While many people understand the cost of going to court and paying fees associated with the legal system for a DUI, few realize that perhaps the greatest ongoing cost is the drastically increased auto insurance premium for the three to five years after getting a DUI.
A new study released by QuoteWizard this June found that hiring a private DUI lawyer to get your charges reduced can save you up to $4,000 on car insurance alone. After you are charged with a DUI, you will see rising premiums for your car insurance. Companies may even cancel your insurance coverage since you are seen as a potentially expensive liability. On average, drivers with DUIs will pay $830 more per year for auto insurance than drivers without a record.
The key to reducing your DUI cost is getting your DUI charge reduced to a reckless or negligent driving charge. Your best chance of this outcome is with a private lawyer. The study found that a private DUI lawyer is three times more likely to get a DUI charge reduced than a free public defender.
Even with reduced charges, your insurance rates will rise, but a DUI charge will cost an average of $1,460 more on insurance than someone with a reckless or negligent driving charge. Further, court fees and fines for a DUI average out to $3,600. Fees for reduced charges are less than half that at $1,600.
"Since the consequences of a DUI conviction are staggering, the cost of good legal counsel should be viewed as an investment working to protect the defendant’s future," says attorney Eduardo M. Borda. It’s essential to get a private lawyer to save money in the long run. Beyond that, it’s just as important to make sure to hire an attorney who specializes in DUI defense. "A person charged with a DUI needs a lawyer specifically trained in defending DUIs to get the police reports, video recordings, audio recordings and all of the maintenance, calibration, and testing logs for the breath test machine, or any underlying data on blood or urine tests," says Jay Norton, a Kansas DUI lawyer. "You have to know what to ask for, know how to get it and then know what to do with it."
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