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Arizona drivers beware: Insurance rates soar after DUI

We often discuss the serious penalties that drivers can face if they are convicted of drunk driving in Arizona. For many people, avoiding jail time and keeping the offense on their record are the top priorities. Drivers also want to keep their license and minimize any fines that may be ordered.

However, there are many other consequences associated with DUI that drivers may not realize right away. For instance, drivers who have a drunk driving offense on their record will also learn that their insurance rates will increase sharply and in some cases the premiums are simply too high to pay.

Drivers with a DUI are typically considered "high risk" by insurance companies and this will be reflected in a driver's premiums. Even if someone had a clean driving record prior to a drunk driving offense, he or she will need to secure SR-22 insurance after a DUI.

And drivers in Arizona aren't exactly given any breaks when it comes to their premiums. In fact, a DUI violation will result in an average increase of about 104 percent in an Arizona driver's insurance rates. This increase is significantly higher than the national average, which is closer to a 90 percent increase, and it could make it impossible for a driver to be insured.

This means that even after all the other penalties have been avoided or completed, a driver will still have to pay for a DUI for years to come either through insurance premiums or by not being able to drive.

This is an important issue that drivers need to take into account when they are making decisions about how they want to handle DUI charges. Speaking with an attorney can be an effective way to get a handle on all the potential repercussions of a conviction as well as what options exist to try and avoid or minimize consequences.

Source: ABC 15, "Arizona face high car insurance rates after DUI," Becca Smouse, Feb. 20, 2015

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