We all grow up learning about the dangers of drinking and driving. A DUI offense can lead to personal, professional, legal, and financial troubles. However, knowing this doesn’t necessarily tell you the real cost of drinking and driving. If you receive a DUI charge, you’ll face fees and fines from a number of different sources. Even if you don’t end up with a conviction, these expenses can add up to thousands of dollars. Of course, these prices vary depending on where you live and other circumstances surrounding your case. Learn more about how much a first-offense DUI costs with this overview.

What You’re Paying For

You already know a DUI will cost you money, but what exactly are you paying for? Many expenses might come up during a first-offense DUI. You might have to pay bail, court fines, or attorney fees, which can range from a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars. Depending on your sentence, you might also have to spend money on alcohol education courses or an ignition interlock device. You can also expect to see an increase in your auto insurance premium, especially if you receive an SR22 insurance requirement. Fortunately, you can save money on this last expense by letting Serenity Group find you the best SR22 insurance quotes in California or any other state with an SR22 requirement.

Factors that Affect the Cost

The cost of a DUI can vary greatly depending on your circumstances. Factors such as the state in which you live or your blood alcohol content level can affect the price and outcome of your DUI charge. If you choose to go to trial, you’ll likely pay more in court and attorney fees, but you might save money by avoiding a conviction. Whether or not you caused an accident or property damage will also affect the cost of your DUI. For example, if you get into a minor wreck, you might still have to pay for car repairs, a towing service, and other expenses.

Keep in mind that this guide only covers how much a first-offense DUI costs. Most states are more lenient with first offenders, which means a second DUI or other major traffic violation can cost you much more. This is why your first DUI should also be your last one. If you take responsibility for your situation and stay on top of your payments and requirements, you can get through this period of your life and avoid paying even more in the long run.

Everyone knows it’s important to be a safe driver, but what happens if you make a mistake? There are a lot of traffic laws and terminology that can be difficult to keep straight, even if you find yourself facing a certain charge. Two terms that people often mix up are careless driving and reckless driving. While both have the same general meaning—irresponsible and dangerous driving—there are a few key differences. The more you know, the better prepared you are in the event of trouble on the road. To help you stay informed, here’s our guide on the difference between careless and reckless driving.

Careless Driving

Careless driving means operating a vehicle with a disregard for the safety of yourself and anyone you come across. Examples include speeding, texting while driving, or changing lanes illegally. These actions put yourself and others in danger—as a result, they can come with some serious fines. However, careless driving isn’t a criminal offense. Instead, it’s a civil traffic citation. Still, careless driving charges can add up on your license and lead to a suspended license or even worse consequences down the road.

Reckless Driving

Like careless driving, reckless driving occurs when you put yourself or others in danger because of unsafe driving behavior. The biggest difference between careless and reckless driving is intent. Reckless drivers willfully disregard the safety of others when they get behind the wheel. As such, the consequences of a reckless driving charge are more severe. Reckless driving is a criminal offense that can lead to fines, jail time, and a suspended license.

Reckless driving might also lead to an SR22 requirement. The rules vary depending on where you live, but Serenity Group is here to help you learn more about the SR22 in California, Connecticut, or anywhere you live and drive in between. When you know the charges you face and how to handle them, you can make your return to the road as easy and stress-free as possible.

After a DUI or another major traffic violation, you’re going to see a spike in your auto insurance. Most states will require you to obtain SR22 insurance—a document that verifies you’re meeting the state’s minimum liability insurance requirements. SR22 insurance marks you as a high-risk driver, which means insurance companies see you as more expensive to insure. As a result, there’s a good chance you’ll be looking at discounts and bundling options alongside your new SR22 insurance policy. Saving money on your SR22 is much like saving money on regular auto insurance. When you shop around, ask about the details, and follow the rules, you can lower your premium and put less strain on your budget. If you’re looking for ways to save money on SR22 insurance, check out this guide for top tips and ideas. (more…)

Everyone knows that driving under the influence is a mistake. However, after you make that mistake, fixing it can seem like an impossible task. If you’re facing the consequences of a DUI conviction, it’s important to remember that this isn’t the end of the world. You’re not the first person to go through this process, which means you never have to be alone in the experience. As you face each challenge, remember that every step you take brings you closer to recovery and a return to normal life. From facing your financial obligations to learning how to forgive yourself, here are our best tips and advice for how to recover after a DUI conviction.

