If you are convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) in Miami or anywhere else in Florida, a DUI can definitely damage your credit. While a DUI is not reported directly on your credit like a bankruptcy, judgement, or a lien, there are other ways that it can damage your FICO score. If you don’t have an adequate savings cushion for “emergencies,” a DUI can have catastrophic effects on your finances. Read on as I explain how:
- Court fines: The fine for a first DUI in Florida ranges between $500 and $2,000. Court-ordered fines are non-negotiable
and they cannot be included in bankruptcy. So, if you are convicted of DUI, you have to PAY the fine. If you don’t, it will be sent to collections.
- Insurance premiums: A DUI automatically triggers skyrocketing insurance premiums. If you want to drive after your license revocation, you have to pay for expensive insurance. The high cost of insurance could affect your ability to pay other bills, such as your credit cards. If you can’t make your other payments, your credit will be affected.
- DUI School: Under Florida law, those who are convicted of DUI must complete DUI School before hardship reinstatement. If you decide to wait out your revocation period, your license cannot be reinstated until you enroll in DUI School. You have to pay for DUI School, so that can affect your finances.
- Community service: A first DUI in Florida requires 50 hours of mandatory community service or a fine of $10 for each hour of community service that is required of you. That comes to $500.
- DUI accidents: If your DUI involved property damage, a crash, bodily injuries or death, you could face thousands in costs. If you seriously injured or killed someone else in the crash, the plaintiff (injured party) could file a civil lawsuit against you for property damage, medical bills, pain and suffering, loss of income and more. If the injuries were catastrophic, a personal injury lawsuit could wipe you out.
- Ignition Interlock Devices (IIDs): Under Section 316.193 of the Florida Statutes, certain individuals convicted of DUI are required to install Ignition Interlock Devices at their own expense. To learn more about Florida’s IID requirements, click here. Depending on the facts of your case, you could be ordered to install an IID for six months to five years.
In the best-case-scenario, you have the money in the bank to pay all of the DUI-related costs and your credit will not be affected. If you don’t have thousands of dollars laying around, a DUI conviction can affect your credit in three ways: 1) you put all DUI costs on credit cards, which causes your credit score to go down, 2) any unpaid fines are sent to collections, and 3) a judgement is put on your credit where it stays for seven years, whether you pay it or not. Of course, the best way to avoid all of these costs is to avoid a conviction in the first place. To get started on your defense, reach out to my firm asap.
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