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I Got a DUI – Now What?

A middle-aged Caucasian driver stands in front of a police officer trying to prove that he did not commit a DUI.

Remain calm. Getting a DUI (driving under the influence) citation can be a scary and anxiety-filled experience. If possible, you should follow the officer’s directions and stay polite. Making a decision to drive while legally under the influence means that if you are caught, you will most likely go to jail. If you are convicted, you will most likely be looking for DUI car insurance.

Nearly 32 people in the U.S. die every day in a DUI-related accident. It’s easy to see why penalties for drunk driving are becoming steeper. Currently, all 50 states enforce a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit of 0.08. If a driver is found to have a BAC of 0.08 or greater, he or she will likely face a DUI arrest and eventually be charged with a DUI offense. Here is a general breakdown of the DUI process after an arrest.

If You Have a DUI Arrest, You’ll Probably be Taken to Jail

If a police officer feels like you are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he or she will most likely place you under arrest. You’ll be taken to jail. Your vehicle will be towed to an impound lot. Your driver’s license may be confiscated.

Once at the jail, your personal possessions, such as any money, wallet, phone, will be taken from you. You’ll be fingerprinted and photographed. You’ll be placed in a space that is reserved for people picked up for some infraction that night. You may have heard of this space being called the “drunk tank.” There is limited seating and a toilet in the corner. It’s not a nice place.

Bail After a DUI Arrest

In some cases, you may be able to leave that night if someone comes to “bail you out” and drive you home. In other cases, you may spend the night and be released under your own “personal recognizance bond.” This PR Bond doesn’t cost any money, but it’s a promise that you make to appear in court. If you do not appear as promised, a warrant will be issued for your arrest.

You may be released under a cash or surety bond, which will require some cold hard cash then and there. Don’t forget to get your car from the impound lot – you already owe for the tow and storage fees are charged daily.

DUI Court Proceedings

At the time of your arrest, you will be notified of your first court hearing, or arraignment. During the first court appearance, a judge will read the DUI charges against you. You will be required to enter a plea, which can be guilty, not guilty or no contest. At this time, you can represent yourself, hire an attorney or enlist the free help of a public defender (a government-appointed lawyer who can assist those who cannot afford to hire a private lawyer).

A guilty plea will result in sentencing on the spot. Entering a no contest plea will result in either sentencing on the spot or setting another court date for sentencing. If you plan to challenge your DUI, you must plead not guilty. The judge will schedule your case for a trial. The best course of action truly depends on the circumstances surrounding your case.

Man with DUI arrest handcuffed

Administrative Action after a DUI Arrest

At the time of the DUI arrest, the police officer usually takes away your license. You are given a notice of suspension along with a temporary license that’s valid for 30 days. You have a limited number of days immediately following your arrest to request a DMV hearing to challenge the license suspension. Keep in mind this process is separate from the court proceedings. If the DMV review shows there is no basis for the suspension or revocation, it may be dismissed. For this administrative hearing, you can represent yourself or have your private lawyer represent you.

Penalties after DUI Arrest and Conviction

DUI penalties vary by state and individual. Generally, a first-time conviction may include license suspension, jail time, court fines, probation and DUI education courses. You’ll see a significant increase in car insurance premiums from your insurance company. That’s if your insurance company offers DUI solution coverage. Many don’t.

The penalties for a second- or third-offense DUI are similar but usually steeper. For example, the license suspension period and potential jail time may be longer. The court fees are greater and the DUI education program is longer.

You may need to shop around and compare car insurance rates to find the cheapest auto insurance. In many cases, part of the state requirements after a DUI conviction are the filing of an SR-22 certificate.

What is an SR-22?

An SR-22 certificate is something your insurance company files on your behalf to let the state know that you are carrying the legal amount of car insurance. Some states do not require an SR-22, but in the ones that do, a DUI conviction almost always will require an SR-22 certificate.

How much is DUI Car Insurance?

Your car insurance company now considers you a high risk driver – and you’ll be paying anywhere from $600 to $1,000 more per month for your auto insurance. Some estimates put the amount at 75% higher than it was before.

The total amount for your DUI conviction, including fines, fees, car insurance, attorney and more has been estimated at between $10,000 to $25,000.

Find Affordable DUI Insurance Today

Getting a DUI can seriously impact the price of your auto insurance premium. Luckily, Freeway Insurance specializes in helping people with violations on their driving record find quality insurance plans that will fit their needs. Call (800) 777-5620 to speak with a live agent or get your free car insurance quote online to save big on insurance coverage. You are also welcome to stop in one of our convenient locations.

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