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DUI charges and insurance troubles

On Behalf of | Mar 30, 2023 | Criminal Law |

When someone faces an arrest for driving under the influence, they may understandably worry about jail time and fines. Those convicted in an Oklahoma court may receive leniency in sentencing, but they might discover the conviction leads to significant issues with insurance providers. In particular, they may need to purchase a high-risk policy that comes with equally high premiums.

DUI and insurance coverage

Most states require anyone who receives a license suspension after a DUI to file an SR-22 certificate to prove they carry enough liability insurance. Oklahoma does not have that requirement. However, Oklahoma law requires the driver to carry the minimum liability insurance for bodily injury and property damage.

Insurance companies base their rates on risk. A person with one or more drunk driving convictions could reflect a substantial risk, so the insurance premiums may be significant. Persons struggling financially after a DUI arrest might find paying higher premiums adds to their fiscal woes. Insurance is necessary to drive a vehicle in Oklahoma. Operating a vehicle without the proper coverage is a misdemeanor criminal offense.

Challenging the DUI charges

A DUI conviction in Oklahoma could be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the defendant’s past history and the circumstances regarding the incident. Troubles with paying high insurance premiums could pale compared to a criminal record that shows up on background checks permanently.

Be mindful that an arrest is not the same as a conviction. A defendant may challenge the charges in court and submit evidence that the field sobriety or breath test was not performed properly. Also, arrests made without probable cause may lead to dismissed charges. The defense may even submit proof that the test reflects a false positive and the defendant was not under the influence.