The Effects of a DUI Conviction on Your Insurance Rates
Sometimes, the consequences of doing something can seem so abstract that they don’t really sink in enough to deter you from doing it. Sure, you know that driving under the influence is bad and can get you “in trouble.” But do you really know what kind of trouble? Do you know what the exact consequences will be?
Besides serving jail time and paying hefty fines, you can also pay a lot more for your insurance – something you can’t do without, and something you will have to pay as long as you drive (which could be your whole life). It’s important that you hire a good DUI defense lawyer in Mesa to help you keep the charge off your record so that you can keep your insurance rates at reasonable levels. Otherwise, here’s what you may be looking at:
There is no hard-and-fast answer about how much your insurance rates will rise after a DUI conviction. It really depends on what insurance company you have, your history with your insurance company, your overall driving history, and the circumstances of your DUI conviction.
However, you can look at general trends. Estimates show an increase in insurance rates of anything from 72 percent to 130 percent on average after a DUI conviction, depending on location. That means that you could be paying more than double what you pay now – and those increased rates can stick around for years after your conviction.
Keeping Your Insurance
It may not seem like it, but paying more for your insurance may be the best thing that can happen. Because it means that you still have insurance. There is a high likelihood that after you are convicted of driving under the influence, your insurance company will straight up cancel your coverage. You won’t be able to appeal this.
But you can’t drive without insurance. So you’ll have to go shopping around. What you might find is that other insurance companies aren’t willing to take you on either. You may be forced to self-insure if you want to continue to have the privilege of driving. While that may sound easy enough, it actually makes things much harder on you. In order to self-insure, you have to put the minimum coverage amount into an account that is available in case you are in an accident. In Arizona, that means you will need to deposit $65,000 – $50,000 in bodily injury for two or more persons and $15,000 for property damage. You can also post a bond for this amount. The whole process is complicated and very expensive.
Your License and Your Job
Your auto insurance may be the least of your problems if you are convicted of driving under the influence. You may lose your license if you are convicted. If you are a commercial driver, you will certainly lose your license, and you may not be able to get it back.
You may also lose your job if you are convicted of a DUI. Many employers have clauses about such criminal convictions, and they can terminate you for such a conviction. But even if you aren’t fired, you could lose your job simply because you can’t drive and don’t have the means to get where you need to be consistently and on time.
A DUI conviction can lead to major financial problems and other long-term consequences. If you want to protect your driving privileges and your finances (among other things), you’ll take steps to avoid conviction, including drinking responsibly. Call a DUI defense attorney in Tucson as soon as you are arrested and charged to take the needed steps to avoid conviction (where possible).
My AZ Lawyers has been representing people charged with DUI for many years, and we have numerous options for helping you to avoid conviction or to reduce your penalties. If you have an old DUI conviction, we can also explore options for expunging your record. With a strong defense, you may be able to avoid the consequences of a DUI conviction that can plague you for years, such as the crippling car insurance rates. Call us in Phoenix or Tucson today to talk with a DUI defense attorney and learn more about your options.
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Glendale, AZ 85308
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