For many people, purchasing your first car is one of the initial steps into adulthood and independence. This life change is both exciting and daunting, and you want to make the right decision. That’s why it’s important to learn all you can about buying your car, choosing an auto insurance policy, and stepping into this new stage of life. The more prepared you are, the easier the entire process will be. Make the most of this thrilling moment with this complete buyer’s guide for first-time car owners.
Drinking and driving is a serious offense that can have far-reaching repercussions for anyone. However, the consequences of a DUI become even more severe when you rely on your driving privileges to make a living. Commercial drivers spend their workdays in the driver’s seat, which means they have an obligation to be safe and responsible on the road. Disregarding this responsibility puts themselves, their jobs, and other drivers in danger. That’s why traffic violations—such as drinking and driving—come with stricter rules and consequences for anyone with a commercial driver’s license. Learn how a DUI affects commercial drivers with this overview.
Stricter Standards for Commercial Vehicles
When you drive a personal vehicle, you must have a blood alcohol content level of less than .08 percent—this is the federal legal limit in all states and Washington D.C. However, this limit is even lower for those driving commercial vehicles. When professional drivers operate their commercial vehicles, they are managing company property. To protect themselves, their vehicles, and the company’s reputation, they must adhere to stricter rules. When operating a CMV, or commercial motor vehicle, drivers must have a blood alcohol content level of less than .04 percent. While this is the federal standard, some states will have even stricter rules for specific commercial driver’s licenses. That’s why it’s crucial to check the laws of each state your job takes you to.
Losing Your CDL
License suspension or revocation is a common DUI consequence. Any driver who faces a DUI charge will lose their license for a time. However, commercial drivers face a much longer suspension than other drivers. While states will suspend a personal license for as little as just a few months, you could lose your CDL for as long as a year for your first offense. A second offense might lead to you losing your CDL for life. Not only does this affect your driving privileges, but it also has a drastic impact on your career. Even if you reinstate your CDL, some companies might refuse to hire you after your conviction.
Higher Insurance Rates
Auto insurance is a huge part of how a DUI affects commercial drivers. After a DUI charge or other major traffic violation, you might have to pay for SR22 insurance on your policy. This penalty can be stressful for anyone, but it’s particularly detrimental for commercial drivers—especially if you’re an independent contractor who owns your own commercial vehicle. With more of your pay going toward your insurance, you may have difficulties maintaining a reliable income.
If you’re a commercial driver struggling with an SR22 insurance requirement, make sure you’re getting the best deal possible on your policy. Work with Serenity Group to learn more about the specific requirements of the SR22 in California or anywhere else you work and reside. We’ll help you compare quotes and find an auto insurance policy that allows you to keep doing what you love.
All experienced drivers know the rules of the road depend on which state you live in. Whenever you cross into a different state, you have to be on the lookout for changing speed limits, different stances on cell phone usage, and drastically varied minimum and maximum sentences. While every state is different, there are some areas that take much stricter stances than others. Read on to learn which states have the strictest driving laws in terms of speeding, cell phone use, and driving under the influence.
Steepest Speeding Fines
No U.S. state requires jail time for speeding. However, many states will turn your speeding ticket into a reckless driving charge if you’re going too far over the limit. For example, if you drive 15 mph or more over the speed limit in Arkansas or North Carolina, the state will automatically turn your charge into a reckless driving case. This can lead to steeper fines and a jail sentence. However, the strictest speeding penalties exist in Georgia, Illinois, and Virginia. Georgia’s maximum speeding fine is $2,000, while Illinois and Virginia both have a maximum speeding fine of $2,500. In all three states, you can land a maximum jail sentence of one year.
Strictest Cell Phone Laws
Whether you’re texting or calling, cell phones create a distraction for drivers. If you’re not careful, that distraction can turn into a disastrous accident. That’s why many states have some form of laws restricting cell phone use behind the wheel. Delaware and New Jersey hold the strictest rules in this regard, banning texting and hand-held cell phone use for all drivers. They also have rules that prohibit any kind of cell phone use for school bus drivers and novice drivers with a learner or intermediate license. Other strict states—including Illinois, Arizona, and Georgia—have similar bans, but allow novice drivers to use their cell phones if they’re above a certain age (usually 19 years or older).