Own up to Your Actions

Before you can start to make up for your actions behind the wheel, you need to accept responsibility for committing them in the first place. It might seem easier to ignore the issue and pretend nothing ever happened. Unfortunately, this often leads to further hardship down the road. The only way to truly create change in your life is to admit that you need it. Similarly, the quickest way to achieve forgiveness—from yourself and from those you hurt—is to take ownership of your actions. Admit that you made a serious mistake, and put effort into sincerely apologizing for it. Once you consciously and fully accept responsibility, you can start taking the steps you need to make up for your actions and create a better future for yourself.

Don’t Go It Alone

Learning how to recover after a DUI conviction can be a stressful, uncertain, and overwhelming process. Fortunately, you never have to go it alone. There are plenty of resources you can turn to for information, support, and care. Your friends and family are among the most valuable—and most beneficial—sources of help. Many people who suffer from addiction try to hide it from their loved ones, but this makes it nearly impossible for your closest relations to help you. Don’t be afraid to seek support where and when you need it. While you can’t rely on others to fix everything for you, having a shoulder to lean on is invaluable when dealing with hardships. Additionally, being honest about your experiences and struggles can help give you a stronger sense of accountability. This is a great way to remind yourself that your actions affect everyone around you, as do the positive changes you make to your life. Together, you and your loved ones can create a plan to overcome addiction and come out on the other side of your DUI conviction.

Find Support Groups

Support groups are another invaluable resource as you recover from your DUI and addiction. The stigma surrounding Alcoholics Anonymous and other organized support groups can make it hard to seek out local chapters. However, there’s something unique and special about talking to those who share your experiences. Meeting other people who understand where you are or where you’ve been can help you make sense of your own circumstances. Your peers can also be a great source of advice since they have lived through what you’re currently facing. This is also another way to hold yourself accountable as you share your story and goals with other people in your group. Not every support group works for everyone, so be sure to do some research and look around for a group that will best support you and your situation.

Seek Professional Help

In addition to finding help in your loved ones and peers, professional help can be extremely beneficial when recovering from a DUI. There are many resources and professionals who can help you work through your addiction or the complicated feelings surrounding your accident. Counselors and therapists can help you establish constructive goals and solutions for managing stress, addiction, and other mental health factors that may have contributed to your DUI. If you’re seriously struggling with addiction, you might also seek out a rehab center. While this decision isn’t for everyone, it can be an incredible resource to you as you take steps toward recovery. No matter where you find it, professional help is a great way to manage your circumstances and make constructive changes to your life after a DUI conviction.

Rethink Your Social Life

Peer pressure isn’t just a problem for teenagers. The people around you influence your choices and behaviors throughout your entire life. The people you hang out with and what you do with them can have a huge impact on alcohol or drug addiction. If you and your friends always spend your quality time together at a bar, you might want to try mixing things up. Talk to your friends about changing your habits. Find alternatives to drinking together so you can have a good time without the temptation of heavy drinking, driving under the influence, or other risky behaviors. While you can certainly have a few drinks with friends, it’s important to have a social life that can exist without alcohol. Game nights, movies, and other activities are just as fun sober—especially with the right group of people. While it isn’t always easy to make changes within your friend group, remember that those who truly support you will be happy to mix up their routine to keep everyone safe and healthy.

Face the Consequences

A DUI conviction comes with personal, financial, and legal ramifications. It’s important to face these consequences head-on so you can work your way through them and create a better life for yourself on the other side. Make sure you meet all the requirements that come with your conviction, such as alcohol education courses, court fees, or SR22 insurance. Take care of these requirements completely, and don’t try to cut corners by skipping court dates or driving on a suspended license. While none of these circumstances are fun, they don’t have to ruin your life, either. By following orders, paying fines, and finding the best policy among insurance companies that offer SR22 insurance, you can work through your requirements and get back to your normal life as quickly and efficiently as possible.

