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How a DUI Can Impact Insurance in DC

The transcript below is an excerpt from an interview with Jason Kalafat Defense Attorney:

What Can Happen To An Individual’s Insurance Following a DUI?

Jason Kalafat: An individual who’s convicted of a DUI charge can expect to have their insurance rates go up. One of the requirements in the District of Columbia is an individual who’s been convicted of a DUI must obtain high risk insurance. It’s a separate type of insurance called SR-22. They need to maintain that for a period of a couple of years in addition to their normal insurance.

So, an individual convicted of a DUI can expect to have high risk insurance and an increase in the regular premium. Also, depending upon their prior driving record apart from the DUI case, they could be dropped by their insurance company and so they need to be mindful that they’re going to have some insurance issues going forward.

Should An Individual Speak To Their Insurance Provider About The DUI or Inform Them Of The DUI?

Jason Kalafat: An individual should discuss that with their attorney first because the insurance policy may have a requirement that an individual inform them of any sort of accident or driving infraction.

When informing your insurance company of an event, often times the insurance company will immediately ask you to provide a written and/or audio statement of what happened. If there is a pending criminal case against you like a DUI charge, then it may be a bad idea to give a statement admitting to any of the elements of a DUI charge because it’s possible that the prosecution could obtain a copy of that statement.

I advise my clients who haven’t yet spoken to their insurance company to talk with me about what they should or should not say to the insurance company. Often in these cases, I will interject and speak to the insurance company and let them know that there is a pending charge and therefore I’m advising my client against making a detailed statement about what happened at this time.

Everyone should be aware that insurance companies have the ability to get the police report directly from the police agency and almost always will do so. The insurance company will have the ability to get the pertinent details anyway, so they won’t necessarily need to have a statement from their insured to have a general understanding of what’s going on.

This particularly comes up if there’s an accident involved in a DUI case. That’s how the insurance company typically will become notified because there’ll be a claim made by the other party. But if there is no accident and no reason for the insurance company  to become aware of it, then I advise my clients to come talk to me and let’s take a look at the situation. Then, we’ll see what action, if any, we should take with regards to your insurance company.

If Charged With DUI, Should Someone Contact Their Insurance Before Their Lawyer?

Jason Kalafat: If at all possible, no. An individual involved in an accident and charged with a DUI should contact an attorney immediately. The insurance company is going to want to get a statement as to what happened so it’s critical that the individual gets some legal advice to avoid making statements either in writing or on audio to an insurance company representative. It could then potentially be used against them in a criminal case. If at all possible, you should delay until you have a chance to speak with a DUI attorney.

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