Strictest Drunk Driving Laws
When it comes to which states have the strictest driving laws, one of the most important issues is drunk driving. In this scenario, the strictest states are often the ones that have consistently severe consequences. This includes fines, jail time, driving privileges, and additional requirements such as SR22 insurance or ignition interlock devices. For example, Arizona requires all drunk drivers to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle after a first offense. A first offense can also land you a $750 fine, 10 days in jail, and a 90-day license suspension. A second offense leads to even steeper consequences, and a third offense will automatically turn your DUI from a misdemeanor into a felony. Meanwhile, Georgia holds similar jail sentences but only has a minimum fine of $300 for a first offense DUI.
DUIs, reckless driving charges, and other violations can lead to an SR22 requirement in certain states. Like the rest of these issues, some states have stricter rules and requirements than others. Fortunately, Serenity Group can help you learn more about SR22 insurance in California or any other state with SR22 laws. By quickly and easily finding the best SR22 insurance quotes, you can put more of your energy toward the other rules and requirements of your state.
Driving while intoxicated is a serious crime, and there are serious consequences that go with it. Like many laws, the penalties of driving drunk change from state to state. However, the idea remains the same across the board—drunk drivers are a danger to themselves and others, and they must improve before they can return to the road. That’s why states suspend or revoke your license after a DUI conviction. It’s also why drunk drivers face strict consequences such as jail time, steep fines, or time served in alcohol education or addiction programs. Every case is different, but it’s still important to learn the potential consequences of a drunk driving incident. Learn more about what a DUI conviction might entail with this rundown of the various punishments for drunk driving.
Why Drunk Driving Is Dangerous
Before you learn more about the different consequences of driving drunk, it’s important to understand why these laws exist. While everyone knows that drunk driving is illegal, many people don’t think seriously about the dangers behind the act. That’s why many drivers think they’re still okay to drive if they only have a couple drinks. However, when you fully understand the ways alcohol affects the body, you’re more likely to make smart choices when you drink. Alcohol impairs your judgment, slows your reaction times, and hinders your coordination. These skills are crucial to driving safely. If you’re intoxicated behind the wheel, you might not react to an upcoming red light until it’s too late to stop. Alcohol can also affect your vision or make you dizzy, making it easy to swerve between lanes without realizing it. These are just a couple examples of how alcohol inhibits your ability to drive. Even if you don’t notice these effects at the time—which you might not, as alcohol impairs your judgment—you still put yourself and your fellow drivers in danger when you get behind the wheel.
The Penalties of Driving Drunk
DUI laws exist to discourage drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel and keep everyone safe. The types of consequences you face will vary depending on where you live, what happened while you were driving drunk, whether this was a first offense, and other factors. If an officer arrests you for drunk driving, you won’t know the specifics of your punishment until that arrest turns into a conviction. However, you can research your state laws regarding the following consequences to gain a better idea of what you might face.
The amount of jail time you might face for a DUI varies from case to case. Most states classify a first-offense DUI or DWI as a misdemeanor. This usually means you’ll face a maximum of anywhere from six months to a year. Some states have even shorter sentences for first-time DUIs. However, multiple offenses can make that sentence longer. You will also spend more time in jail if your drunk driving led to an accident. Property damage or bodily injury can turn a misdemeanor into a felony, which means a longer sentence. Depending on where you live, you might spend several years in jail after a felony DUI.
Fines and Fees
Like jail time, the legal fees you face after a DUI conviction will change depending on the circumstances of your case. First-time offenses and other misdemeanors will have smaller fees than more severe convictions. Most state fines range from $500 to $2000 for a first offense DUI. However, some states have fines as low as $100 or as high as over $6000 for a first offense. These fines aren’t the only financial consequences you’ll face. A DUI can also lead to costly court fees and a higher auto insurance premium.
Most states require drunk drivers and other high-risk drivers to obtain SR22 insurance before reinstating their license after a conviction. The SR22 proves to the state that you are meeting and maintaining the minimum liability requirements for your auto insurance. If you face an SR22 requirement after a drunk driving incident, you will have to obtain a new policy through one of the insurance companies that offer SR22 insurance. This is usually a requirement for reinstating your driver’s license after a suspension or revocation. Your SR22 policy can last anywhere from one to five years, so make sure you read up on your requirements and maintain the policy for its entire duration.
