When you find yourself facing a drunk driving charge in New Jersey, you may be thinking of all the possible ramifications of having such a conviction on your record – things like what kind of sentence are you facing or whether you are facing fines, probation, license suspension, or even jail time? Perhaps you are worried about how it will affect your present job, or ability to find gainful employment? Furthermore, you may be concerned about missing work for court appearances, or how much court fees may wind up totaling. However, one thing many people don’t think about until later on is how a New Jersey DWI conviction can also affect your car insurance.
How Will My Car Insurance Rate Be Affected?
After a DUI conviction, a New Jersey resident can unfortunately expect their monthly insurance bill to increase significantly. That is because you are now considered a “high-risk driver.” This can regrettably affect an individual for many years. DUI/DWI convictions in New Jersey will stay on your record forever, and affect your insurance for at least three years and with some insurance companies for much, much longer. This can also make you ineligible for “safe driver” discounts that insurance companies advertise, if you have a conviction on your criminal record for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Estimates show that insurance rates can increase anywhere between 30 to 200 percent, depending on the circumstances and your automobile insurer carrier’s policies. In other words, if you had a $100 per month rate, it could be raised anywhere from $130 to $300. The exact increase would depend on your driving history, other moving violations, lapses in coverage, length of stay with the insurance company, and the details surrounding the DUI incident.
Can My Insurance Be Cancelled?
Moreover, some car insurance companies may terminate service with you altogether after learning of a DUI/DWI conviction, and these companies have the right to do so. Companies can simply cancel your policy or choose not to renew it, despite your possible desire to remain with the company. As you can imagine, when this unfortunately occurs, finding an understanding car insurance company can be extremely difficult. Even if you are able to find a car insurance carrier willing to work with you after having a DWI conviction, you can expect to pay fees far higher than what you may have previously been used to.
Filing an SR22 / FR44 Insurance Form to Reinstate Your License After a DUI/DWI Conviction
Following a conviction for a New Jersey DUI, you may also be required to file an SR22 / FR44 insurance form when you seek to reinstate your license after a period of suspension. This is a form that proves that the driver has met the State’s minimum liability insurance coverage, as well as the State’s minimum financial responsibility requirements. This provides a guarantee to the State of New Jersey that an insurance company has issued you the minimum amount of insurance coverage required in order to drive a vehicle in New Jersey, despite being a “high-risk driver.” In other words, you will be producing proof that you have a car insurance policy following your conviction. The SR22/FR44 can be required for a number of years and can become quite expensive and tedious to deal with.
For all these reason, it is important to speak with an experienced DUI/DWI lawyer if you are ever charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. An experienced attorney may be able to defend against these serious charges and help you avoid the costly consequences of a DUI conviction in New Jersey.
New Jersey DWI/ DUI Lawyer Edward M. Janzekovich Can Help You Understand How a DWI/DUI Conviction Can Affect Your Rights
Navigating the possible consequences of a DUI conviction, including how your car insurance may be affected, can be complicated and DUI attorney Edward M. Janzekovich can help. If you are charged with drunk driving or driving under the influence in New Jersey, it is important to speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today. We serve clients in Ocean County, Monmouth County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Union County and Somerset County.