Everyone knows driving while intoxicated is a stupid idea and illegal. But many people still get on the wheel drunk.
According to the NHTSA, 28 people died in beverages-related crashes in America every day in 2019. That is precisely one person every 52 minutes.
If you cause an accident while intoxicated, you will be looking at a couple of consequences that include jail time and a record that can stay on your driver’s license for years affecting your insurance rates. The same consequences apply to getting caught drunk while behind the wheel at a traffic stop.
What Are the Insurance Consequences of a DUI?
Driving while intoxicated is reckless no matter how you look at it, and it is understandable why it carries some pretty harsh consequences. It is essentially putting people that had nothing to do with your drinking at the risk of injuries or even death.
Unfortunately, even after meeting statutory requirements for your DUI conviction, its record on your license can haunt you much longer, with the most significant consequence being the cost of insurance premiums.
Depending on the state, you can expect your premiums to increase significantly, with some shooting up to four times higher than before the conviction.
But there could be some reprieve for you in terms of insurance cost if you leverage insurance comparison tools to get the best deals for insurance after a DUI conviction. One such tool is CheapInsurance.com, an online resource designed to help you hunt for better insurance deals.
Other Consequences of a DUI Conviction
Driving is a privilege extended by a state to its residents. A violation of driving regulations can lead to a withdrawal of the privilege. One violation that almost always results in a license suspension is a conviction for DUI.
The length of time for license suspension depends on your state of residence and prior conviction with a similar offense. Under most jurisdictions, a first-time DUI conviction results in a 30-day license suspension.
The time of suspension increases with consecutive offenses, with offenders having more than four convictions being at the risk of having their licenses revoked permanently.
You will even be lucky to have an insurer willing to take in a driver with many DUI convictions, which means you lose your right to drive by default. Also, other statutory penalties increase with consecutive convictions, with repeat offenders facing the risk of extended jail times and costly fines.
It Complicates Consecutive Convictions
Once you have a criminal record, it can be used as a reference to enhance sentencing for future convictions. This applies even to convictions that are not related to driving. The reasoning behind enhanced sentencing is that repeat offenders do so in blatant disregard of the law or the rights of others.
But the most significant impact of a prior DUI conviction would be if you get a consecutive conviction with the same offense. Under such circumstances, the offender can face longer license suspensions, permanent revocation, longer jail time, or higher fines.
Getting a Job
Once a criminal conviction gets on your record, getting it off becomes a difficult task. Unfortunately, a conviction will appear on a background check and can be a spoiler when looking for a job.
You could think that it would only matter if you are looking for a job that requires driving, but that may not be entirely true.
It can spoil your chances no matter what kind you could be seeking. A DUI conviction portrays an individual as reckless and prone to making poor decisions.
So, if it comes down to choosing between a candidate with a DUI conviction and one with a clean record, you can almost be sure they will pick the one with a clean record.
How Long Does It Stay on Your License?
Unlike other traffic violations, DUI is a criminal offense like any other traffic violation. How long it stays on your license can vary widely from state to state, with some states having it remain on a driver’s license for five years while most will have it staying on the driving license for ten years. If you live in Arizona or Alaska, your DUI conviction will show on your driver’s license for a lifetime.
Unfortunately, even after a DUI conviction gets off your license, it doesn’t get off your criminal record. In some states, it lasts a lifetime and affects your life in many more ways besides the cost of insurance.
Can a DUI Record Be Expunged?
The answer as to whether you can have your DUI conviction expunged is yes and no. In Florida, there is no provision for expungement for DUI convictions.
It only drops off a person’s record after 75 years, by which time the person will be dead or too old to drive. Some states allow a conviction to drop off automatically after a few years if the offender maintains a clean criminal record.
You can have your conviction off public view in other states by having the record expunged or sealed. In most states, an offender must meet expungement conditions before petitioning the court to have their records expunged. Some standard requirements include:
- The offender has paid all their dues, including probation
- The offender doesn’t have another criminal record
- The offender committed the offense as a minor
- The sentence didn’t include serving time in a state prison
You may need to enlist the services of a criminal defense attorney when seeking to have your criminal record expunged.
Besides helping with the petition, they will help you meet all the eligibility requirements. Failure to meet them could mean waiting for a specific time – often three years – before petitioning the court for another expungement.
Everybody can make a stupid mistake at one point in life, which should not define anyone. Sometimes it takes a mistake to learn. Unfortunately, some mistakes may cost you more than you would be willing to pay.
However, that doesn’t mean you should not get another chance at life. While your insurance cost will shoot up after an accident, leveraging insurance comparison tools can help you get a fair deal even after a DUI conviction.