If you drive while drunk or under the influence of another drug, then you are a major safety risk both to yourself and to others. Additionally, you are committing a major violation of traffic laws, nationwide. As a result, if you get caught, then you will likely be charged with a DUI, DWI or OWI, depending on what your state calls its charge for driving intoxicated.
Each state takes the offense of drunk driving seriously, and if this is a charge that falls upon you, then you will likely face several penalties. Some of them might prove costly. Consider just a few of the effects that this serious issue might cause you.
1. Insurance Rate Changes
When you drive drunk, you are a massive safety risk. Therefore, if your auto insurer ever sees a DUI charge on your driving record, they will likely have to charge you a higher premium, and some insurers will even deny you coverage. This is because you have proven to them that you have a much higher chance of causing an accident, which could trigger a claim on your plan.
2. Loss of Driving Privileges
Getting caught while driving drunk is one of the clearest signals that you cannot be trusted behind the wheel. Therefore, many states will either suspend your license temporarily, or place significant restrictions on where and when you can drive. You might also be required to install a breathalyzer ignition lock on your car. You must blow on this device in order to start your ignition. If it measures your blood alcohol content as too high, then you will not be able to start the car.
3. SR-22/FR-44 Penalties
Some states impose an SR-22 or FR-44 requirement on drivers. These are forms that you must obtain from your auto insurer and file with the state to verify that you have active auto insurance. If you ever let your auto policy lapse, then your insurer will immediately notify the state and you will face further penalties.
4. Defensive Driving Courses/Traffic School
If your license gets suspended because of your DUI charge, then part of your penalty to get it back might be to go to traffic school. These courses will help you re-learn responsible driving habits, and you might have to complete these courses in order to recover your license.
5. Probation and Jail Time
Habitual DUI offenders will face significantly more severe penalties with each offense. At times, you might lose your license indefinitely, and in other cases, you could be sentenced by a court to probation or even jail time.
These severe penalties are not anything you want to face, and you should always do all that you can to avoid a DUI. Put away your keys, assign a designated driver or hire transportation whenever you plan to drink socially. In the end, you’ll be glad that you got home safely.