Driving under the influence can land you in hot water with the law, but it can also affect your eligibility for insurance. Here’s what you should know.
In West Virginia, DUIs come with various consequences depending on the circumstances surrounding your DUI and level of intoxication. Generally, the court will suspend your license and require completion of a driving program, but even first offenders could face jail time depending on their blood alcohol concentration.
BAC is the measure of alcohol in the blood. Breathalyzers and chemical tests are often used to measure this, and the results often determine how severe the penalties will be in your case. There are two types of DUIs: non-aggravated and aggravated.
Non-aggravated DUIs are when the driver has a BAC of .15 or lower. If this is the case, you could face up to six months in jail and a mandatory minimum fine of $100. Your license will be suspended, and you will be required to drive with an ignition interlock system to ensure that you don’t re-offend.
Aggravated DUIs have harsher penalties, including fines of up to $1,000 and almost an entire year of driving with an ignition interlock device. If you’re caught with a BAC higher than .15, you may face these consequences in addition to mandatory jail time.
You can refuse a breathalyzer test, but under WV law, by refusing to take the test, you can be punished with six months in jail, loss of your license, fines, and a court hearing. West Virginia has some of the strictest laws regarding driving under the influence, so it’s important to understand that a DUI could cost you money and freedom.
DUI charges can be devastating, but the consequences aren’t limited to license suspension and fines. Auto insurance providers rarely offer competitive rates to “high-risk” drivers. Essentially, drivers with a history of frequent accidents and drunk/high driving may have to pay a much higher premium to compensate for their driving record.
If you’re already insured, be sure to check your policy to see if you are at risk of losing your insurance because of a DUI. Some insurance companies drop clients with a history of driving under the influence, which puts the driver in a difficult position. Some states, including WV, require a minimum amount of car insurance so getting dropped from your policy is a big deal.
What Can I Do?
If you’ve lost coverage due to a DUI, you’re probably worried about your future. Driving is a privilege, but driving without insurance isn’t permitted, and your freedom could be at risk even if you have fulfilled the terms of your sentence.
However, you do have options. You can shop around and see which insurance companies are willing to cover you. While it’s not ideal, most insurance companies have sky-high premiums for drivers with a DUI, but not all insurance policies have the same rates. You may be able to find a company willing to insure you at a higher but more competitive rate.
Another option is nonstandard insurance. These companies insure drivers with unique circumstances like those who live in a high-theft area or people with poor credit. Most of them will cover you despite your DUI, but if you caused an accident and killed or injured someone, they may be less likely to provide coverage.
If you absolutely cannot find coverage anywhere else, you may qualify for insurance through an assigned risk pool. This is a last resort – insurance through an assigned risk pool is extremely expensive, so you should evaluate your other options first.
Get Your Freedom Back
DUI charges are complicated, and even a first offense can ruin your opportunities. However, you may be able to fight for your freedom by hiring a DUI attorney.
The Wagner Law Firm is the premier DUI firm in West Virginia. We handle DUI cases exclusively, so you can be sure that we are knowledgeable and dedicated to your case. Our attorney can investigate your case and work with you to determine the best course of action.
Reclaim your independence with The Wagner Law Firm. Contact us today!