Does a DUI affect your credit?

In New Jersey, if you operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, you will be presumed impaired and face a driving while under the influence charge (DUI). When most people think about the potential consequences of such an offense, they usually imagine hefty fines, driver’s license suspension, installation of an ignition interlock device, and even serving jail time. However, what they often neglect to realize is that a DUI conviction can have a catastrophic effect on their finances. While a DUI charge doesn’t directly affect your credit score, the financial ramifications of a conviction can quickly add up, resulting in an economic crisis that can haunt you for years to come. This can include legal fees, fines, increased auto insurance rates, and even a deduction in your source of income. Therefore, you should not take this charge lightly. Please continue reading to learn how a DUI conviction can impact your credit report and how our skilled Bergen County DUI Attorneys can help defend your rights. 

Does a DUI Conviction Affect Your Credit Score?

A DUI conviction can have significant financial implications that adversely affect your credit rating. Although such a conviction will not be reflected on your credit report or impact the score itself, the associated expenses of this crime can be substantial. As such, these expenses can be challenging to manage, potentially resulting in missed payments, growing debt, and a drastic credit score reduction.

Even if this is your first offense DUI, you could be subject to various fines and surcharges. For instance, if you are required to take driving or alcohol education courses as part of your punishment, you will be responsible for paying for them entirely out of pocket. If you are ordered to have an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, you will be responsible for covering the installation costs and a recurring monthly calibration fee. Further, you may be subject to fines between $250 and $400, as well as the following fees:

  • A $125 DWI surcharge
  • A $100 Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund (DDEF) surcharge
  • A $75 Safe Neighborhood Services Fund (SNSF surcharge
  • A $50 Victims of Crime Compensation Office (VCCO) surcharge
  • Up to $30 in court costs

Alongside these costs, it’s crucial to consider how a DUI conviction will affect your insurance premiums and interest rates. If you’re charged with DUI, you will automatically be regarded as a high-risk driver. Therefore, you will face higher insurance premiums, making finding affordable auto coverage difficult. In addition, similar to insurance, your interest rates for loans and credit cards could be raised after a conviction. Depending on your providers, they may be unsure whether they can rely on you to repay debts. This will increase interest rates to compensate the provider for missing payments.

As you can see, the immediate costs associated with such an offense can quickly amount to substantial debt. That said, if you’ve been charged with DUI, it’s in your best interest to enlist the help of an experienced attorney from The Law Office of Carl Spector, who can effectively represent your interests and fight to protect you from an uncertain future.