To legally drive a vehicle in Maryland, you need a driver’s license. You typically also need liability insurance and to register the vehicle you intend to drive with the state. It can cost hundreds of dollars per month to insure a vehicle, but those costs are worthwhile because they allow you to independently transport yourself on demand without risking financial hardship if you are responsible for causing a collision.
Although you must maintain insurance to legally drive, your policy could be at risk after a drunk driving charge. You may lose your coverage or need to pay far more for the same policy.
What will impaired driving charges mean for your car insurance?
Insurance companies charge a specific amount based on how much risk they feel an individual driver represents. The more traffic infractions and collisions there are on your record, the more you will typically need to pay for your coverage.
Nationwide, the average increase in insurance costs following a drunk driving charge is 74%. In Maryland, however, the average rate increase is a bit below the national average. Your premium will likely go up by 56% after a DUI conviction. In some cases, you may even need to change to a high-risk SR-22 policy.
Sometimes, the insurance company that you have bought your policy from for years will decide that they can no longer underwrite your policy. They will send a letter canceling your coverage and will force you to purchase coverage from a different business.
DUI charges cost more than people realize
Many people fail to consider these secondary expenses when evaluating how to handle a recent drunk driving charge. The fines assessed by the courts are only one of the factors that contribute to the total charge expenses you face.
When you consider several years of increased insurance costs, the expense of your pending charges may actually be more than it would cost for you to mount a defense in criminal court. Especially when you consider the career and personal hardships that can result from losing your driving privileges, looking at your options for defending yourself may be a better choice than pleading guilty.
Learning more about how a DUI charge impacts your life will help you better respond after an unexpected arrest.