Drinking and Driving: What to Do After a DUI

Drinking and Driving What to Do After a DUI

Drinking and Driving What to Do After a DUI

A night of drinking coupled with impaired judgment can quickly take a treacherous turn. If you drove a vehicle while intoxicated and are now dealing with the consequences, explore what to do after a DUI to become a more responsible drinker.

Your First DUI

Post-DUI, most people just want to get their driving privileges back—but that’s easier said than done. A few possible consequences of a first DUI conviction include a suspended license, fines, a prison sentence (for serious offenses), drunk driving education, a substance abuse evaluation, and/or a mandatory court appearance. Unfortunately, even a first-time DUI offense can end up costing perpetrators anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000.

When the police pull you over for a suspected DUI offense, they first administer a sobriety or breathalyzer test. In all 50 states, a first-offense DUI is classified as a misdemeanor, meaning that you can face up to six months in prison. Some states extend jail time if your BAC is much higher than the legal limit of .08%. In addition to a brief stint in jail, perpetrators will likely face fines—sometimes up to $2,000.

DUI offenders will also likely get their licenses suspended for a fair amount of time. After the police officer takes away your license, a 10-day permit can be issued, allowing you to drive your car for 10 days afterwards. However, a first-time DUI conviction carries a mandatory minimum license suspension of 180 days. After their convictions, most DUI offenders also have to get SR22 insurance, a specific type of vehicle insurance that your provider may impose on you after you get a DUI.

Each DUI offense ends with a criminal court proceeding—you can choose to represent yourself or hire a DUI lawyer to represent you. The most beneficial outcome for you would be the opportunity to bargain for a plea deal, which you can’t do without a lawyer. Getting your DUI charge reduced to a lesser offense means the possibility of expunging it from your record, lower fines, and getting back on the road faster.

Repeat Offenses

All of the above penalties increase in severity if you’re a repeat DUI offender. A common consequence of multiple DUI convictions is getting your car impounded. During your arrest, police officers will arrange to have the vehicle taken to an impound lot. The vehicle may remain on the premises for a period of 90 days, after which it may be auctioned off or sold for parts. Many states also put offenders with multiple DUIs into mandatory alcohol rehabilitation centers.

A second DUI is still considered a misdemeanor, coming with a fine of $2,500 and a maximum jail sentence of one year. Once you’ve been subject to a third DUI arrest, charges increase to a Class 4 felony. Penalties for that include up to three years in prison, but more moderate consequences include a $2,500 fine along with probation. A fourth DUI—and anything beyond that—is considered a Class 2 felony. Probation for individuals with four or more DUIs is prohibited; instead, they must serve prison sentences of three to seven years.

 

If you’re looking for SR22 insurance in Washington, trust Serenity Group to get you back on the road in safest and most efficient way possible.

Frequently Asked Questions about SR22 Insurance

Frequently Asked Questions about SR22 Insurance

A SR22 is a type of insurance that many people may not have heard of before they’re notified that they require one. So, what is a SR22? The short answer is that a SR22 is a certificate that’s held by high risk drivers upon committing a traffic offence. Due to the name, there is a common misconception that this is an insurance form, but it’s not. A SR22 is simply proof of financial responsibility that must be maintained for as long as the holder’s state requires. Reasons for needing a SR22 include:

  • Receiving several tickets in a short amount of time
  • Being convicted of a DUI or other substance abuse
  • Driving without insurance or a license
  • Driving with a suspended license
  • Being at-fault in an accident without holding the proper insurance.

Maintaining a SR22 is not an experience anyone is eager to have. You’re also likely to develop several questions when applying for one. To address any queries you may have, we’ve made a list of frequently asked questions about SR22s.

How Do I Get a SR22?

To file for an SR22, you need to already own standard auto insurance. If you’re penalty was due to not carrying insurance, you’ll have to obtain that before getting your SR22. Depending on your driving history, this can be expensive, but it’s an essential step. Once you have regular auto insurance, you just need to contact your insurance provider to begin the SR22 filing process.

How Much Will It Cost?

This can vary, of course, but in most places a SR22 holds a $15 to $50 filing fee, and the penalty/reinstatement fee can run between $55 and $250. You may want to talk to a few different companies before making a financial decision regarding your provider. Do thorough research on the companies you are considering.

Does the Law Vary by State?

This short answer is yes. You should check your state laws before filing for your SR22 and familiarize yourself with the requirements. Not only do state laws vary, but there’s a chance that you’ll have to refile the form if you move between states. There are states that don’t require SR22s, so you want to familiarize yourself with their laws as well. The states in which SR22s aren’t required:

  • Alaska
  • Delaware
  • Kentucky
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma

How Long Will I Need It?

