What to expect after a DUI: What happens to your license, auto insurance and credit rating
Even though it’s common for states to classify a first-time DUI charge as a misdemeanor, you should be aware that a DUI arrest or conviction can come with severe consequences. If you’ve been charged with a DUI for the first time, you need to be aware of mandatory sentencing requirements in your area.
What a DUI means in terms of your license
If you get charged with a DUI and get convicted, the worst case scenario is that you will be required to attend an in-person court hearing in front of a judge within a 60-day window, during which time you will answer questions about your driving record and the circumstances of your arrest. At this hearing, the judge will likely impose some form of probation, including a driving program. Afterward, your driver’s license will be suspended for up to one year, and in some cases a full year. Drivers in many states will need to get a valid license in order to drive, and most states also require that you pass a retest once your suspension has ended, in order to get your license back.
What happens to your auto insurance policy
If you were found guilty of driving under the influence (DUI) and have auto insurance, your insurance will likely change. Your policy will typically exclude DUI convictions from being counted as an on-going violation of your policy. If you have a no-fault insurance policy, your insurance rates will go up. The DUI conviction will no longer be considered an on-going violation on your insurance policy, which means that even after a DUI, the cost of your insurance will not increase with time. Some insurers even have what’s called a “no-fault impact” clause, which means that the coverage is not affected if you have a DUI. Other policies will reduce or cancel your insurance if you’re convicted of a DUI.
What happens to your credit rating
When you get a DUI, your driving record is impacted. You might not realize that if you are convicted of a DUI in a state that requires a license suspension, your license will be suspended as well. This means that if you drive while your license is suspended, you could be penalized with severe consequences, including, but not limited to, having your car impounded, or even jail time. In certain states like Florida, drivers with a DUI are prohibited from getting a new license until the DMV can prove they’ve been sober for a certain period of time (depending on your state). Because your insurance and credit history are linked, this means that if you get charged with a DUI, you may not be able to get a license or a car without a clean driving record.
What happens to your child’s auto insurance policy
If your child has a modified driver’s license (a permit for older teen drivers that enables them to operate a car without a licensed adult present), she or he can no longer drive any vehicle that isn’t a car or truck that’s five years old or less. However, if your teen still drives a larger vehicle (like a pickup), he or she can have a court-ordered GPS device installed in the vehicle and have the vehicle retested for safety. What happens to your insurance Your auto insurance policy will most likely be canceled. If you have a multi-car policy that includes a company-owned vehicle that was in the carpool, that policy is typically canceled, too. You’ll need to contact your insurer to see what will happen to your policy.
For starters, if you’ve been charged with a DUI in North Carolina, it’s important to discuss your case with a member of the legal community. Your lawyer can prepare you for the worst-case scenario, and help ensure you understand your legal rights and responsibilities. You should also be aware of how a DUI charge will impact you both financially and personally. If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI offense, you should contact a lawyer to discuss your case.
Story by Elizabeth Maxey Long. Originally from Yorktown, Va., she graduated from the University of Virginia in 2003 with a B.S. in Commerce. After graduating from college, Elizabeth taught English to German students at a college preparatory high school in Trier, Germany, as part of the U.S. Fulbright teaching assistant program.