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What to Expect
After a DUI




What Happens After a DUI, and is it More Than a Financial Penalty?

After seeing those flashing lights in the mirror, after the night spent in a filthy jail cell, and after the court appearances and enormous fines and fees comes the longest lasting financial penalty of a DUI. Auto insurance rates go up, and it's almost impossible to drive legally without insurance once a person has a DUI on his or her record. Or, even worse, people with DUIs often find themselves designated as high risk drivers and have their insurance policies canceled. Getting a new insurance policy while carrying the weight of both a DUI and a cancellation can prove to be too heavy a burden for some to bear.

Although laws vary from one state to another, DMVs in most states require drivers with a DUI to obtain an SR-22 form from their auto insurance company in order to provide proof of liability insurance before a license suspension will be lifted. Because a DUI offender must provide proof of insurance to the DMV for anywhere from three to five years, the DMV will always know if a driver's auto insurance has been canceled for any reason. These requirements are dependent on the insurance company offering SR-22 insurance. It isn't available from all insurers.

Of course, there are situations in which an insurance company might never find out about a customer's DUI. In some cases, if someone with a DUI attends driving school, and/or alcohol abuse programs, a conviction might be expunged from the record. By the same token, other court remedies such as plea bargains will sometimes result in more limited penalties, including license suspensions of only 30 days, that make it much less likely that an insurance company will ever know about the conviction.

It's important to remember that how much a DUI will affect the cost of premiums depends largely on the policies of each insurance company. If a premium policy is in good standing at the time of the DUI, the best course of action is to keep paying the premiums on time and not let the policy be canceled for lapsed payment. Changing insurers will all but guarantee that the new insurer will order the driving record from the DMV and find out about the DUI. Better to stay quiet and see what happens with your current insurer than jump to another and face an immediate rate hike.

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