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How Drinking And Driving Can Increase Your Insurance Premiums

Most people don’t go out with the intention of driving drunk. They go to a party or to dinner, have a few beers or a little wine; they feel ok, so they think they are ok to drive. However, those few drinks can cost more than you think.

Driving after having even a few drinks causes impaired judgement and slows your reflexes. It can also have tragic consequences. A New York mother learned that lesson when she had a few drinks and then decided to drive her daughter and friends to a sleepover.

Even if you are fortunate enough not to injure yourself or someone else, you may still end up paying a high price for drinking and driving.

The Cost of DUI

The cost of driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated begins as soon as you get pulled over. In some states there is zero tolerance for drinking and driving, such as in Virginia, whilst the penalties can be very tough in all other states, so you are probably going to jail; first expense, bail.

Drunk driving is considered a criminal offence in Virginia, so you will need to find a good Virginia criminal defence attorney. Be aware that a good DUI lawyer will cost you any where from $2,000 to $15,000 depending on the specific circumstances of the case.

You will also have to pay fines, court costs, possible restitution if the incident resulted in injury to a person or property, and the cost of mandatory ASAP classes. Add to this the cost of a DUI lawyer in Virginia and the price for a DUI really begins to mount. Since a first offence carries a mandatory minimum 10-day jail sentence, you could also lose your job.

But there is more – these are just the short-term costs of a DUI.

Driving Under the Influence and Insurance

Those few drinks will continue to cost you for an extended period of time. Your insurance will definitely increase. In most states a drunk driving conviction will cause you to lose your driver’s license. The length of time will depend on the severity of the charge, your age, and your blood alcohol level when arrested.

On top of the cost of a restricted or suspended license, you will have to carry an SR-22 insurance policy for a minimum of three years. This will cost anywhere from $15 to $40 over an average monthly insurance premium. After the end of the SR-22 term, a person with drunk driving convictions will pay about $485 more per year for auto insurance with a DUI, and about $628 more annually if the incident resulted in an accident.

These rates increase with each incident, and with 3 convictions or more you may find yourself unable to get auto insurance coverage at all, and if you live in Virginia, you will be also subject to having your license permanently revoked under state law.

Drunk driving is one of the most preventable causes of vehicle-related accidents and fatalities. Even in the best case scenario, the cost of criminal proceedings and the years of higher insurance rates aren’t worth the cost of having a few drinks and hitting the road. Put your car keys away, and take a taxi instead.

This article was written for by Georgina Clatworthy, a freelance writer who has been producing informative legal articles since 2010. She is currently a contributing writer for the DUI attorneys at The Wilson Law Firm.

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