By Dale Gribow

These secrets and suggestions are not known by many lawyers who only focus on the guilt or innocence of their client. Most lawyers don’t consider the financial consequences DUI drivers encounter upon insurance renewals. Good attorneys, however, consider all DUI consequences.

You don’t have to be drunk to be guilty of a DUI. A DUI (Driving Under the Influence), DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) or OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) are all the same “Drunk Driving” charge, known by different names throughout the country. It is similar to a Hurricane being called a Typhoon or Cyclone in other parts of the world.

Drivers do not realize one does NOT have to be DRUNK to receive a DUI—drivers merely have to be impaired or buzzed. Unfortunately, most of us are not aware when we are impaired and thus drive and get “popped.” A simple secret is that it is not how many drinks you had, but how much alcohol was in each drink. Thinking it is ok to drive after “two drinks” may be the biggest mistake of your life, particularly if each drink had 3 ounces.

A DUI arrest results in your driver’s license being snatched by the officer under the Stop and Snatch law. Because of this, you should pay $6 at the DMV for your records and request a DMV ID CARD. You will need some form of picture ID during this DUI process and for travel. The DMV record may advise your attorney of your breath test reading before the court date.

If you lose at trial or enter into a plea bargain, in order to get your license back, you must pay a reissuance fee, enroll in a DUI class and file an SR22 showing proof of insurance. However, the biggest SECRET many knowledgeable DUI lawyers do not know is that they should advise clients to NOT use their regular auto insurance carrier for filing the SR22.

DUI drivers should consider SR22 filing programs offered by a few new DUI auto insurance carriers. It is important to use a new auto insurance carrier as it will prevent your current insurance company from being put on notice of your DUI right away. I would never advise a client to lie, but why “volunteer” that information unless it is specifically requested. You don’t call your insurance carrier to tell them you got a speeding tix do you?

The cost of the new SR22 policy is based on age, zip code and one’s driving record. It can be filed electronically by the new insurance agent in three minutes and if an SR22 is later determined to not be needed, they will provide a 100% refund. Remember you are innocent until proven guilty. Your insurance company’s post-conviction rate increases, on average, by $2,500. Why not protect an increase in your insurance premium? If contacted after the DMV suspension, these new insurance companies can still help, but with lesser savings.

It is the responsibility of the insurance company to learn of your record, not yours to notify them. Insurance companies have millions of customers and cannot ask each customer yearly if they had a DUI. I advise my clients to wait to be asked or for their insurance company to run their driving record. For further information on these new DUI insurance carriers, contact me at 760-837-7500.

The biggest secret of this article is to have the DUI driver file the SR22 with the new auto insurance carrier BEFORE a plea or DMV Hearing. Remember, the driver is still “presumed innocent until proven guilty.” Thus, if the driver files the SR22 with the new auto insurance company before a plea or DMV hearing, the DUI will not yet have appeared on their record.

The suggestions noted above allow my clients to get back on the road quickly and with less expense, though they will still be facing a potential conviction or DMV suspension.


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