Drunk Driving and Auto Insurance
After serving a sentence and paying a fine, a person convicted of drunk driving is eager to return to life as it was before the charges. In most parts of the U.S., normal living-school, work, other activities- involves driving, and driving requires automobile insurance. While the worst parts of the charge may seem to be behind you, but you are then faced with yet another consequence: trying to obtain automobile insurance after a drunk driving conviction.
An experienced defense attorney can explain, and perhaps help you avoid, the range of consequences of a drunk driving conviction.
Terminated Coverage, Rejected Applications, and Higher Premiums
A check of an applicant's driving record is routine for most auto insurers. If the company decides to issue a policy to a driver, the driver's record will be reviewed every three years. An applicant whose record shows a drunk driving conviction may have his or her application for coverage rejected. An insurance company that learns of a drunk driving conviction, for a driver it already insures, may raise the driver's premium, or even cancel the driver's policy. The cost of coverage with some companies is so high that driving may no longer be an option. Unless a person can rely on public transportation or on friends and family members, paying an exorbitant insurance premium may be the only choice. Rates should go down after a safe driving record is re-established.
If an insurance company drops a driver's coverage, or if a company refuses an application for insurance, the driver will have to look elsewhere for coverage. Some insurance companies are willing to insure drivers who have drunk driving convictions. Some such companies sometimes cater to drivers with drunk driving convictions. Even with the companies that welcome drunk driving offenders, the premiums will be far higher than those the driver paid before the conviction. Insurance is a requirement, however, and it is reassuring to know that there are companies that are willing to take the risk involved in covering drivers whose records may be less-than-perfect, giving those drivers a chance to get a better start at building a better future.
After you are convicted of DUI and your driver's license is revoked in Illinois, the Illinois Secretary of State will mail you a "Notice of Suspension" that talks about surrendering your license plates and registration. Instead of running to the DMV or scrambling to get your name off the title and registration, purchase SR-22 insurance coverage. Illinois law requires anyone whose driver's license is revoked to carry it for thirty-six (36) months. The thirty-six month clock starts running the moment you put the SR-22 coverage in place. You do not have to have a license or own a vehicle to obtain SR-22. If you experience a break in your SR-22 coverage, you are not required to start over. Any time during which you carried coverage, even if not consecutive, is applied towards the thirty-six months.
This is what you have been waiting for: you have your driver's license back, and you are eager to get back behind the wheel. Before you do, you need to check into your insurance, and learn if you still have coverage, or how you can obtain coverage.
If you or someone you know is facing a drunk driving charge, an experienced defense lawyer can explain all the possible consequences and represent you zealously.