A DUI (driving under the influence) is considered one of the larger violations a driver can commit and thus often leads to a suspended license and other repercussions. But your license being suspended doesn’t get rid of your need to drive, so it is important to know your options after obtaining a DUI.
What is a DUI? Why is it Dangerous?
When people think of DUIs, they mostly think of drinking alcohol and driving. While this is one example of a DUI, Driving Under the Influence doesn’t just refer to alcohol. A DUI can refer to driving under the influence of alcohol, weed or almost any other drug.
Georgia law describes a DUI as “driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or greater (.04% or more for drivers operating commercial vehicles and .02% or more for drivers under 21 years of age), while under the influence of any alcohol, drug or controlled substance, or with illegal drugs or marijuana in your blood or urine.
In 2018, 29% of all driving-related fatalities were caused by alcohol impaired driving. Drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs have slower reaction times and impaired motor skills, meaning they are less able to avoid a collision or accident. Drunk driving causes thousands of deaths each year on roadways. In 2017 alone, 17,436 drivers in Georgia were arrested on suspicion of a DUI and alcohol impaired driving caused a fatality rate of 3.5 per 100,000 people in the U.S.
What is an SR22?
An SR22 is a form stating that a driver is carrying the amount of car insurance as legally required by their state. SR22 forms are not insurance policies. Instead, they are proof that you have liability insurance so that other people on the road will be covered if you cause an accident.
You must carry an SR22 for as long as the court dictates. This is usually 2 to 3 years, depending on the circumstances. You can file an SR22 through your insurance provider, who will work with the DMV to make sure you maintain coverage.
An SR22 doesn’t impact your rates directly. Instead, it is the traffic violation (or DUI) that makes your rates go up. The SR22 itself is relatively cheap. On average, you may purchase an SR22 for a one-time payment of $20 to $25.
Be sure to maintain your SR22 as long as required.
What Happens If You Get a DUI?
Legal repercussions for a DUI may differ state to state. In most cases, you can be detained or arrested and face hefty fines. Your vehicle may also be impounded, and your license suspended.
In Georgia, penalties are determined by the severity of the incident and the number of previous offenses.
For a single DUI, a Georgia driver may face between 10 days to 12 months of jail time, fines between $300 and $1,000 and a minimum of 20 hours of community service, which goes up to 40 hours if the driver’s BAC was .08% or more.
For two DUIs, a Georgia driver may face 90 days to 12 months of jail time, $600 to $1,000 in fines, and a minimum of 30 days in community service.
A third DUI may result in 120 days to 12 months of jail time, fines of $1,000 to $5,000 and a minimum of 30 days in community service.
Driving without a license in the U.S. is illegal. After a DUI, you will be called to a court in order to handle the DUI. In all likelihood, you will be charged with purchasing an SR22 and SR22 insurance before you are able to get your license back.
There are other penalties you may not be aware of, however. You may also face repercussions when it comes to purchasing car insurance again. A DUI generally remains on your record for as long as 10 years, meaning during this period, you are seen by insurers as high risk. A high-risk driver is one who has a poor driving record or is generally seen as more likely to file a car insurance claim. This means insurance providers often charge higher premiums in order to cover their risk of losing money. In fact, some insurance providers simply refuse to cover high risk drivers.
Finding a policy can be difficult if you have a DUI on your record, and a cheap policy is almost impossible. There are ways you can save money, but you will still be paying more than you were before the DUI.
What Insurance Does an SR22 Require?
Your state requirements determine how much insurance you will need. Georgia requires all drivers to carry at least:
- $25,000 in bodily injury liability per person
- $50,000 in bodily injury liability per accident
- $25,000 in property damage liability
While you can carry higher rates than this, you must maintain these minimum amounts for your SR22 requirement.
Speak with an insurance agent about getting the right SR22 form and auto insurance so that you can drive even after a DUI.
Also Read: How to Avoid a Second SR-22
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