When I meet with a client facing a DUI charge, they are typically worried most about the possibility of jail time. The reality is that for routine misdemeanor DUI charges, jail time is typically just a few days, and sometimes is suspended altogether. There are more lasting effects from a DUI conviction, however, particularly in the area of insurance premiums. The reality is that many insurance carriers will simply drop coverage for an individual convicted of DUI. This will depend largely upon your prior driving history, as well as factors such as age and employment.
Virginia is also one of a handful of states that requires additional minimum coverage for individuals convicted of DUI. Pursuant to Virginia Code §46.2-472, every motorist in Virginia is required to carry insurance of at least $25,000 insurance for bodily injury, $50,000 for bodily injury to two or more persons, and $20,000 for property damage. These coverage levels are actually fairly low, and most motorists carry significantly better coverage. However, Virginia Code §46.2-316 mandates that those convicted of DUI are required to carry at least double the basic coverage mandated in §46.2-316. To facilitate this, individuals convicted of DUI in Virginia must complete what is called an FR-44 Financial Responsibility Certification. This form essentially states that the individual is carrying insurance commensurate with the requirements for those convicted of DUI.
The bottom line is that most people fail to see the forest for the trees when the look at a DUI charge. They find themselves so terrified of the prospect of a couple of days in jail that they fail to appreciate some of the other more permanent effects of a conviction. Months and even years later, individuals are not concerned about having spent a few hours or days in jail, but they are greatly concerned about the staggering insurance premiums that follow the conviction.
There are countless reasons to aggressively fight a DUI charge. Insurance is just one of them. If you are facing a DUI charge in Virginia, contact us right away. We are here to help!