If you have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Florida, there will be a number of impacts on your life, some small and some large. One thing that you may not be considering is the effect that a DUI can have on your car insurance, and what you can do about it.
What is a DUI in Florida?
DUI is set out in Florida Statutes 316.193, which states that if you are “under the influence of alcoholic beverages” or other chemical substances (such as marijuana) that intoxicate you, while “driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle”, you can be charged with a DUI. Specifically, if you have a blood-alcohol level that is at or above the limit of 0.08 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood, you can be charged. You may face fines or imprisonment for a DUI conviction, depending on whether it is a first offense or later.
What are the Impacts of a DUI on Car Insurance?
If you have been convicted of a DUI in Florida, your car insurance company will raise your rates. Insurers are mostly concerned about risk, and if you have a DUI conviction you will be perceived as a higher risk.
Insurance companies try to anticipate having to pay out money for damages, injury, or death that could be caused by drivers who are under the influence. In addition to your normal insurance rates, your premiums may also increase, sometimes for a long period of time after the DUI conviction.
It is important to know that in Florida, insurance companies can also cancel your policy if you are convicted of a DUI. This is covered under section 627.728 of the Florida Statutes, which sets out that if your driver’s license or registration has been suspended or revoked (which is a usual consequence of a DUI), your policy can be canceled with 45 days notice.
What Can You Do About It?
If your license has been suspended or revoked, or your policy has been cancelled, you will need to get a SR-22 or FR-44 form. These are forms that are then “attached” to your insurance policy, to prove that you have a sufficient minimum amount of insurance for your perceived riskier behavior.
SR-22 or FR-44 filings on your insurance show that you are at higher risk, and your premiums will be higher as a result. Often, these policies must be paid up-front for the entire year.
Once you have completed one of these filings and the insurance company has approved it, you can get your driver’s license reinstated (after the period of time allocated due to the conviction for DUI, such as 6 months or one-year suspension).
If your policy has been cancelled completely, you might also need to look around at other insurance providers, many of whom may be not willing to insure drivers with a DUI on their records. Some larger companies may be willing to take on the risk, due to higher funding and the ability to “pool” high risk drivers at higher rates.
Please note that you cannot avoid telling your car insurance company that you have been convicted of a DUI, or that your license has been revoked or suspended. Periodically, insurance company representatives are contacted by officials at the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. This official will confirm and check whether their insurance customers are compliant with increased coverage requirements after being convicted of a DUI, so your insurance company will be notified.
Get Help from a Board-Certified Attorney
If you need advice on how to obtain car insurance after a DUI in Florida, or you have been charged with a DUI in Florida and you need representation, Stechschulte Nell can help. Attorney Ben Stechschulte is a Florida board-certified trial lawyer and has defended hundreds of DUI cases.
We are available 24/7 to take your call and discuss the specifics of your case.