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How Can a DUI Affect Insurance?

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A driving under the influence (DUI) conviction can carry much more than a criminal penalty. A DUI conviction can also hit the defendant where it hurts the most: the pocketbook.

Auto insurance can be seriously affected in a negative way after someone is arrested and convicted of a DUI offense. This is often just as much a deterrent as the possible criminal charges associated with the offense.

DUI Car Insurance Consequences

Being convicted of a DUI does not necessarily mean the driver’s insurance rates will skyrocket immediately after the conviction is issued. In fact, Nevada car insurance laws expressly prohibit insurance providers from suddenly increasing the driver’s premiums or dropping the driver from their policy while it is existing.

However, this protection only lasts during the driver’s existing policy period. Once that period lapses, most insurance companies will consider the driver to be “high risk” and will likely increase the driver’s insurance rates or even completely cease coverage. Depending on when the policy expires, this increase could occur even while the DUI charges are pending.

Some insurance companies will agree to keep the driver insured but only at a higher cost than the standard policy.

It is important, however, to do some research before accepting the first company that says “yes” to covering the driver. Options are out there, even for the less-than-desirable insurance customer.

Understanding the SR-22

A standard DUI penalty in Nevada is a temporary suspension of that person’s driving privileges, even if it is his or her first offense.

In Nevada, after someone receives a DUI conviction, that person is required to file what is known as an “SR-22” with the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles before his or her driver’s license can ever be reinstated. The driver will be required to file an SR-22 for at least three years. Even if the person is an out-of-state driver arrested while in Nevada, most states will have the same or similar requirements.

The SR-22 is a document showing “proof of financial responsibility.” It is issued from the driver’s car insurance provider, and it shows that the driver has the minimum liability coverage required by law to have a driver’s license.

This coverage usually includes policies for $15,000 for bodily injury or death of one person, $30,000 for bodily injury or death of more than one person; and $10,000 injury or damage to the property of others. The SR-22 is required even if the driver does not own a vehicle.

If for any reason, the licensed driver’s policy is cancelled, the driver’s insurance provider will notify the DMV, and the driver’s license will be suspended again until new SR-22 coverage is obtained.

Nevada Restricted License Requirements

Individuals receiving a first or third-time DUI conviction may be allowed to request a restricted driver’s license, which will allow them to drive for a total of ten hours a day, six days a week, only for purposes of going to and from work. If someone is facing a second-time offense, they are not eligible for a restricted driver’s license.

Those receiving their first offense may be eligible for the restricted license 45 days after their official revocation period has lapsed. Those who are facing a third-time conviction may be eligible for a restricted license after one year of their three-year revocation period has lapsed.

One key word that is of importance in these descriptions is the word “may.” A judge does have some level of discretion depending on the facts surrounding the arrest as to whether this request can be made. A restricted license is something that is more of a privilege than a right, but it still may be granted in the proper circumstances.

To apply for a restricted license, the driver needs to fill out and submit an Employed Restricted License Application or Unemployed Restricted License Application.

As stated before, he or she will need to provide proof of financial responsibility via an SR-22 insurance policy. The driver will also need to successfully complete the DMV’s written, vision and driving tests in many situations. Depending on whether an ignition interlock device (IID) is required per the order of the criminal court, the driver will also need to provide proof that one has been installed by an appropriate provider. Lastly, the driver may also need to provide proof that he or she has been in enrolled in and has completed traffic safety school before a restricted license will be issued.

Contact Us Today!

If you have been arrested for a DUI while visiting our state, it is important you contact the Hill Firm today. We can meet with you to discuss your rights and all potential legal consequences from your arrest. Contact us today at (702) 848-5000.

Dan Hill