Drunk Driving & Car Insurance

DUI_CAR_INSURNACEI received this e-mail from a client whose license I got fully reinstated back in 2009.

I just wanted to let you know how appreciative I am for everything you did for my case. Having my license back has been life changing and without your help I wouldn’t be where I am now. I have definitely learned a great lesson through my mistakes and am grateful that I can now continue my life in a more positive direction. So thank you very much!

She recently e-mailed me regarding her automobile insurance. She wrote as follows:

I hope all is well! You had represented me as an attorney back in November of 2009 helping me get my license back from a DUI case I had won, and I just had a quick question I was wondering if you could help me with.

Right now I’m renewing my car insurance, so I was wondering, since I won the case against the DUI but I still refused the breathalyzer in the case, should that still go against my insurance since my license was suspended? I wasn’t sure if you knew, if so I would really appreciate any information you could provide me, as I know most insurance agents seem unsure.

The answer to this question is no. Refusing to submit to a breath test will result in a license suspension, but not an increase in your automobile insurance premiums. G.L. c. 175 § 113B governs insurance premiums in Massachusetts, under what is known as the safe driver insurance plan. This plan allows insurance companies to charge you more based on your driving or criminal record. For example, at fault accidents, speeding citations, and DUI convictions will increase your insurance rates. When it comes to drunk driving cases, pleading out, admitting to sufficient facts, getting a CWOF, or being assigned to an alcohol education program, such as the § 24D program or the 14 day DUIL Program in Tewksbury will count as an operating under the influence “conviction” for insurance purposes. However, getting a not guilty verdict or dismissal, as many of Attorney George E. McCarthy’s client obtain, will not result in an increase of your insurance premiums. This is another reason not to plead out and to take your case to trial, if you’re charged with drunk driving in Massachusetts.