In the state of New Jersey, driving under the influence (DUI) is treated as an egregious misdemeanor. What this means is that although you may face serious consequences, you will not be charged with a felony. However, that does not mean a DUI offense cannot severely impact your life in other facets. One of the most prominent ways it can adversely affect your well-being is by hurting your credit rating. While a DUI conviction may not directly show up on your credit report, the compounding costs associated with it most certainly will. This can include a wide array of payments like court charges, fines, and increased insurance fees, as well as how it may affect your source of income. DUI charges are a very serious matter, and if you have recently been arrested for drunk driving, please reach out to the Bergen County DUI attorneys from The Law Office of Carl Spector to schedule a free consultation.
How can a DUI impact my credit report?
The financial ramifications of a DUI can wreak havoc on your credit report. Despite the fact that it will not show up on your report, nor will it be factored into your score, the expenses associated with a DUI charge can have a devastating impact on your credit rating. For example, in New Jersey, the penalties for a first-time DUI offense can be very extensive. This can include fines between $250 to $400, a $125 DWI surcharge, a $100 Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund (DDEF) surcharge, $75 for the Safe Neighborhood Services Fund (SNSF), $50 for the Victims of Crime Compensation Office (VCCO), and up to $33 in court costs. The severity of these types of penalty fees typically increases with repeat offenses. It should also be noted that this may result in an annual $1,000 surcharge on your insurance for three years, which can go as high as $4,500 per year if it is your third DUI offense.
The immediate costs of a DUI can easily cause you to accumulate debt fairly quickly. However, this does not take into account the other issues it can cause with your credit report. Depending on the circumstances, you may also face substantial jail time, as well as a lengthy suspension of your license. This can severely impact both your current and future employment, leaving you in a difficult situation regarding your source of income. Without a job, you may find yourself struggling to not only pay all the fines and fees for a DUI but your credit card bills as well. If you are facing a DUI offense, it is always recommended to have experienced legal representation by your side.