Losing Your License
Losing your license is another serious consequence that can result from drunk driving. License suspensions can last anywhere from a few months to a few years. During this time, you will be legally unable to drive. Some states might even confiscate your car or cancel your registration to further ensure you stay off the road. This can prove to be much more than an annoying hassle. The inability to drive makes it harder to get to school, work, and other appointments. While some states will grant a restricted license that allows you to drive to and from school or work, it’s still difficult to go about many daily tasks with no license.
Some states respond to DUI cases with alternative sentencing options. These penalties focus on education and rehabilitation instead of jail time or steep fines. Many judges who recommend alternative sentences will do so for first offenders or other milder cases. These sentencing options include alcohol or addiction education courses, substance abuse treatment or prevention programs, and community service. The goal of alternative sentencing is to get help for an offender so they can avoid repeating their mistakes in the future.
What To Do After a DUI
No matter what consequences you face after a drunk driving conviction, your next step will be the same. You must face your requirements, seek help, and work to get your life back on track. Part of this means obtaining SR22 insurance and reinstating your license, which is where Serenity Group comes in. We can help you compare SR22 insurance policies in your state so that you can worry less about insurance shopping and more about returning to the road. When you focus on your requirements and seek out the help you need, you can put your drunk driving charge in the past and work toward a better future.
After a DUI charge, police officers will write a report that summarizes the arrest. This report includes all the evidence the police have against the person they arrested. If you’re facing a DUI charge, you will likely receive a copy of this report at your arraignment. It can prove invaluable when building a defense case. Even if you plead guilty, the police report will include useful information about what happened and what charges you face. Learn more about what a DUI police report includes and how it affects you with this guide. (more…)
When alcohol becomes an addiction, it affects more than just your body. The consequences of alcoholism extend beyond yourself to other people in your life. If your addiction has started to affect friends, family, or significant others, you’re not alone. The first step to getting help is understanding exactly how alcoholism impacts your relationships. Learn more about the symptoms and cost of alcohol addiction for both you and your loved ones with this overview.
Car insurance is mandatory for nearly every driver in the United States—and for good reason. While insurance premiums may seem daunting, they’re far less costly than paying for an accident out of pocket. A good auto insurance policy has your back when it comes to damages, repairs, and medical bills. Insurance is a legal requirement in 49 states and the District of Columbia. Neglecting your insurance or letting your coverage lapse will result in steep fines and other legal consequences. That’s why you must stay diligent about renewing and paying for your insurance policy. The consequences of driving without insurance vary from state to state, but there are a few general rules. Learn more about these consequences and how to avoid them with this rundown of auto insurance requirements and regulations.
Officers have a list of field sobriety tests they can ask you to perform to determine whether you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs. While you can refuse to perform these tests, failure to consent might automatically lead the officer to arrest you and temporarily suspend your license. It’s important to know what to expect during a DUI stop. Learn more about the different types of DUI field sobriety tests you might need to perform with this rundown. (more…)
Everyone knows that driving a car while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can lead to serious consequences, but did you know that the same can happen when you’re behind the wheel of a boat? Every single state has laws against boating while intoxicated, as does the federal government. These laws apply to any kind of watercraft, from small, personal boats to massive yachts. If you’re operating a vehicle on the water, you need to be sober. Just like with a DUI, boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol can land you in serious trouble. From fees to jail time, the consequences of a BUI are severe. On top of that, boating while intoxicated puts yourself, your passengers, and everyone else on the water in danger. Learn how to avoid these troubles with this rundown of what to know about boating under the influence. (more…)
How many times has someone told you, “Drive safe!”? Everyone knows they should be a safe driver, but it’s often easy to forget that fact. From minor mistakes like rolling through stops or not using your blinker to more serious violations such as cutting people off or drinking while driving, everyone has at least one unsafe driving habit. We don’t often think about the smaller transgressions, but it only takes one wrong move to create a dangerous or even deadly situation. That’s why every driver needs to know the importance of practicing safe driving. Whether you’re just learning or have years of experience under your belt, remember these reasons to be safe and responsible behind the wheel.