Charged With A DUI? Mini-Guide To Driving Legally Again

After getting pulled over and arrested for drinking and driving, you may feel like your life is over. A DUI conviction would likely mean that you will lose your driving privileges for a specified period of time, and it could affect your life for a long time. However, you can get back on the road again if you fulfill your obligations and take a few additional steps to become a legal driver again. Here's what you need to know.

Complete the Requirements of the Civil and Criminal Cases

Depending on the where you were arrested for a DUI, you will have various obligations that you will need to meet both in your civil case and your criminal case if you are convicted. The civil case is handled by the Department of Motor Vehicles. The criminal case is handled by the local criminal court, which is usually the magistrate. If you were convicted out of state, you will need to meet the obligations of that state and your home state.

From the state where you were arrested, you will receive a notice of revocation or suspension of your driving privileges in that state either soon after your arrest or following your conviction, depending on the state's laws. Your home state will notify you of their requirements either after the arrest or after your conviction, again, depending on state laws.

Typically, requirements for the civil side include:

  • License suspension or revocation
  • Interlock ignition system
  • DUI classes
  • Driving course
  • Fees

The requirements for the criminal side may include:

  • Jail time
  • Community service
  • Fines

If you are fighting the charges, it is crucial that you request a hearing from the DMV when you receive your notice of revocation or suspension. If you win your criminal case and the charges are either dropped or reduced, your driver's license may not be affected at all. However, if your license gets revoked or suspended prior to the charges being dropped, you will go through an unnecessary hardship of not having a driver's license. Postpone the hearing as long as possible until your criminal case is complete.

Reinstate Your Driver's License

If you do lose your license, you will need to fulfill your civil and criminal obligations before the state will allow you to reinstate your driving privileges. Additionally, you will need to do a few other things, depending on whether your license was suspended or revoked. If your license was suspended, you will need to pay a fee and provide an SR-22 (proof of financial responsibility from your insurance company).

If your license was revoked, you will need to attend a hearing at the Department of Motor Vehicles. To reinstate a revoked license, it's a good idea to hire a lawyer to help. There is only one hearing and you won't get your license back if things don't go well at the hearing.

Obtain Car Insurance

Car insurance may be more challenging to obtain with a DUI conviction, but you need it because that's how you get the SR-22 the state needs to reinstate your license and renew your vehicle registration. Car insurance companies will see a DUI conviction on your records and assume that you are high risk driver. Therefore, expect to see your premiums skyrocket after a DUI conviction. Fortunately, the rates should go down when the misdemeanor DUI drops from your driving record, depending on the laws of your state. A felony DUI will stay on your driving record permanently. For more information about the effects your DUI will have on your insurance, you should contact local insurance companies. 

After your DUI arrest, there's no doubt you spent a lot of time worrying while you waited for your hearings. Losing driving privileges can cause severe problems in most rural and suburban areas where vehicles are more of a necessity than a luxury. However, you should be able to drive legally again after you fulfill your legal requirements and financial obligations.