Insurance Surcharges & Your DUI

by Katie Hewatt on December 20, 2012

(US law) When you are facing a DUI charge, you may not realize that you are facing more than possible fines and jail time. In many states, insurance surcharges are attached to your driver’s license and you will be required to pay these fines in addition to any penalties given to you by the court. These insurance surcharges will also apply if you serve time in jail.

Surcharge Details

The insurance surcharge in most states applies for a minimum of three years after the conviction, and will cost you about $1,000 per year for the first two times you have been convicted or $1,500 per year for your third offense or higher. The surcharges that the insurance companies collect are used for alcohol prevention programs, DUI programs and other alcohol and driving related issues. The insurance surcharge NJ law affects offenders regardless of insurance status, current license, and registration.

Beyond the DUI Insurance Surcharge

A DUI charge carries many penalties. You could face a civil fine, court costs, and community service. You may be required to attend counseling for alcohol or drug addiction. You may also be required to install a device in your ignition that requires you to breathe into it to check for alcohol before it allows the car to start. Additionally, you may lose your driving privileges or serve time in jail.

If you are a repeat offender, the punishment will be more severe. You may have automatic penalties imposed on you that are part of the state law, regardless of the circumstance, if you are convicted. It should also be taken into consideration that many local judges hand out the maximum punishment for this type of offense in an effort to deter people in the area from committing the act.

Hiring an Attorney

When facing a DUI charge, whether it is your first or fourth offense, it is always in your best interest to hire a DUI defense attorney. While an attorney cannot guarantee that you are not convicted of the offense, they can help defend you in a manner that may reduce the fines, penalties or imprisonment terms.

General Information

Overall, most states have very stiff fines and penalties for driving under the influence. This crack down on dangerous drivers has resulted in a decrease in the number of alcohol related accidents and deaths on the freeways by nearly 33 percent over the last ten years according to the Highway Safety Commission.

Insurance companies have decided to help the cause by instituting large surcharges on people that are convicted of driving under the influence. These surcharges are used to fund drivers education programs and other services to keep drivers off of the road while intoxicated.

Your best bet is to always establish a designated driver if you know that you are going to drink. It is the safest and cheapest way to avoid a drunk driving conviction.  If you are facing a possible DUI conviction, you may be up against more than increased insurance premiums; you may be facing jail time. Do not go to court without proper legal representation or you can find yourself facing much harsher penalties. 

As a legal researcher Katie Hewatt knows the consequences for DUI are tough, and emphasizes the importance of drinking responsibly to avoid DUI charges. According to Levow & Associates, a DUI conviction can mean mandatory license suspension, thousands of dollars in fines, plus an insurance surcharge NJ fee. The insurance company will charge convicted DUI drivers for three years after conviction.

Katie Hewatt

Katie Hewatt

Katie Hewatt

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