The effects of DUI/DWI on car insurance rates
In Texas, a DUI conviction can hike your insurance rates from 30 percent to as high as 200 percent. This will depend on the conviction and whether it was a first or a repeated offense. There are certain companies that are very strict on DUI/DWI convicts. Some can cancel an active policy or refuse to renew it. In the event of a cancellation, the driver is forced to shop for another company. In most cases, the convicted person may have to settle for higher rates. However, it is still possible to find insurers who will not charge exorbitant rates. The best strategy is to conduct a comparative search. An independent insurance comparison site can help you find favorable rates.
The other major concern for persons convicted of a DWI charge is how long the conviction will affect their car insurance rates. A criminal DUI conviction will remain in the records for life. However, insurance companies will only be able to view what is on the Texas State Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV). Once the records are cleared, usually between periods of 5 to 10 years, depending on the gravity of the conviction, you will be in a position to get cheaper insurance rates.
In most cases, car insurance companies are lenient with a first time DUI offenders. However, most will not ignore a DWI/DUI conviction. Most insurance companies will penalize you, often by slapping you with a higher rate. What differs is the percentage of the penalty.
In some instances, tickets, accidents and DUI’s may not show up in the DMV records. Most insurance companies will only check your records when applying for a new policy or renewing one. A report by the Insurance Research Council shows that one in every five DUI convictions does not show up in the motor vehicle records. This is mainly due to lack of proper communication channels between the vehicle departments and the courts. In some cases, the conviction can be erased if the convicted person attends a rehabilitation program or takes extra driving courses.
If the courts reduce a DUI charge to a plea bargain with a license suspension of one month, then it is highly likely that this will not show up on your records. While there are few rare cases, the general principle is that a DUI charge or conviction will affect your insurance rates negatively. It is advisable for persons facing conviction to work with a DUI lawyer who can get the penalty reduced or dismissed altogether.
Aside from insurance rates, a DUI record can affect others aspects of your life, among them:
Getting a job
A permanent DUI criminal record can affect your chances of getting a job. Today, employees are conducting criminal checks due to the rising cases of theft and misconduct. Again, the rising rate of unemployment only leaves room for the best candidates who have a clean record.
Keeping a job
There are certain employers who have a mandatory firing policy for people who are convicted of DUI and other crimes. If such a policy is in place, then a convicted person could easily lose their job. It is wise to notify your employer and if it is the first offense, then perhaps they can give you a warning. However, if you work in the transport industry say as a commercial driver, then it can be hard to get your job back after a DUI conviction.
A DUI conviction can also make it hard for you to apply for a state licensing certificate especially for professionals such as doctors, attorneys, drivers, and teachers. As evidenced, a DUI/DWI conviction has life altering consequences. If you face a DUI charge, it is in your best interest to seek legal help.