At first glance, a DUI and your credit may seem unrelated, but they can be connected in more ways than one. For instance, the fact that most DUI-related costs can be put on a credit card is one reason why a DUI can cause credit scores to tank.
Essentially, if you don’t have the cash on hand to pay for all of the court and insurance-related costs of a DUI, you can be headed for trouble.
DUI costs may include:
- Between $500 and $4,000 in fines
- Fees in place of community service ($10 per hour)
- Vehicle impoundment fees
- Ignition Interlock Device (IID) fees
- DUI school fees
- Restitution for property damage
- Increased insurance premiums
- Civil judgements against DUI defendant
If you are convicted of DUI, not only do you face court-ordered fines among a host of other mandatory fees, you’ll face skyrocketing insurance premiums – all of these expenses add up and affect your bottom line.
Your auto insurance rates could double or triple, and if your credit takes a hit because you can’t afford to pay all of your bills and DUI-related costs, your auto insurance can increase even more since insurance companies factor in a driver’s credit rating when setting rates.
How a DUI Can Impact Credit
If you’re convicted of DUI and you can afford to cover all of the costs, fortunately a conviction shouldn’t affect your credit score. For those who can’t afford a conviction, their credit score can be affected because:
- Putting thousands of dollars on credit cards to pay all of the DUI-related costs increases a person’s credit utilization ratio – impacting credit scores.
- Unpaid fines are sent to collections, and reported for seven years.
- Judgements affect credit scores.
If you can afford to pay all of the DUI-related costs, a conviction still shows up on a criminal background check. Meaning, a DUI conviction can block you from getting that enticing job you want, or it can result in being passed up for a job promotion when another candidate has a spotless record.