California’s DUI laws can be complex and confusing. In this section, our attorneys break down the rules and explain the process.
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In California, a conviction for driving under the influence (“DUI”) has serious financial repercussions. Along with the court fines, licensing fees, ignition interlock installation costs, and more, convicted drivers will have to face rising insurance rates. Even for first-time DUI offenses, drivers over the age of 21 should expect to see a 20 to 30 percent increase in their insurance rates for up to three years.
If you’ve been cited for a DUI in California, it’s important to be aware of the various ways in which a DUI will affect your auto insurance and for how long.
Insurance companies are not permitted to either raise your premium or cancel your policy in the middle of a policy term, or before it comes up for renewal. So your rate will be fixed for the remainder of months left on your policy. This rule, however, doesn’t apply if you decide to sign up for new coverage. This is why motorists who’ve acquired a DUI are encouraged to stick with their current insurance plan until it expires.
The moment your policy is up for renewal, your insurance provider will consider a number of other factors alongside your DUI – like your age, gender, driving history, marital status, etc. when determining your rates. Your insurance company will almost always decide to apply a major surcharge to your policy. The rate increase will only be effective for three years.
But this will only occur if your insurance company is aware of your DUI conviction.
The requirement to share a DUI with your insurance company depends on your unique circumstances. If your conviction requires you to get an SR-22 form, you will be legally required to tell them, otherwise you won’t have to.
However, not being required to disclose this information doesn’t guarantee that your insurance company won’t find out. Your conviction may be discovered if they check your DMV record. Providers routinely do this when a driver’s policy is up for renewal.
An SR-22 document is proof of insurance. As mentioned above, you may be required to get one to reinstate your driver’s license after it was suspended.
In California, the DMV suspends any driver’s license 30 days after a DUI arrest. This is known as the “per se” suspension. If this is how your license has been suspended, you will need an SR-22 to get it back.
It is possible to challenge this driver’s license suspension and completely avoid the requirement of an SR-22. This entails requesting a DMV hearing within 10 days of your arrest. To maximize the chances of a favorable outcome, you should consider having one of our attorneys represent you at your hearing.
If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI, your main priority should be to defend yourself. If you have more questions about your DUI and how it will affect your insurance, or need representation in your DUI case, we invite you to contact us at the Shouse Law Group.
A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.