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3 financial reasons to avoid pleading guilty to a DUI

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2024 | Traffic Tickets |

People arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) offenses in Washington State are often eager to put the experience behind them. Many people try to expedite the criminal process by entering a guilty plea.

They think that avoiding a lengthy trial could prevent others from discovering the offense. Some people also believe that the courts may impose a more lenient sentence if they are cooperative. Those who rush to plead guilty after a DUI arrest may not have considered the long-term consequences of that decision.

If nothing else, a DUI conviction can have a significant, negative impact on someone’s finances. There are numerous potential financial setbacks that people may experience after a DUI conviction or guilty plea, including the three below.

Increased insurance costs

What people pay for motor vehicle insurance depends on their driving history and certain other factors. The more significant traffic violations someone has on their record, the more likely insurance providers are to increase their rates. DUI offenses can have a major impact on insurance costs. According to an analysis of policies from multiple major companies, a DUI conviction increases the average policy by $610 annually. That represents a roughly 45% premium increase.  In some cases, those with repeat offenses or other major violations on their records may even need to switch insurance companies.

Driver’s license penalties

The suspension of someone’s driver’s license is a standard penalty for a DUI conviction. Depending on how many prior offenses someone has on their record, the courts could suspend their license for up to four years. The loss of driving privileges can be expensive because it makes someone dependent on other people or paid services to get to work and perform other necessary functions. The cost of losing a driver’s license can add up to thousands of dollars per year.

Career setbacks

Having a criminal record can damage someone’s employment prospects. Those who already have good jobs may find that they have a hard time moving up at a company after a criminal conviction. Employers often perform background checks when making decisions about raises and promotions. Scrutiny by potential future employers is also standard when people apply for jobs at companies with which they do not currently have a working relationship. A criminal record could potentially also affect continuing education opportunities and financial aid for higher education.

Overall, the financial consequences of a DUI conviction could be sufficient reason on their own to fight pending charges. Understanding the impact of DUI could have on one’s life could inspire someone to respond assertively to DUI charges.