How to Recover After a DUI Conviction

The ability to drive is a privilege many people cherish. If you’re not careful, however, your state can take that privilege away in the form of a revoked license. Every state has its own set of driving laws and regulations, which means making sense of the regulations surrounding your license isn’t always easy. The more you know, the easier it will be to navigate your situation, reclaim a valid license, and get back behind the wheel. Learn more about how a driver’s license gets revoked and what to do if you’re in that situation with this guide.

What Is a Revoked License?

A revoked license is a void license. When the state revokes your driver’s license, it effectively revokes your ability to legally drive. It’s easy to confuse a revoked license with a suspended license. They both take away your driving privilege, but the key difference is that a revoked license is permanent. You will not be able to reinstate your license after the state revokes it.

How a Driver’s License Gets Revoked

A state will usually revoke an individual’s license after a severe traffic violation, such as a DUI conviction, reckless driving, or a serious car crash that results in injury. This is particularly true if you’ve already committed multiple violations in a certain amount of time. Another sure way to get your license revoked is to drive with a suspended license. Many states also have non-driving reasons to revoke a license. For example, most states can revoke someone’s license if they don’t pay their child support. You might also get a revoked license for failing to answer a court summons or using alcohol or drugs as a minor.

What to Do If Your License Is Revoked

If the state revokes your license, you can’t get it back. You’ll likely receive a revocation period, during which you can’t get a valid license. If you meet your requirements and fulfill this period, however, you can then apply for a completely new license through the DMV. The requirements for getting a new license will vary from state to state, but you can generally expect fines, an SR22 insurance policy, and the standard license tests in your state.

Serenity Group is here to help you reinstate your driving privileges. We’ll help you learn more about SR22 insurance in Washington or any other state so that you can fix your revoked license and get back on the road as efficiently as possible.

The rules and guidelines surrounding auto insurance vary depending on where you live. Every state handles liability coverage and SR22 insurance differently. However, if you’re facing a DUI charge or other major traffic violation, you need to know exactly how SR22 insurance works in your state. Some states, such as Delaware, don’t require SR22 insurance after these types of incidents. However, that doesn’t mean you can drop your SR22 from another state if you move to Delaware. It’s important to know how these requirements and guidelines work so that you can reinstate your license and get back to life on the road as efficiently as possible. To help you learn more about these rules, read our guide to what to know about SR22 insurance in Delaware. (more…)

Everyone knows how important it is to stay safe and responsible while behind the wheel. Unfortunately, you can’t control every detail and circumstance that occurs when you’re on the road. Your fellow drivers, construction zones, and other factors all affect your daily commute and you don’t get a say about it. This lack of control—and the stress or hassle that can stem from it—often leads to anger and frustration. Road rage is unfortunately common in drivers of all ages and experience levels. Even someone who is normally a calm and responsible driver can catch themselves honking impatiently or yelling at other cars on occasion. Road rage can escalate quickly and turn into severe financial and legal consequences. As such, it’s important to understand the signs of road rage as well as how you can avoid it. To help you stay safe behind the wheel, here are our tips for identifying and avoiding road rage. (more…)

Addictive substances have a way of taking over someone’s life. Chronic or repeated use of drugs or alcohol can create short-term and long-term negative effects on the body and mind. These substances can damage the organs and alter the brain, leading to mental health disorders, organ damage or failure, and other health complications. It’s not just the addicted individual who suffers either. Friends and family members all experience the consequences of drug or alcohol addiction. As with many problems, knowledge and information can make it easier to identify and confront the issues surrounding addiction. To help you learn more, here is our overview of the psychological and physical effects of addiction.

Psychological Effects of Addiction

Addiction often works in a cycle. The addictive substance creates a pleasant effect or provides relief for an unpleasant feeling, such as discomfort or anxiety. As a result, the mind starts craving the addictive substance. Meanwhile, the body might start to build a tolerance to the drugs or alcohol until you require a larger dose to feel the same pleasurable effects. All of this can add up to an individual feeling like they need drugs or alcohol to function in their everyday life. Because of this, addiction and other mental health disorders often go hand in hand. Individuals who suffer from addiction are more likely to develop mood or anxiety disorders. At the same time, mental health issues often cause individuals to seek unhealthy coping mechanisms such as drugs or alcohol.

