How Long Does a DWI Charge Affect Your Insurance in MN?
There are many downsides when it comes to a Minnesota DWI conviction. If you are convicted of this offense, you could be looking at jail time and fines. These consequences might draw most of the attention for someone facing a DWI charge, but there are other important issues to be aware of. One of those issues is the increased cost of your car insurance.
If you are convicted of a DWI, you can expect for your car insurance to go up substantially. Insurers look at anyone with a DWI conviction as a high-risk driver. The end result could be an increase in your monthly premiums.
The exact amount of time your DWI conviction affects your insurance rates in Minnesota will vary. Every insurance company is different, but most carriers will take a DWI conviction into account for at least three to five years.
Following a DWI charge, you could be stuck paying more for your car insurance. Thankfully, a conviction is never guaranteed. To learn about your defense options, reach out to the attorneys of Gerald Miller as soon as possible.
How Long does a DWI Charge Stays on Your Record in Minnesota?
Curious how long a DWI conviction might stay on your record? That’s understandable, given the impact it can have on your life. That question isn’t as easy to answer as you might think, however.
In some ways, a DWI conviction will follow you for the rest of your life. In other situations, it could be a matter of three to five years before some of the consequences of a conviction dissipate.
Your DWI Conviction Stays On Your Record Forever
Technically, your DWI conviction will stay on your criminal record for the rest of your life. There will never be a time when law enforcement reviews your record and the conviction does not appear.
Facing permanent consequences for a single mistake can feel unfair. While other life-changing events like bankruptcies are eventually erased from your record, there is no getting around a criminal conviction.
The good news is that the criminal consequences you face for a previous DWI can fade over time. In Minnesota, your sentence could be substantially higher if you have been previously convicted of DWI. Over time, the state will lose its ability to further penalize you based on your prior record.
Minnesota law relies on something known as a “look back” period. With a look back period, the state can only use prior DWI convictions to enhance the penalties in a new case if they fall into a set window of time. In Minnesota, the look back period is ten years.
Essentially, the state can only use prior convictions that occur during the look back period. If you have a conviction from nine years ago, an additional DWI arrest would be treated as a second offense. If that prior conviction occurred more than 10 years prior, you would be looking at a first offense in most situations. The difference could be thousands of dollars in fines and a substantial reduction in the chances of a lengthy jail term.
A Conviction Could Increase Your Rates for Three to Five Years
There are also lasting consequences from a DWI that relate to your car insurance rates. These consequences typically do not hast as long as the state’s look back period, however. If you are convicted of DWI, your insurance company will treat you as a “high risk” driver. This means that you can expect to face elevated insurance rates now and in the future. These increased insurance rates can have a detrimental effect on your household budget.
When you are branded as a high risk driver, your rates will go up. The amount of time those rates are elevated will depend entirely on your insurance company. There is no state or federal law that determines how long insurance carriers take your prior criminal conviction into account. That said, most of the time insurers will penalize drivers with a DWI conviction for three to five years.
Your Insurance Costs could be Impacted for Longer
It is important to note that the consequences of a DWI conviction in Minnesota could extend beyond the period of time where your conviction is on your record. Even if you are no longer required to maintain SR-22 coverage, your conviction could impact your insurance in other ways.
It is easy to focus on the fact that a conviction could increase the cost of your premiums—at least temporarily. However, there are other side effects that could hurt your wallet even after you are no longer considered a high-risk driver by your carrier.
One way your DWI conviction could continue to have a financial impact on your life even when it does not increase your rates is where your discounts are concerned. Depending on your insurance carrier, your policy could prevent you from securing a good driver discount even though the carrier is no longer treating you as an at-risk driver. This won’t increase your rates, but it also blocks you from getting discounts that could have a tremendous impact on the total cost of your insurance.
Can I Expunge A Criminal Charge in Minnesota?
There are some important exceptions to keep in mind when it comes to your DUI conviction. While it is true that your conviction will naturally remain on your criminal record forever, it is possible in some cases to have that conviction expunged.
Expungement is the act of a court sealing the records surrounding your conviction. Essentially, it treats your conviction as if it never happened. This is valuable in many ways, including securing future employment.
Historically, expungement was not an option for DWI convictions in Minnesota courts. There is a list of offenses that are barred from expungement, and until 2015 DWI was one of those criminal charges.
An important change in the law now makes it possible for you to seek expungement for a DWI conviction in some cases. It is important to note that only misdemeanor DWI convictions can possibly be expunged. Expungement for a felony DWI conviction is never an option.
Before you can seek expungement you must complete your entire sentence. That means you must pay all of your fines and serve any jail time that was ordered. There is more to completing your sentence, however. Many people face a limited time in jail for a DWI conviction followed by years of probation. You must complete the entire probationary period before you can apply for expungement.
So what does expungement mean for you? The record of your conviction is sealed, meaning that the insurance companies no longer have a reason to treat you as a high risk driver. This could result in an immediate reduction in the cost of your coverage. As positive as this outcome is, expungement is never guaranteed to be successful.
Beating a DWI
Dealing with the consequences of a DWI conviction is one thing. Avoiding a conviction entirely is another. If you aggressively pursue a sound defense strategy, you could avoid ever having a DWI on your record to begin with.
There are numerous ways you could approach a defense strategy following a DWI arrest. For many people, the best approach is to challenge the legality of your traffic stop. If the police stop you for an invalid reason, your attorney could have the evidence against you thrown out.
Another powerful option involves challenging the accuracy of a chemical test. If you gave a blood, breath, or urine sample, the results of any testing could be powerful evidence against you. However, it could be possible to exclude the results of those tests by showing that the police or nurse failed to lawfully collect the sample from you. The failure to meet state standards in transporting or testing the sample could also serve as a viable defense.
Talk to an Attorney About Your DWI Case in Minnesota
It is difficult to build a strong defense in a DWI case on your own. Thankfully, you are never under any obligation to do so. The right attorney could ensure that you are given a fair chance to fight back against a conviction.
The attorneys of Gerald Miller are prepared to help you aggressively pursue a viable defense strategy. Before you consider a plea offer from the state, let our team work with you. Call right away for a free consultation.