If you are convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs, your car insurance rates will probably skyrocket. Auto insurance companies typically check your driving record record only once every three years or when you apply for a new policy. It’s possible that accidents, tickets, and DUIs may never make their way to your official driving record, but if your insurer finds a driving under influence and defines you as a “high-risk driver,” shopping around is the smartest strategy, as rates vary greatly. On the other hand, your policy could be cancelled or non-renewed, especially if you are in a preferred-rate class. Then you’ll have to find new insurance with the double disadvantage of a DUI and a cancellation on your record.

Most states including California require driving under influence offenders to obtain an SR-22 from their auto insurers. This form demonstrates to the state that you carry liability insurance, and it removes your license suspension. An SR-22 also requires your insurer to notify your state’s department of motor vehicles if your car insurance is cancelled for any reason. Some auto insurance companies don’t even offer SR-22 policies, so your policy could be non-renewed or cancelled because your company can no longer provide the coverage you need.

The bottom line: a DUI conviction will dramatically increase your auto insurance rates, and they probably will never return to the level that you’re paying right now. That’s one reason why it’s vital to have the help of an experienced DUI defense attorney if you face any driving under influence or DUI-related charge in California. A good DUI defense lawyer will make every effort to have the charge reduced or dismissed; if your case goes to trial, an experienced DUI attorney will argue aggressively for your acquittal. Higher insurance rates are only the tip of the consequences if you are convicted; fines, jail, and loss of your driver’s license are also possibilities. If you face the charge – now or in the future – get the help you need and speak to an experienced DUI defense attorney at once.