Depression

One of the most common psychological effects of addiction is depression. Once again, it’s often unclear whether depression stems from addiction or vice versa. Many individuals use alcohol or drugs to self-medicate symptoms of depression. However, the pleasurable effects of these substances don’t last forever and can worsen these symptoms when the individual is sober. Drug and alcohol use also often leads to withdrawal symptoms that can make depression worse. Depression and addiction feed into each other, making their respective symptoms worse. This makes it even harder for victims to identify the issue and work toward recovery.

Anxiety

Anxiety and other panic disorders also intertwine with drug and alcohol addiction. In some cases, individuals begin to rely on drugs or alcohol as a way to relax. Like depression, anxiety can cause a cycle of abuse and dependency. Alternatively, an individual might form an addiction to a stimulant, such as cocaine, that causes anxiety as a side effect. Anxiety can also occur as a withdrawal symptom for many substances, making recovery even more difficult.

Paranoia

There are some substances, like marijuana or cocaine, that can cause feelings of paranoia when you use them. These side effects often worsen over time with continued use. Additionally, because paranoia isn’t as common as depression or anxiety, individuals may feel the need to hide these symptoms. Many addictive substances are illegal, which also adds to the feelings of fear or secrecy. As individuals dread someone catching them or getting in trouble because of their substance abuse, the feelings of paranoia increase, worsening the entire situation.

Other Psychological Effects

There are many other psychological symptoms of addiction that can stem from a number of different mental health issues. Individuals who suffer from drug or alcohol addiction can experience heightened aggression, memory issues or periods of confusion, hallucinations, or dramatic mood swings. Additionally, substance abuse and addiction can result in a decreased sense of self-preservation. This can also stem from mood disorders such as depression. These feelings might lead to partaking in more dangerous habits on top of substance use. While all these behaviors are symptoms of various issues, they present major complications by themselves and can make it even harder for victims to seek help and recovery.

Physical Effects of Addiction

While many of the primary effects of addiction occur in the brain, the rest of the body can suffer as well. Substance abuse weakens the immune system and leaves the body more vulnerable to various diseases and infections. Drug use—especially through needles—increases an individual’s chance of contracting HIV, hepatitis, or other infectious diseases. Other physical effects of addiction include abdominal pain, digestive issues, trouble sleeping, or even seizures and other forms of brain damage. Addictive substances can impact every part of the body even beyond the following common issues.

Kidney Damage

Drugs can harm the kidneys both directly and indirectly. Many symptoms of drug use—such as dehydration, muscle breakdown, and increased body temperature—can contribute to kidney damage. This damage worsens as these symptoms persist over time. Unfortunately, it is relatively common for long-term drug users to experience kidney failure or other forms of kidney damage. The same is true for individuals who regularly consume a large amount of alcohol. Heavy drinking increases an individual’s risk of chronic kidney disease.

Liver Failure

Liver damage is a well-known consequence of heavy drinking. However, both alcohol and drug addiction can lead to serious complications and even liver failure. The liver is responsible for clearing toxins from the bloodstream. When an individual partakes in the use of drugs or alcohol on a regular basis, they force their liver to work overtime. This eventually causes severe liver damage in the form of chronic inflammation, scarring, tissue damage, or cancer. Because the liver is a vital part of routine body functions, this liver damage can cause several other health problems over time.

Heart Problems

Most drugs and alcohol present a threat to your cardiovascular health. Heart problems stemming from substance addiction range from an increased heart rate or abnormal blood pressure to a heart attack. Drugs and alcohol serve to weaken your heart over time, increasing your risk levels even more with long-term use. Additionally, drug users who utilize injections face an increased risk of collapsed veins or bacterial infections in the bloodstream.

