Getting a citation for driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) typically sends your auto insurance premium soaring no matter where you live.
But insurers in some states are especially tough on people who drive while intoxicated.
"Every state has a different way of handling things," says Janet Ruiz, a spokeswoman for the nonprofit Insurance Information Institute.
Matthew Weiss, a New York attorney who specializes in traffic law, says insurers have found that people who are convicted of DUIs pose a high risk of filing additional claims. That's why carriers typically raise premiums following a DUI conviction.
A recent insuranceQuotes.com and Quadrant Information Services study found that being convicted of a DUI raised auto insurance premiums nationwide by an average of 92 percent.
They based their calculation on what would be charged to a hypothetical 45-year-old married and employed woman with a good driving record.
Every state defines driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above 0.08 percent as a crime. The following are the five states where a DUI typically results in the greatest car insurance premium increase.
Premium increase after a DUI: 113%
According to the Illinois State Police, a first-time DUI conviction will lead to a minimum of a one-year loss of full driving privileges. It also may involve imprisonment for up to one year, a fine of up to $2,500 or your car could be impounded or confiscated.
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) says the installation of an ignition interlock to prevent motorists from driving while intoxicated is mandatory in Illinois.
An ignition interlock is a device that’s installed on the car's dashboard. In order for you to start the vehicle, you must exhale into it. If the device detects an alcohol concentration higher than allowed by state law, the engine won’t start.
Premium increase after a DUI: 117%
In Michigan, your driver's license can be suspended for failing to take a chemical test to determine your level of intoxication when you're stopped for suspicion of DUI.
Edward Earl Duke, a Michigan attorney who specializes in drug- and alcohol-related traffic offenses, says police officers typically ask motorists to take a roadside breath test using a handheld device supplied by the officer.
If you fail the test, you’re then taken into custody and transported to a police station.
Because the field breath test administered with a handheld device isn’t admissible in court, the officer typically will ask the motorist to take a second test, such as a more sophisticated breath test or a blood test.
According to the Michigan State Police, a first-time conviction for DUI with a BAC below 0.17 will lead to a fine of up to $500, up to 93 days in jail, up to 360 hours of community service, and a license suspension of up to 180 days.
If your BAC is 0.17 or higher, the fine may cost up to $700. You also may face jail time of up to 180 days, 360 hours of community service, and up to a year's suspension of your driver's license.
Premium increase after a DUI: 184%
According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, convicted drivers who agree to take a blood alcohol or Breathalyzer test may receive a four-month license suspension.
Mark Rosenfeld, an attorney who handles DUI cases and driving-related offenses in Los Angeles County, says drivers in California are pulled over and given field sobriety tests when officers believe they may be driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The tests may require the driver to demonstrate his or her balance and coordination.
According to the GHSA, ignition interlocks are mandatory under a pilot program for DUI convictions in Alameda, Los Angeles, Tulare and Sacramento counties.
The American Automobile Club says the total cost of court fines and fees for a first DUI conviction in California typically totals a staggering $22,500.
Premium increase after a DUI: 289%
A first-time DUI in Hawaii will nearly triple your car insurance rate.
According to the GHSA, Hawaii typically imposes an administrative license suspension of three months after a DUI conviction, with limited driving privileges after 30 days. Ignition interlocks are mandatory for all people convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
According to the Hawaii Revised Statues, penalties for a first-time offender may include one or more of the following:
- Seventy-two hours of community service work
- Not less than forty-eight hours and not more than five days of imprisonment
- A fine of not less than $150 but not more than $1,000
1. North Carolina
Premium increase after a DUI: 337%
North Carolina weighed in at No. 1 on the insuranceQuotes.com study. If you get a DUI in the Tar Heel state, your premium will more than triple.
According to the GHSA, the state requires an administrative license suspension of 30 days after the first offense, but may allow limited driving privileges after 10 days. Ignition interlocks are mandatory for repeat offenders and persons with BAC levels of more than 0.15.
Moseley Matheson, a North Carolina attorney who handles DUI cases, says the state has mandatory minimum jail sentences for DUI convictions only if there are "grossly aggravating factors," including having a prior DUI conviction within the past seven years.