Will DUI Affect My Credit Score?

A drunk driving conviction will not have a direct impact on your credit rating, but the consequences of a DUI aren't as cut and dry as they seem.

A DUI arrest puts your reputation and your freedom at risk, but it can have an adverse impact on other facets of your life as well. After an arrest, you probably have a lot of questions about DUI sentencing and the DUI legal process and you may wonder if a drunk driving conviction will affect your credit score as well. A DUI conviction is only documented on your criminal record. In other words, your financial record will not reflect any evidence of a conviction. However, DUI could have an indirect impact on your financial record.

For instance, your first California DUI conviction can result in a $1,000 fine; previous convictions may lead to greater penalties. If you are unable to pay the fine, your credit score will suffer. According to the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs, first-time DUI convictions can cost anywhere from $300 to $5,000 in penalties and fees, excluding other costs associated with your arrest.

The California ADP further estimates that the average fees and penalties associated with a drunk driving conviction total $1,000. Towing and impoundment costs approximately $215; DUI treatment can cost more than $600; and court costs can easily reach $800. Your car insurance payments will increase after a DUI conviction, leading to an estimated $500 to $1,500 in insurance payments.

How do these costs affect your financial record? With an estimated $6,641 in DUI-related expenses, you could be left with thousands of dollars in unpaid debt.

Increased car insurance payments will lead to long-term financial consequences as well. If you were eligible for a good driver discount with your insurance company before the conviction, you will no longer receive a discount. Additionally, your insurance provider will probably label you as a "high-risk" driver, resulting in even more expensive payments. In some cases, car insurance companies will cancel your insurance policy after a drunk driving conviction.

According to MSN Money, $6,641 is a modest estimation of the cost of a drunk driving conviction. In fact, MSN claims that DUI can cost as much as $10,000 in fees, penalties, and other expenditures. One article states that the exorbitant fines associated with drunk driving are in place to discourage impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel; however, these expenses can lead to unfair penalties for innocent motorists as well. For instance, you may have to pay for a towing service after your arrest – even if you aren't convicted of driving under the influence in court.

MSN reports that the average amount of bail for a first-time DUI arrest can cost between $150 and $2,000. Second and third arrests will result in heightened bail prices, especially if law enforcement suspects that your injured another person or caused significant property damage. An extremely high BAC, such as .15%, could also affect the cost of bail and other court-related costs.

The article also estimates that your car insurance premiums could double, triple, or quadruple – depending on the circumstances surrounding your arrest. Your insurance company will probably impose higher premiums for three, five, or even ten years. Progressive® insurance company notes that, although DUI can be a difficult experience, providers are less likely to off you an affordable policy if your driving record reflects a DUI.

In California, a DUI will stay on your driving record for ten years.

If you were arrested for DUI in Ventura, CA or the surrounding area, do not hesitate to contact our team of DUI defense lawyers today. You may feel intimidated by the thought of hiring a lawyer, but we can help you avoid the unnecessary cost a conviction. Contact our office today to schedule a case evaluation!