There are many consequences that can follow an arrest and conviction for DWI in Minnesota. For most people, the primary focus in these cases is the potential for costly fines or incarceration. While these penalties are serious, they make up only a portion of the hardship a conviction could bring.
One of the collateral consequences that can come with a DWI conviction is an increase in your insurance premiums. Insurance companies consider drivers with a DWI on their record to be high-risk. That means they can—and will—dramatically increase the cost of your monthly premiums following a conviction.
There is little you can do after your conviction to fight these increasing costs. The most important step you can take is to fight back against a conviction before you have been convicted. The attorneys of Gerald Miller are ready to advise you on your defense options following a DWI arrest.
How much will my insurance cost following a DWI conviction?
There is little doubt that a DWI conviction will have a negative impact on the cost of your car insurance. In fact, your insurer could cancel your policy entirely and require you to purchase much more expensive coverage.
The specific increase in the cost of your coverage is difficult to predict. The average cost of insurance varies dramatically due to a number of factors, and the presence of a DWI on your record is only one of them.
That said, it is possible to estimate the impact a DWI might have on your rates. In Minnesota, the average cost of car insurance is $2,109 annually. For drivers with a recent DWI on their record, this annual bill increases to an average of $3,746. That difference of $1,636 per year represents a steep increase in the cost of insurance coverage.
How will a DWI Impact my insurance rates in Minnesota?
There are different ways a DWI conviction could impact your insurance rates. When insurers learn of your DWI conviction, the company could increase your premiums. Some insurers also include surcharges for high-risk drivers that go above and beyond your normal rates. Finally, you might be forced to select a new policy that specifically covers high-risk drivers. These policies are inevitably much more expensive than a standard coverage.
These effects could also happen sooner than you might expect. Even if you do not notify the insurance company of your DWI conviction, they will find out on their own eventually. This is because your criminal record is public information. Insurance companies review these records, particularly when it is time to renew your policy. Your policy might also have language that requires you to notify the insurer of a DWI arrest or conviction. The failure to comply with these terms could result in the cancellation of your policy.
How long will a DWI impact your insurance rates?
The impact a DWI conviction can have on your insurance premiums is a problem. Thankfully, that problem will not last forever. While the consequences of a DWI conviction might not be permanent, it could take years for your insurance rates to stabilize.
Typically, insurers in Minnesota can only consider DWI convictions that occur in the previous 10 years. Some insurers might voluntarily give them less weight during that time. On average, insurance rates tend to stabilize after between three and five years following the conviction.
The way your DWI conviction impacts your insurance rates can change over time as well. Initially, insurers are likely to increase your rates, add surcharges based on being a high-risk driver, or require you to purchase special policies designed for DWI convictions.
That said, a conviction could impact the cost of insurance over time in other ways. Even if you are no longer paying a surcharge due to a DWI, you might pay more for your insurance due to not qualifying for safe driver discounts.
What other factors impact your insurance costs?
A DWI conviction is only one of the factors that will impact the cost of your car insurance. The cost of your policy could also increase for a variety of other reasons. Together, this wide range of factors will determine your monthly premiums. Some of the factors that commonly impact the cost of car insurance include:
- Age. Your age is one of the most important factors when determining the cost of your insurance. Teenager drivers and motorists in their 70s typically pay more for coverage than anyone else.
- DWI history. One DWI will have a negative impact on your insurance costs. Having multiple convictions on your record could cause the cost of your insurance to skyrocket.
- Time. The amount of time between your last DWI conviction and your policy renewal date will also impact prices. The more time that has passed since your DWI, the more likely the cost of your policy will go down.
- Accident history. Previous DWI convictions are not the only thing in your past that could impact the cost of your insurance. Your history of accidents will also impact your premiums as well. The more accidents you have been involved in, the more you will pay for your insurance.
Understanding DWI Laws in Minnesota
DWI—which in Minnesota is short for driving while impaired—is a criminal offense related to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This offense is governed by Minnesota Statute Section 169A.20. Under the statute, it is unlawful to driver, operate or be in physical control of a motor vehicle while impaired. The state has seven different options for making the case for impairment. These options include:
- the person is under the influence of alcohol;
- the person is under the influence of a controlled substance;
- the person is under the influence of an intoxicating substance and the person knows or has reason to know that the substance has the capacity to cause impairment;
- the person is under the influence of a combination of any two or more of the elements named in clauses (1) to (3);
- the person’s alcohol concentration at the time, or as measured within two hours of the time, of driving, operating, or being in physical control of the motor vehicle is 0.08 or more;
- the vehicle is a commercial motor vehicle and the person’s alcohol concentration at the time, or as measured within two hours of the time, of driving, operating, or being in physical control of the commercial motor vehicle is 0.04 or more; or
- the person’s body contains any amount of a controlled substance listed in Schedule I or II, or its metabolite, other than marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinols.
The state only has to prove that one of these seven elements applies to secure a DWI conviction. The most common ground for a DWI conviction in Minnesota is a violation of paragraph 5. Commonly known as “per se” DWI, the state needs only to prove that you were driving with a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit in order to secure a conviction.
Beating a DWI
It is helpful to remember that higher insurance costs following a DWI hinge on whether or not you are convicted. If you fight back after your arrest, you could have those charges dismissed. Alternatively, you could prevail at trial and avoid any conviction on your criminal record.
There are several viable defenses in DWI cases, but two general approaches are most common. Defense attorneys typically focus on either challenging the legality of the police stop or the validity of the breathalyzer test results.
The attorneys of Gerald Miller have defended countless DWI cases, and our team has pursued a wide range of defense strategies. Let our attorneys evaluate your case and advise you on your options.
Talk to an Attorney About Your DWI Arrest
If you have been convicted of DWI, you can expect your insurance premiums to go up. If you have been arrested but not yet convicted, now is the time to defend your rights. By fighting back against a conviction, you could avoid the costly increase a DWI can cause in your insurance rates. Before you consider a plea bargain, let the attorneys of Gerald Miller advise you of your options. Call right away for your free consultation.
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