Facing drunk driving charges in Pennsylvania may have both immediate and far-reaching implications in your life. If you’re a college student, for example, you might lose scholarship monies if the court hands down a conviction. If you’re a licensed professional, such as a teacher or doctor, the court may suspend or revoke your license, depending on the details of your case. Another issue affected by DUI is automobile insurance premiums.
Do you know that a full-coverage auto insurance policy in Pennsylvania costs more than 80% more for drivers who have DUI convictions on their driving records than it does for people who have never had a conviction for drunk driving. In fact, you can expect to pay more than $3,700 for full-coverage insurance in this state with a DUI conviction. In addition to insurance premiums skyrocketing, substantial fines (upwards of $10,000 in some cases) and other DUI-associated expenses can cause severe financial distress for the average individual.
Finding a carrier after a DUI conviction may be difficult
If you must drop your car insurance because you can’t afford the increased premium with a particular agency following a DUI conviction, you might be hard-pressed to find a new carrier. Many carriers will refuse to write policies for drivers with a drunk driving conviction on their record. It is illegal to have a car on the road that is not properly insured.
If you can’t drive your car, you might not be able to get to and from work each day or take your kids to school or elsewhere, or head out on the town for a social gathering or just to run to the grocery store. It’s a mistake to believe that a first-offense DUI is “no big deal.” It can wreak havoc in all aspects of your life.
What to do if a Pennsylvania police officer makes a DUI stop
If you’re pulled over for suspected DUI, one of the first things you’ll be asked to do is show proof of driver’s license, vehicle registration and auto insurance. The officer might ask you to take a field sobriety test. It’s entirely up to you whether to comply. Such tests are not obligatory. Even if you don’t submit to a sobriety test, the officer might still take you into police custody if he or she establishes probable cause in some other way.
If you find yourself in a similar situation in Pennsylvania, try to remain calm and be respectful and as cooperative as possible. You do not have to navigate the criminal justice system alone. Support is available for those facing DUI charges, and the sooner you seek it, the better.