Just as the psychological and physical effects of addiction reach every bodily function, the consequences of addiction stretch far beyond the user. Individuals who suffer from alcoholism or drug addiction are also likely to face problems with their finances, careers, relationship, or even criminal records. At Serenity Group, we know that addiction isn’t easy for anyone. If your addiction results in a DUI charge and SR22 insurance requirement, we’re here to help. We’ll find the best SR22 insurance quotes in California, Colorado, or wherever your charge exists. Let us take care of your insurance so you can focus on getting back on the road and on your way to recovery.

effects of addiction infographic

Buying a new car is a big deal. Whether you’re looking for more space, better mileage, or a sleek new style, you can’t wait to sign the papers and take your new ride home. Unfortunately, the process isn’t always as simple as walking in and making the deal. If you have a suspended driver’s license, you might be wondering if you should—or are even able to—buy the car you want. When it comes to your license, driving record, and auto insurance, you have to gather as much information as possible. To help you through this process, here’s our guide on buying a car with a suspended license.

Can You Buy a Car with a Suspended License?

Technically speaking, no law prevents someone from buying a vehicle without a valid license. Dealerships and other sellers can take your money and give you the title without any issue. However, the problems arise once the car is in your name. With a suspended license, how do you get the car off the lot and back to your own driveway? How do you insure the vehicle when most policies require a valid license? Buying a car with a suspended license is possible, but it’s not necessarily plausible due to these and other complications.

Alternative Options

You might find a way to navigate these details and successfully purchase and register your vehicle without a valid license, but a few alternative options will likely work better. You could have a spouse or other close relative purchase and register the vehicle in their name and then sell it to you once you get your license back. If you know the original owner, you can ask them to keep the car in their name and then purchase nonowner’s insurance to let you drive after your suspension. However, your best option may be to simply wait to make the purchase and focus your efforts on reinstating your license. This will make buying, insuring, and registering your vehicle a much smoother process.

If you have a suspended license, it’s important that you take all the right steps to reinstate it and return to the road. If you lost your license because of a DUI or other major traffic violation and need SR22 insurance to reinstate it, Serenity Group wants to help. We’ve got the resources you need to understand SR22 insurance in California or any other state in which you may reside. When you take initiative and meet all the requirements, you can earn back your driving privileges, buy that dream car, and return to a normal life behind the wheel.

Car accidents—even minor ones—can cost a lot of money, time, and energy. If your car, home, or other property suffers damage after an accident, you’ll want to make sure you receive your fair payments with as little stress and hassle as possible. It’s important to know how the claims process works with your auto insurance company. Stay informed, stay calm, and make the most of the situation with this guide on how to file property damage claims after a car accident.

Collect Information

The first step after any car accident—after ensuring that all parties are safe—is to collect information from the scene. Get the contact and insurance information from the other driver as well as any vehicle information. It’s also a good idea to take pictures or videos of the scene. Try to get multiple angles of all vehicles and property involved so you can submit a clear picture of the incident to your insurance company. Be as detailed and thorough as possible when collecting this information, as this will help you justify your claim and make the entire process easier.

Notify Your Insurance Company

Many insurance companies require you to notify them of any accident as quickly as possible. If you don’t report the incident to your insurance provider, you can lose the coverages and protections that would normally get you through the claims process. Additionally, notifying your insurance company right away ensures your right to file a claim down the road. No matter how you proceed after your accident, it’s important to involve your insurance company.

File Your Claim

When it comes to how to file property damage claims after a car accident, you have a couple of options. You can file with your own insurance company and have them seek reimbursement from the other driver’s insurance provider. This will likely be the fastest way to settle your claim and receive your payments, but you might have to pay out-of-pocket for your deductible. Alternatively, you can file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. These claims usually take longer to settle, but you won’t have to pay a deductible.

At Serenity Group, we understand that not all accidents are avoidable. If you find yourself in an at-fault car accident, you might be facing SR22 insurance requirements as well as property damage claims. We can help you sort through the details and find an insurance policy that works for you. If you need SR22 insurance in California or anywhere else in the United States, we’ll help you work through your accident and get back on the road as efficiently as possible.

Top