DUIs: Driver’s license suspensions and insurance
A DUI is a serious charge and isn’t taken lightly in the state of Florida. When it comes to a DUI charge, a driver faces multiple potential penalties, including jail time, fines, vehicle impoundment and community service. And one of the most common is suspension of the driver’s license. A driver’s license can be suspended for a multitude of reasons, such as point accumulation, failure to pay tickets, or inadequate vision. But when it comes to a DUI charge, the license can be suspended much more easily than in other situations. Additionally, another subsequent hurdle that drivers convicted of DUI charges face is raised insurance rates and premiums that require extra steps in order to become insured.
Length of suspensions
When it comes to a driver’s license suspension in a DUI case, the length of the suspension depends on the circumstances and how many times that driver has committed a DUI. For a first DUI conviction, a driver will be suspended for at least six months. Oftentimes, it’s likely that the license had been suspended by the DHSMV for the driver either refusing to submit to the breathalyzer or providing a breath sample above the legal limit. For a second DUI conviction that’s taken place more than five years prior to the first, the suspension is still a minimum of six months, however it’s likely that the driver will face a longer suspension period. If the second conviction happens within five years of the previous charge, the minimum suspension spikes to five years.
Reinstating a driver’s license
In order to reinstate a revoked license, a driver may need to perform several tasks. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, depending on the conviction and circumstances, the driver might need to complete DUI school and remain under a supervision program. The DUI school enrollment typically must be done within a certain timeframe. The driver may also need to pay fees or even appear in court to reinstate a suspended license for a DUI charge. In more severe DUI cases that resulted in injury or death, the driver may never have their driver’s license reinstated.
Auto insurance and DUIs
All drivers are required to hold car insurance, so naturally a DUI and license suspension can affect insurance premiums, since rates are typically based on the driver and their history. According to Esurance, a prior record of DUI convictions indicates to insurance companies that the driver has engaged in high-risk and dangerous driving behavior, and therefore will charge a higher premium. The precise amount will depend on the specific situation, but a past DUI conviction can cause insurance premiums to spike by hundreds of dollars.
Certificate of Financial Responsibility
If a driver has previously displayed high-risk or dangerous driving behavior, such as a DUI or reckless driving, they may be required to complete a Certificate of Financial Responsibility when they go to obtain auto insurance. With auto insurance companies, these are known as SR-22/SR-44 forms. Once the driver has obtained a quote from the company, they will begin the process of completing the form. Typically, the insurance company will file the form on behalf of the driver for a fee.
Are you or someone you know facing a DUI charge and suspended driver’s license? You need an experienced attorney by your side to fight for you and build a solid defense. Call us at the offices of attorney Joseph Knape at 850-225-5563 or set up a free consultation online.