What does a DWI in Minnesota do to auto insurance rates?

A DWI in Minnesota has a number of potential consequences, including facing much higher auto insurance premiums.

Most people are well aware of the serious consequences associated with a DWI conviction in Minnesota. The driver may have to spend time in jail, pay a fine and undergo court-ordered rehabilitation. The driver's license will also be revoked and he or she may have to participate in the ignition interlock program.

One often-overlooked consequence of DWI is what happens to the driver's auto insurance rate. Although this may not be at the top of someone's concerns, it is important to understand what happens - and it may add motivation to fighting the charges.

State-by-state comparison

Each state has its own laws and each company has its own guidelines when it comes to drunk driving and car insurance. ValuePenguin, a personal finance company that does in-depth research on topics such as this, did a study on how a DUI or DWI could affect someone's insurance rate in each state.

Researchers took insurance quotes from the 10 most populous ZIP codes in each state using a single DUI conviction. Using that information, they developed a state's median rate for people (specifically, 30-year-old males) who have a clean driving record and people who have one DUI.

The median increase for auto insurance after a DUI across the country was 86.5 percent. Minnesota - although not in the top five most expensive states - came in just under that, with a median 79 percent increase in the rate.

The increased insurance premiums make up only a percentage of the total cost of a DUI. According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, the cost of such an infraction can be well in excess of $20,000 when factoring in court costs and other collateral consequences.

Driving in Minnesota post-DUI

Many states, including Minnesota require a driver with a DUI conviction to file what is known as an SR22 form. This is a certificate from the insurance company verifying coverage.

According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety , following a DUI arrest that involves the ignition interlock program, the driver will have to produce the insurance certificate in order to drive following the arrest. The same would apply in situations in which the driver's license has been revoked or suspended; the certificate would be required. In order to obtain a SR22 from the insurance company, the driver must tell their insurance company about the arrest.

Fighting the charges

The penalties for even a first-time DUI offense in Minnesota may be severe. At stake are someone's finances, future and even freedom. Even securing reduced charges may greatly lessen the consequences of a conviction. Anyone who has concerns about this topic should speak with a criminal defense attorney.