This varies by state, but the average term of an SR22 is three years, and you’re required to keep your policy current the entire time. If you commit another punishable offense while carrying your insurance, you’ll most likely have to file again and start the process over from the beginning.

Will it Affect My Insurance Rates?

Unfortunately, your SR22 can have a large impact on both your current, and future, insurance rates. If a SR22 is a result of reckless driving, such as drinking or dangerous speeding, it’s more than likely your insurance will take a hit. Insurance companies may offer an exorbitant premium, or outright reject your application. Also keep in mind that it’s possible that your current provider may drop you upon learning of your offence.

Can I Get it With a Different Insurance Company?

Once you answer the question of insurance rates, you may wonder if you can have both your auto insurance and SR22 with different companies—yes, you can. Many insurance companies don’t even offer a SR22, so you would have to select a different company regardless. This is important information in allowing you to select the rates that work for you.

What if I Don’t Have a Car?

An SR22 acts as proof of financial responsibility. You’ll need to have it even if you don’t own a vehicle. What you’ll need is non-owner SR22. This means that if you’re involved in an accident and are at fault, the vehicle you’re driving will not be covered.

Can I Switch Insurance?

It is certainly possible to switch insurance policies while holding a SR22, as long as you still follow the proper requirements. It’s understandable that you may wish to do this if your policy is affected by the incident, and you want to explore different financial options.

What if I Miss a Payment?

Allowing your insurance to lapse will almost certainly cause suspension of your insurance, so you want to be sure to stay current. If you don’t maintain it, your insurance company is required to let the government know, and this can result in heavy fines. If you do miss a payment, call your insurance company immediately to avoid penalties.

How Long Does it Take to Get it?

The entire process can take as long as 30 days, although this depends on the situation. You ideally want to contact your insurance company immediately after learning that it’s required. Once you find the quote that works for you and sign up, the company will issue the certificate. An electronic file can be transferred immediately so that you don’t have to wait. Some states, however, do require your certificate to be sent through the mail.

I Have My Certificate. What Now?

Once you have your SR22, it’s important that you always have it on you. If your insurance company has an app, you may be able to download it and access your form there. The most important things to do are keep up on payments and be careful on the road. Any additional driving offenses may invite harsher consequences than they did previously.

Mindfulness on the road is what’s ultimately going to be your best friend. Get a designated driver if you go out drinking, and always make sure that you’re current on your insurance policies. Having a SR22 is an annoyance, but it won’t be on your record forever. If you follow the guidelines presented to you, everything will be settled over time.

We hope that everything on this list has answered any questions you may have. If not, contact the appropriate insurance companies, and they’re sure to help you with anything you may need. If you’re looking for SR22 Insurance in Denver, contact Serenity Group today.

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What Are the Different Types of SR22 Insurance?

different types of insurance

For anyone unfamiliar with SR22 insurance, the entire process can seem daunting. There are a few important things you need to know, including how to get it and what type of it you’ll need. The requirements for filing, as well as how long you’ll have to hold your certificate, vary from state to state. As for the type of SR22 you need to obtain, there are three different options, all of which depend on your vehicle ownership status.

1. Owner

An owner policy is required for anyone who owns the car they drive and holds insurance for that vehicle. The SR22 is proof that you own your vehicle, and that it’s insured under your name. If lack of insurance was the reason you need a SR22, you’ll first have to get car insurance before filing for the form. If you already have insurance, you’ll have to contact your carrier and make them aware that you need to carry a SR22.

2. Non-Owner

If you don’t have a car, you may believe you shouldn’t need a SR22. This is not the case.  Even if you don’t own a car, if you drive one you still must be insured. Fortunately, a non-owner SR22 is oftentimes less expensive than an owner certificate, as many states only require non-owners to carry liability insurance.

3. Owner/Operator

This certificate covers vehicles that are owned by the driver, and any others that they drive. This is important to have if you drive several cars, as you want to be sure that you’re covered in any potential situation. The one downfall is that it’s typically more expensive than the other options.

You want to look into all the options, and their accompanying laws, before filing for any forms; it’s important that nothing is overlooked. We again stress the importance of being fully aware of your state’s specific laws as well before taking any steps. If there is anything you’re unsure of, contact your insurance agent and they should be happy to help you figure things out.

For any of these options, you can get an SR22 in Indiana with Serenity Group today.

Tips for Recovering from a DUI Conviction

Tips for Recovering from a DUI Conviction

Receiving a DUI conviction is a scary­—as well as stressful—occurrence. It can feel as though your life is now completely off-course and that you’ll never recover. When this happens, it may take you a while to get back on your feet. It’s important you take the time to come to terms with what happened and decide what your next steps will be. There is bound to be long-term consequences and you’ll need to learn how to navigate them. We provide a few ways that you can begin your road to recovery after receiving a DUI.

