Being convicted of a DUI in Pennsylvania can lead to severe penalties. If you are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you will face the possibility of jail time, thousands of dollars in fines and penalties, a suspended license, and others. While a DUI can negatively impact people’s lives, many people still continue to get behind the wheel after they have been drinking alcohol or ingesting drugs.
DUIs also cause collateral consequences in other areas of people’s lives. People might lose their jobs or have trouble finding employment and experience stress in their interpersonal relationships. In addition to fines, DUIs also cause other additional expenses, including the potential requirement to install an ignition interlock device at your own expense and increased auto insurance rates. Here’s some information from DiCindio Law about how a DUI can affect your auto insurance.
Effect Of DUIs On Auto Insurance Rates
Whenever you renew your auto insurance, the company will review your criminal record and driving record. If your company sees that you have a DUI conviction on your driving record, it might decide against renewing your policy. If it does, the company will view you as posing a greater risk and will substantially increase your auto insurance rates.
Insurance rates increase after a DUI conviction because of how dangerous it is to others. People who are convicted of DUIs are viewed by insurance companies as having a higher risk of causing accidents. Because of this, companies make people with DUI convictions pay higher premiums than others. You might be forced to pay higher premiums for years after your conviction.
You might also lose discounts you currently have on your auto insurance policy. For example, a DUI conviction will erase any discount for safe driving. While the insurance company might not see your DUI conviction immediately, it will when it is time for you to renew your policy.
Is SR-22 Insurance Required?
Pennsylvania does not require SR-22 insurance after a DUI. However, many other states do. SR-22 insurance is a certificate an insurance company is required to send to the state to verify a person with a DUI conviction continues to maintain insurance coverage. If you are convicted of a DUI in a different state that requires you to get SR-22 insurance and then move to Pennsylvania or return to the state, you will have to get SR-22 insurance in the Commonwealth to comply with the terms of your sentence. Some insurance companies will not agree to provide SR-22 insurance. If yours does not, you might be forced to look for a new company that offers SR-22 insurance and switch companies. SR-22 insurance adds to the cost of your insurance premiums, making them even more expensive than they would be if you are not required to carry SR-22 insurance.
Denial Of Auto Insurance Coverage
Some auto insurance companies are unwilling to take on the risk of insuring people who have DUI convictions on their records. Your insurance company might decide not to renew your policy, forcing you to search for a new company that will agree to insure you. Your insurance company might terminate your policy and give you limited notice that it intends to do so.
You must maintain insurance in Pennsylvania to drive, so having your insurance policy terminated can place you in a bind. There are some insurance companies that will agree to accept high-risk drivers. However, you might have to spend some time searching to find one that is willing to insure you. Just like when people who have poor credit find lenders who agree to loan them money are charged high rates of interest, people who have DUI convictions should expect to pay substantial rates to find insurance companies that are willing to insure them.
Problems When Someone Else Gets A DUI In Your Vehicle
If someone else borrows your vehicle and then gets a DUI while driving it, your insurance rates could still be affected. For example, if your teen child borrows your car to go to a party and gets arrested for a DUI on his or her way home, your insurance rates will likely go up. You might have to exclude your teen from your insurance policy to get your rates to drop.
If you loan your vehicle to an adult friend who subsequently gets a DUI while driving it, your friend’s insurance rates will increase if he or she is insured. Your rates could also be increased by your insurance company, depending on its assessment of risk.
Lowering Your Insurance Rates Following A DUI
As long as you do not get any additional DUIs or major traffic convictions on your record, your rates should return back to normal after a few years. Insurance companies in Pennsylvania have a lookback period to check for violations of three years. While that might seem like a long time to be forced to pay higher rates, you can at least look forward to your rates returning to normal as long as you follow the traffic laws and avoid getting any additional drunk or drugged driving convictions.
Getting a DUI can result in ongoing consequences. It might take you multiple years to return to normal. Your insurance rates are only one reason to avoid getting behind the wheel when you are impaired by alcohol or drugs. Drunk driving could also result in accidents and more serious charges.
Talk To An Experienced Drunk Driving Defense Attorney At DiCindio Law
Many Chester County PA DUI arrests are made each year. If you are charged with a DUI, you should talk to a local DUI attorney at DiCindio Law about your options. We can analyze what happened in your case to identify potential defenses that might be available. We can also help you to understand all of the penalties and collateral consequences that you might be facing.
Depending on the facts, we might be able to help you secure a favorable plea agreement or a dismissal of the charges. Call us today to request a consultation at (610) 430-3535.