The potential costs of a DUI arrest can be very high, as drunk drivers often face large fines, possible jail time, or a suspended license. The costs of a DUI, however, often extend beyond these immediate losses.
For example, many people who are convicted for a DUI find that their insurance premiums rise dramatically. Insurance companies, quite naturally, are more reluctant to insure drivers with a history of drunk driving.
According to a recent report from Fox Business, insurance premiums for drivers with a DUI on their driving record could rise anywhere from 30 to 100 percent.
In Colorado, for example, rates may jump by 30 percent, while North Carolina residents could face a staggering spike of 340 percent on their next car insurance bill. Some insurance companies may drop customers altogether, depending on the severity of the drunk driving incident.
While insurance rates may spike after a DUI, this rise is not necessarily permanent. The length of time rates will rise depends on your insurance company’s own policies, but it is common for your record to be wiped clean (in the insurance agency’s eyes) after about three years.
However, many states keep DUI convictions on a driver’s record for much longer periods of time, which could result in a driver facing higher premiums for up to a decade.
In California, for example, drivers are prevented from receiving a safe-driver discount for at least 10 years after a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol.
In addition to increased insurance rates, drivers also have to complete an SR-22 form, which is a certificate of responsibility that many states require drivers to complete after they have been convicted of a DUI.
This certificate of responsibility must be carried by the driver for a certain period of time (usually three to five years) after the driving incident that created the need for the special license. Again, this certificate is just another hurdle for drivers after a DUI.
Of course, the statistics showing insurance rate spikes after a DUI serve as evidence that people who are arrested for a DUI should take the charges very seriously. And just because a person is arrested for a DUI does not mean that he or she will be convicted.
A number of things can go wrong during a DUI arrest that may hurt the prosecutor’s case, and a DUI attorney may help you understand more about your legal rights after drunk driving arrest.
And, if you are able to defeat your DUI charges, your insurance company may never learn about the incident, and insurance premiums may stay put.
While this may not always be the case, it is certainly worth your time to research your legal options after a DUI arrest, because these incidents do not always have to be fatal to your reputation or your finances.