Get SR22 Insurance

After receiving a DUI, you’re required to obtain an SR22. This is a proof of insurance that’s held by high-risk drivers. An SR22 can be very expensive, but fortunately, some companies offer competitive quotes for eligible applicants. If you find the right company, getting an SR22 online can be a painless experience.

Seek Out Support

Your initial instinct upon receiving a DUI may be to run away—either physically or metaphorically. Don’t make any impulsive choices; stop, breath, and evaluate your situation. If you were to move in pursuit of a new start, factors such as your SR22 coverage and the penalty on your background check will still follow you. It’s better to stay in place and receive help from the people around you. Reach out to family and friends and see what they can offer in terms of support and accountability.

We understand that there are circumstances where family members cannot offer their assistance. Should that be the case, you could consider starting therapy. GoodTherapy is an excellent place to begin your search for help. We also recommend seeking out local support groups. Below are some online resources you can use find the group that’s right for you.

Stay Sober

One of these most important things you can do is avoid alcohol. You need to prove that you can be accountable to not only those around you but to yourself as well. To avoid relapsing, you’ll want to identify and learn how to avoid potential triggers.

Some common triggers include:

  • People you used to drink with
  • Certain environments
  • Stress
  • Certain times of the day

The good news is, apps such as Mood Tracker can help you to track changes in your mood and make it easier to identify triggers. If you’re diligent about keeping everything in one place, you may even start to discover patterns. Once you’re able to determine what provokes your need to drink, share your discoveries with a healthcare professional. They’ll help you devise a solution on how you can avoid these occurrences.

Find New Hobbies

If you’ve struggled with alcohol addiction, you may find yourself with a lot of free time during your remission. The risk of relapse may be higher if you sit with your thoughts and allow large pockets of empty time. Navigate this by filling your time with hobbies that excite you. Explore some of your older passions or try something completely new.

Forgive Yourself

For many, the hardest step in this process is your willingness to forgive yourself. Unfortunately, the effects of your DUI are going to stick around for a while, however, you’ll have to learn how to grow despite this. Take the time you need to recover and decide what’s next—this is a lesson learned. Use this new perspective to jump back into your life on a more positive note.

Causes of Road Rage and How to Handle Them

Causes of Road Rage and How to Handle Them

What is Road Rage?

The first thing you should know is that there’s a difference between aggressive driving and road rage. It’s important to know the differences between the two and identify which category you fall under, if any. According to New York State’s official site, “Aggressive driving is the operation of a motor vehicle in an unsafe and hostile manner without regard for others.” While aggressive driving is not road rage, it can branch into it.

Road rage is a violent act instigated by an occurrence caused by traffic. It’s important to note that road rage is not caused by the traffic itself, but by the individual displaying it. If you’re someone that displays any sort of violence due to incidents on the road, it’s important to realize that what you’re doing is the result of your own actions and no one else’s. Even mild-mannered people can display road rage, so it’s not just those with hot-heads who are susceptible to dangerous actions.

If you’ve identified yourself as someone that struggles with road rage, it’s best to pinpoint the causes and plan your solutions accordingly. The most common trigger for road rage is someone getting cut off, which accounts for 44% of incidents. Other common triggers include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Heavy traffic
  • High Beams
  • Slow driving
  • Tailgating
  • Inappropriate gestures

Once you’ve identified the cause of your road rage, you can work on ways to navigate your roadside temper. We’ve collected some tips on how deal with this, and we hope that you can successfully integrate them into your daily driving habits. If you find that you still struggle with rage when on the road, consider contacting a mental health professional to learn about their additional recommendations.

Heavy Traffic and Slow Drivers

Crawling home at a snail’s pace after a long day of work is likely to get on anyone’s nerves. Whether it’s bumper to bumper traffic on the highway or a driver ahead of you on a one-lane road coasting beneath the speed limit, we understand your frustration. With an entire day’s events already sitting on your chest, one more thing going wrong could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. It’s important that you know how to handle these frustrations in a safe manner. If you feel negative energy piling up, take a deep breath and ground yourself. If you’re worried about slow traffic taking up time that could be spent on more important things, try to find ways to make your drive more productive, and redirect your thoughts.

What to Do:

  • Listen to a podcast on a subject that interests you.
  • Choose a book series that takes a long time to listen to, and keep the audiobooks in your car.
  • Create new music playlists, and choose songs that will calm you.
  • If you have Bluetooth connected to your car, call someone you haven’t caught up with in a while. If you do this, make sure that it’s by voice command only, and that you’re not picking up your phone while moving.

