If you were arrested for driving under the influence, you may already feel bad about what happened, and regret the one-time mistake. You may even be willing to accept the penalties that come with a DUI. But before you decide to plead guilty, you have to be aware of the long-term costs and penalties that come with a DUI conviction. It isn't fair that you should continue to pay the price for a DUI 5 or 10 years down the road, especially if this is your first run-in with the law. That's exactly what will happen with a DUI conviction. You'll be paying out thousands of dollars in extra costs to the car insurance companies, even if you're a perfect driver, all because of a DUI.
What Are The Car Insurance Costs of a Georgia DUI?
A DUI could cost you more than $10,000 before all is said and done. The costs of a DUI come from more than just fines from the court. On top of that, you'll have to pay to get your driver's license back, pay to attend DUI school, pay for a clinical evaluation, and pay for any required substance abuse treatment. But the biggest cost will come from increased car insurance premiums, which may double after a DUI.
One of the first things that happens when you are arrested for a DUI is the police taking away your license. If you didn't file a 10-day hearing letter in time, then your license will be automatically suspended. Before you can even get your Georgia driver's license back you'll have to complete DUI school and any other DDS requirements, pay a reinstatement fee, and provide an SR-22 filing.
Even though all drivers are required to carry the state's minimum insurance coverage, only high risk drivers are required to file an SR-22 with the state to prove they have insurance coverage. This includes anyone who gets a DUI. An SR-22 is a form provided by your insurance company to the Department of Driver Services. There is a small fee associated with an SR-22 filing, which you will have to maintain for three years after a DUI. If your coverage is dropped, then the insurance company will notify DDS, and your license will be suspended. You'll have to get a new SR-22 filing before you can drive again.
An SR-22 filing, along with many of the other requirements after a DUI, can be a major inconvenience, but it is the increase in auto insurance costs that really add up. The average Atlanta driver pays as much as $2,000 a year for car insurance. Insurance companies see a DUI driver as a risky insurance liability, and will increase your rates to account for the higher perceived risk. This may be as much as double, which could cost $4,000 a year. Most insurance companies continue to keep higher than average rates for 5 years or more. That means a DUI could add up to $10,000 in extra costs over the years, even if you keep a perfect driving record.
For young drivers, or drivers with an underage DUI, the car insurance may drop coverage because of the increased insurance risk of young drivers with a DUI. They may have a hard time finding an insurance company, and without insurance, that means no driving. Driving without insurance or driving on a suspended license can lead to additional penalties, and extend the time your license is suspended.
Atlanta Lawyer for Georgia DUIs
It may seem like everything is stacked against you, and you'll never get out from under the costs of a DUI arrest. But you still have a chance to put the whole thing behind you, and go on with a clean record, so you can keep your license and keep your car insurance costs low. There are a number of possible defenses that could be used to get the DUI charges against you reduced or even dismissed entirely. This will depend on your case, so you should speak with an experienced, local Atlanta DUI lawyer to discuss your options. Give me a call, and I will stand up for your rights in court.