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.
What is a Drug-Related DUI (DUID)?
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.
What Are the Penalties for a DUID in California?
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.
How Does a Drug-Related DUI Affect Driver’s Insurance?
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.
What is an SR-22 Certificate?
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.