A DUI is a serious offense. Drivers arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, like cocaine, can face penalties like large fines, license suspension, a few years of probation and even jail time. And the amount of penalty increases depending on if this is your first offense or not.
A DUI conviction affects your life in other ways as well, including opportunities for employment and increased car insurance.
California Vehicle Code Section 23152(f) covers all offenses involving both drugs and alcohol. Under CVC 23152(f), it is unlawful for a person under the influence of any drug to drive a vehicle.
California defines a "drug" under Vehicle Code Section 312. The definition of a drug is any substance or combination of substances — other than alcohol — that would impede a person’s ability to drive a vehicle safely.
If a police officer pulls you over with probable cause, and drug impairment evaluation and chemical testing finds you under the influence of a drug like cocaine, then you can be arrested and charged with a DUID.
As mentioned earlier, penalties for a DUID can range from paying a fine to going to jail. In California, a first-time DUID conviction — where no one was hurt — generally includes probation, fines, license suspension and attendance at a drug education program. If this is not a driver's first DUID offense, or they injured or killed another person, they can face felony charges resulting in jail time.
Regardless of the penalty, a DUID conviction is permanently placed on your criminal record. That means when applying for a job or housing, this can become a factor.
And a DUID conviction can impact your ability to get car insurance, and will generally result in a higher premium.
When a car insurance company finds out your conviction of a drug-related DUI for something like cocaine, they may decide you are too much of a liability and will refuse to provide you with insurance. If they do keep you as a customer, you can expect your rates to increase by as much as three times what you were paying before the conviction. This is because in their eyes, you are now high-risk.
When the time comes to legally drive again, DUI-convicted drivers must prove they have car insurance coverage through a SR-22 certificate, also known as a California Insurance Proof Certificate. Your insurance company files the SR-22 with the California DMV to prove you have coverage, and you will need to pay any fees associated with the filing.
If you do not plan to own a car or drive after your cocaine DUI conviction, you will not need to file an SR-22. If you plan to drive a car that is not your own — such as a family vehicle — then you need to file a non-owner SR-22 certificate to show you have coverage when driving that vehicle.
It is important to note that not all car insurance companies provide SR-22 certificates. If you are unable to obtain an SR-22, you can contact the California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan (CAARP) for assistance.
A drug-related DUI conviction can impact your ability to obtain and pay for insurance for almost a decade. Finding a reputable criminal defense attorney, like those at the H Law Group to reduce your charges is the best way to get you back on the road.