A conviction for driving under the influence is one of most serious traffic offenses a person can be convicted of and has a significant effect on auto insurance premiums. The average premium for full coverage car insurance in Wisconsin is nearly doubled from $1186 with a clean criminal record to $2207 with a DUI conviction. This impact is still lower than the national level where the annual average premium goes up from $1674 to $3336 with DUI.
Wisconsin DUI laws
A driving while intoxicated charge is known as the Wisconsin OWI. is a term that refers to illegal driving behavior and practices. These include:
- Driving while your Blood/Breath Alcohol Concentration is (BAC) 0.08 or higher
- Driving under the influence of alcohol.
- Driving with an elevated level of legal controlled substances in your blood.
- Driving under the influence of any controlled substance or other drug.
If the blood tests show that the required levels of alcohol or illegal drugs are present, a person can be charged with and convicted of OWI. This is not the only way you can get convicted. An OWI can be filed against a driver if the officer observes certain behavior. This could include driving while weaving or inability to complete certain tasks following a field sobriety check.
A conviction for OWI may result in severe punishment. A first offense and a subsequent offense that occurs more than ten year after the first are not subject to jail. However, a fine of $300 is possible as well as a license suspension for six to nine month. The violator can be incarcerated for a second OWI offense within ten years after the first. This second offense may result in incarceration ranging from five days up to six months. For each subsequent conviction, the length of imprisonment increases as follows:
- Trouble offense – 45 Days to 1 Year
- Fourth offense – 60 Days to 6 Years
- Fifth offense or sixth offense – 1-10 years
- 7th, 8th or 9th offense – 3 to 12.5 Years
- Tenth offense or more – 4-15 years
What a DUI can do to your Wisconsin car insurance
The average Wisconsin car insurance premiums are lower than the national average. This is why it is surprising that Wisconsin’s average premium after a DUI conviction is still lower than the national average. However, Wisconsin’s average annual car insurance premiums increase by 86% after a DUI conviction. There are also other issues with maintaining insurance.
Insurance companies view DUI-convicted drivers as high-risk drivers. Car insurance companies will therefore charge more for insurance. An insurance company is not required to cover a DUI-related driver. While some states prohibit carriers from cancelling an existing policy following a DUI conviction, the insurer is not required to renew coverage after the policy has expired.
Drivers convicted of DUI face additional obligations from most states. Most important is the requirement that the driver adhere to SR-22 filing laws. In Florida and Virginia, a FR-44 form must be completed. This is proof that you have a minimum amount of liability coverage. This is usually a greater amount than what is normally required.
After a DUI in Wisconsin, you can find car insurance
Although many companies will raise their rates after a DUI conviction, while others may not offer coverage at any rate, there are still some carriers that are more willing to work with high-risk drivers and provide car insurance coverage.
Talking to your current carrier is the first step to finding affordable options for car insurance after a DUI conviction. Be honest and ask about other options. Contacting a variety of carriers is the best way to find out which companies are more willing to insure drivers with DUI convictions.
Questions frequently asked
What will a DUI in Wisconsin do to my criminal record?
A Wisconsin DUI conviction will not be dismissed after an arrest, but it will stay on the driver’s permanent record. After a certain period of time, there are many ways to decrease the impact of a DUI conviction on insurance rates. It is also possible to have a DUI history expunged. These options should be discussed with a lawyer.
What steps can I take to reduce the effect a DUI has on my car insurance premiums
Many of the discounts and other strategies used to lower premiums for auto insurance can also be helpful in compensating premium increases due to a DUI conviction. You can bundle multiple policies with one carrier, install safety and anti-theft device on your insured vehicle, and take courses to improve your driving skills.
Is it possible for my insurance company to always find a DUI conviction on me?
It is unlikely that an insurance company will find out about a DUI conviction within the policy term. A carrier that does not regularly check the records of insured drivers will not likely learn about a DUI conviction. The insured is not required to reveal this information. However, insurance companies check the driving records of all new applicants for auto insurance and when renewing policies.