Being Cut Off

The most common cause of road rage, and why does it make us so angry? For one, it often feels like someone is entering our space that we don’t think has a right to. It’s easy to concentrate on the fact that they had no regard for other drivers on the road, only their own goals. Another reason that this may be so anger-inducing for us is the dissociation we have with other drivers. Since we don’t know them, we don’t know of their motives or their concerns for their safety. This blatant disregard of others will annoy everyone, but ultimately, it’s a small brushstroke in the bigger picture.

What to Do:

  • Realize that you don’t have control of the driver in front of you, but you do have control over yourself. You need to accept that they did something arguably wrong, but you won’t retaliate with further instigation.
  • Avoid eye contact. Making any sort of visual connection with the other driver could cause the situation to escalate. If they’re already agitated, and now you are as well, you’re both more likely to make inappropriate gestures that could be translated as a challenge. It’s better to avoid the situation by keeping your eyes trained on the road.
  • The danger has passed, and nothing with lasting effects has occurred. Recognize and accept this fact and move on.

Distracted Drivers

Distracted drivers aren’t only an annoyance—they’re a danger. When someone is endangering the lives of others for the sake of their own convenience, they’re sure to invite disapproval. Drivers are 23 times more likely to get in an accident when using their phone behind the wheel. With all the reports of accidents caused by technology, it is tempting to battle their dangerous habits by displaying your own.

What to Do:

  • Drive defensively. Once you identify the potential threat, try to be more aware of your own driving. Keep your distance from the driver in case they brake suddenly or swerve into another lane. You may wish to pass the driver, but be careful if you choose to do this.
  • Report the driver. If you consider their behavior too erratic, call the proper authorities instead of taking justice into your own hands. If the driver is navigating in a way that’s unsafe to other drivers, especially if they seem to be under the influence, there should be some sort of intervention, but only from the proper authorities. Again, don’t pick up your phone while driving. Use it wirelessly or pull over.

You Are in Control

We stress again that the choices of other drivers are not your own. You should never put the safety of others at risk because of your own anger, whether you determine it to be justified or not. It’s important to be aware of what makes us tick and how to avoid it.

Road rage is considered a crime, and you can get in serious trouble for getting involved. If you’ve been in trouble before for this offense, you may seek out ways to manage your anger. This is an admirable step for you to take. There is also a chance that your road rage has caused a need to obtain an SR22. If you need one, we can help.

For an SR22 in Colorado, follow the link and get your quote today.

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What is SR-22 Insurance and When Do You Need It

What is SR-22 Insurance and When Do You Need It

After a license suspension or serious driving misdemeanor, you will likely have to file an SR-22 form. Though not an ideal situation, you can prepare yourself for the rigidity of an SR-22 policy.

What is SR-22?

People make mistakes, and an SR-22 form offers a little hope to drivers who commit serious moving violations. An SR-22 is required when someone can’t pay for damages incurred during a serious traffic offense. Such offenses include:

  • Drinking and driving
  • Reckless driving
  • Getting into an at-fault car accident without insurance (once or multiple times)
  • Driving with a suspended license

Though often referred to as insurance, SR-22 is a form filed with the state rather than an insurance plan. Filing an SR-22 identifies you as a high-risk driver, and your insurance company is notified of your precarious driving record. This usually results in premiums raised anywhere from 14-40%. Higher premiums protect the insurance company, as they take on a high risk and potential future damages by keeping you on as a claimant.

The length of time you need to keep your SR-22 varies state-by-state and relates to the seriousness of the transgression, but the average length of SR-22 is at least 2 years.

How to File an SR-22 Form

If your infraction is serious enough to require a court appearance, the judge will order you to obtain an SR-22 at the time of the ruling. Don’t fret, reputable auto insurance companies can help you fill your SR-22 out. They may charge an initial one-time fee for filing the claim with the state. The insurance company sends a copy of your SR-22 to the appropriate state department, and then the insurer will notify you if you can maintain insurance with them. Some insurance companies are unwilling to take on SR-22 claims, in which case you’ll have to locate another company willing to do so.

If you’re unable to consistently make the minimum payments to sustain your SR-22 insurance, you face license suspension. If this worst-case scenario happens to you, you’ll have to catch up on late or missed payments and re-file an SR-22 claim. The length of time you must maintain the SR-22 insurance starts over when you file a new claim. If your state orders SR-22 for a minimum of 3 years and your plan lapsed after 2 years, for example, you will have to maintain the policy for another 3 years from the point of expiration.

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