jeopardize your future – you need someone on your side who will make sure you get the best possible outcome. Contact the DWI lawyers at Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys for a free consultation to discuss your case and learn more about how we can help you