A DWI, driving while intoxicated, can lead to some serious issues for you in North Carolina. As in every other state, driving while impaired or intoxicated on drugs or alcohol is against the law. If you perpetrate this crime, then you may be in for some serious legal issues.
One issue that many people may not think about – but should – when talking about DWIs in North Carolina is car insurance. A DWI on your driving record will have an impact on your car insurance, something you must maintain in order to legally operate a vehicle on North Carolina roads.
Here’s what you need to know about DWIs in North Carolina and the impact that even a first offense can have on your car insurance.
What Is a DWI?
It is illegal in North Carolina to operate a vehicle on a highway or in a public place with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher. This also applies to the presence of Schedule I controlled substance, such as opiates, in your blood. Doing either of these things is referred to as “driving while impaired.”
Car Insurance Following a DWI
It is the job of any type of insurance company, including car insurance companies, to assess risk as part of their business strategy. There are formulas used by companies that can be quite complex in order to achieve this goal. Ultimately, their formulas in conjunction with data available to them help to assess what type of insurance risk you would be. From that, they determine what your rates should be.
In North Carolina, drivers with a DWI on their record will be considered “high risk” by insurance companies. This can cause a drastic increase in your car insurance rates, sometimes up to 300 percent above what you were previously paying.
Personal Driving History
Your driving record plays a pivotal role in how your car insurance rates are determined. It’s unlikely that a few minor offenses will do much to your car insurance rates, but anyone who is charged with a DWI will be facing some serious changes as they are shifted into the high-risk insurance category.
That’s because, as the car insurance company sees it, the fact that you were charged with driving under the influence probably means that you’ve done it before – and you’ll do it again. So, even if your DWI charge was something out of ordinary for you, it’s unlikely that your insurance company will look at it that way.
Don’t Give Up Hope
Even with the deck stacked against you when labeled a “high-risk driver”, the amount your car insurance rates go up can be influenced by the circumstances surrounding your DWI. For example, a low-speed crash that happened not far from your house may be viewed differently than a serious, high-speed accident on the interstate that injured several people. Still, it’s important to have an attorney on your side. They’ll help you navigate these changes and make sure you are well represented.
It’s also important to note that any DWI charge will stay on your record for up to seven years, so you can expect your car insurance rates to go up and stay that way for a while. However, after that, your rates should return to relatively normal levels, as long as there are no other incidents involving driving on your record.