Everyone in Massachusetts who owns a vehicle must carry a minimum of auto insurance coverage. Depending on where you live, how much you drive and other factors, your rates could feel high.
If you thought your rates were high before, a conviction for driving under the influence could make your rates even higher and difficult to afford. This comes in addition to any penalties you may face under the criminal justice system and any repercussions in your personal and professional lives.
You become a risk
With a DUI conviction on your record, you become a risk to auto insurance companies. For a person without this record, the average premiums are around $1,700. With a DUI, the average rate skyrockets to $3,298 -- and that is only for a first offense. That represents a 94% increase, which is more than significant, especially for someone on a budget. If you have other blemishes on your driving record prior to a DUI conviction, your rates could end up going even higher.
Here in Massachusetts, that percentage may only be around 88%, but that's just an estimate. After reviewing all of the relevant factors, your percentage of premium increase could be lower or higher. In any case, it will constitute a significant increase and out-of-pocket expense for you.
You lose your auto insurance carrier
While most auto insurance companies will not automatically cancel your policy due to a DUI, you may find that your company refuses to renew your policy at the end of its term. Now, you will need to find another carrier in order to remain in compliance with state law. It pays to shop around when looking for new coverage, but don't think you can just not tell the company about your DUI; it will find out.
You may also need to comply with other documentation requirements to satisfy the state of your coverage. You may need an SR-22 to provide proof that you have at least the required minimum coverage, despite being a "high-risk driver."
You may want to challenge those DUI charges
Knowing you could sustain yet another blow due to a DUI conviction may help prompt you to take action when facing such charges instead of simply pleading guilty, suffering the criminal penalties and thinking you can simply move on with your life. A DUI conviction keeps on throwing obstacles in your path long afterward.
For this reason, you may want to challenge the charges. Even a reduction of the charges could save you from substantially higher interest rates, criminal penalties and more.