What is so bad about having a DUI or DWAI conviction on your driving record? Aside from the fines and penalties, and even possible jail time you may have to serve, as long as you make sure it doesn't happen again, you can put it behind you, right? Wrong!
If you plan on driving again, you may first of all have to deal with getting your license back or getting restrictions removed if that was part of your sentencing in court. In Colorado, you can have your license suspended for up to nine months for a first offense conviction of a DUI. This penalty does not apply to a DWAI, which is having a blood alcohol content of greater than .05 percent but less than .08 percent. (A DUI is having a BAC greater than .08 percent.)
So now you have your license back and it's all over, right? Wrong! Try getting reasonable rates on auto insurance with a DUI or DWAI on your record. You may end up paying in the range of 52 percent more for your auto insurance. An annual average rate for car insurance in Colorado is $1,095. With a DUI, it could be as high as $1,660 -- an increase of $565.
A DUI on your driving record can remain for 5 to 12 years and affect your insurance rates for approximately seven years -- and getting a DUI out of state is as just as damaging as getting one in state. Most states will transfer DUI convictions to your home state's Department of Motor Vehicles and vice versa. The record goes with you.
Avoiding driving while under the influence is the best way to avoid DUI charges -- of course -- but we all know that things happen. If you have already been charged, your next step is to contact an attorney to try to avoid a conviction that will further affect your future. Your attorney may be able to get the charges dropped or reduced through plea bargaining depending on the circumstances. Uncovering factors during the arrest, such as lack of probable cause for stopping you, inefficient testing and other things might influence the case one way or the other.