Dealing with a DUI/DWI can be confusing, frightening, and expensive. Though laws concerning DUI/DWIs vary by state, a DUI charge will be at least a misdemeanor and a conviction will likely include jail time and heavy fines. If you find yourself facing a possible DUI/DWI conviction, learn more about what you can expect and how you may be able to recover in the long run.
Some states require a first-time offender to spend time in jail (generally one to three days), and most states require repeat offenders to go to jail for varying lengths of time.
Driver’s License Suspension
Depending on the state and number of previous offenses, your driver’s license could be revoked for a number of years. In Tennessee, for example, a first time DUI offender will have their license revoked for one year. A third time DUI offender will have their license revoked for up to 10 years. Depending on your situation, your state may allow you to apply for a restricted license that allows you to drive under very specific conditions, like only between work and home.
Fines for a DUI or DWI vary by situation and state. They can range from thousands of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on a number of factors including:
- the driver’s blood alcohol content
- if there were resulting accidents and injuries
- whether or not this was the driver’s first offense
- if there were underage passengers in the vehicle
- if the driver was speeding or otherwise driving recklessly
SR22 (or FR44) Certification
Some drivers refer to this as “SR22 auto insurance,” but this lingo isn’t necessarily accurate. An SR22/FR44 is a document, or electronic record that proves you have the minimum state required auto insurance coverage. Your auto insurance company is responsible for filing this certification with the regulatory authority in your state (e.g. Department of Motor Vehicles). This certification is typically required if your license has been suspended and you’re trying to get it reinstated. After you plead guilty or are convicted of a DWI or DUI and your driver’s license is suspended, the state or court will order you to obtain an SR22/FR44. This part of the process will cost you as well, as most states require a fee of about $25 in order to file an SR22/FR44. Check out this infographic for everything you need to know about SR22s and FR44s.
Higher Auto Insurance Costs
Depending on the type of insurance certification you need, you may be required to buy higher than the minimum liability limits, so the premiums for those will be higher too. Your insurance company may also consider you a “high risk driver” and you could see the cost of your auto insurance policy go up accordingly.
Participation in an Alcohol Education Program
Some drivers refer to this as “DUI School,” but it’s essentially a DUI prevention program geared toward alcohol education or therapy. Sometimes attendance and completion of these programs can replace, reduce, or eliminate other DUI penalties, but not always. Successfully completing the terms of your alcohol education program may be a requirement before you can have your driving privileges restored.
If you’re dealing with the aftermath of a DUI or are in need of SR22/FR44 certification, you’re not alone. At Direct Auto & Life Insurance, we welcome everyone to apply for coverage and can help you understand how your DUI may impact your car insurance rate. To learn more, stop by a Direct Auto & Life Insurance location near you or call 1-877-GO-DIRECT(1-877-463-4732).