Maybe the “one drink” you agreed to have with friends or colleagues turned into three or four as time passed. Or, perhaps you found yourself forced to drive after a work function or social get-together because your designated driver fell victim to temptation and drank as well.
Unfortunately, the frequency of these “slip-ups” is alarming. In fact, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that “Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes — that’s one person every 48 minutes in 2017” and according to some estimates, one in three people will be involved in a drunk driving accident in their lifetimes.
Believe it or not, California has more deaths related to drunk-driving per year than any state in the nation! Each year, between 160,000 - 208,000 DUI arrests are made in California every year, and you can bet that every one of those had a massive effect on the driver’s life and finances.
Thankfully, not all of these accidents result in death, injury or property damage.
How DUI Works in California
In California, if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or higher, you can be arrested for DUI. The limit is 0.01% for drivers under age 21. If convicted — as more than 70% of those arrested for DUI in California are — you will lose your license for between four months and three years. The length of your suspension depends on factors including any previous DUI offenses and whether or not you took a breath or blood test at the time of your arrest.
If you are convicted for DUI, your insurance agent is required to file an “SR-22” form on your behalf for at least three years. This form is also known as “Proof of Financial Responsibility.” The SR-22 tells your insurance carrier — the company that actually provides your insurance — to boost your rates to reflect the higher risk you now represent.
When your agent stops filing your SR-22, the insurance carrier may lower your premium a bit, but it is unlikely to ever drop down to your previous, pre-DUI rate. The reality is you cannot get your license reinstated unless you have filed the SR-22 forms as required. This means that your auto insurance premium will skyrocket if you incur a DUI.
Once the SR-22 is filed, your insurance carrier could drop you immediately. And, with a DUI conviction it will be extremely difficult and expensive to get auto insurance. The insurance carrier that will insure you will insure you as a high-risk driver and make you pay an extremely high rate for coverage.
The Consequences of Driving Under the Influence
The worst consequence of a drunk driving incident is, of course, any loss of life or injury. Second to this is the extreme physical, emotional and psychological damage that a drunk driving accident can have on the driver and the victims, including the passengers and their families.
Most people are aware that a conviction for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) results in an automatic suspension of your driver’s license. However, most people aren't aware of the severe financial damages they'll face from a DUI. Considering the significant impact, it could have on your life, it’s vital to know all the consequences that would result if you were to receive a DUI.