What Happens If I Get a DWI/DUI During COVID-19?


Anyone with a conviction of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving Under the Influence (DUI) can tell you that the process is lengthy and complicated. You could face expensive fines, a DUI/DWI school program, and possibly time in jail.

The pandemic has added new difficulties to the equation. At Breathe Easy Insurance, we've assembled a guide to help you understand what to expect when you get a DUI conviction during COVID-19.

A DUI/DWI Can Result in Fines, Jail Time, and More

If you're convicted of a DUI/DWI, the severity of the penalty depends on whether you're a first time or repeat offender.

First-Time Offenders

A first DUI offense could be punished with:

  •         Up to $1,000 in fines
  •         One year in jail
  •         12 points on your driver's license
  •         Six-month license suspension

A first DWI offense can include:

  •         Fines up to $500
  •         Two months in jail
  •         60-day suspension of your license
  •         8 points on your license

Repeat Offenders

Repeat DUI or DWI charges result in more severe sentences, depending on the circumstances of your case.

  •         Fines up to $3,000
  •         Mandatory jail time up to 10 days
  •         Up to 3 years in prison
  •         Driver's license suspension for 18 months
  •         A waiting period of 24-months to reinstate your license
  •         One year of participation in an Ignition Interlock Program

Legal Blood Alcohol Limits Vary by State

Depending on your state of residency, the legal blood alcohol limit will vary. The federal "per se" Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit is 0.08%. Some states have lower limits, while others have zero-tolerance levels in place.

In stricter states, such as Utah, the BAC limit is 0.05%. For commercial and rideshare drivers in all states, the legal limit is also lower, at 0.04%. Underage drivers are typically considered intoxicated at levels above 0.02%. Anyone driving with a BAC above 0.15% can face enhanced penalties.

Telehealth DUI/DWI School Programs

Due to social distancing precautions, many DUI school programs are temporarily taking place remotely. These online programs allow individuals to complete the DUI/DWI school requirement on time, instead of waiting for physical program locations to reopen.

DMV-approved remote DUI/DWI classes will be available until the end of the health emergency. If you prefer to complete the course in-person, you'll have to wait in "Leave of Absence" status indefinitely until classes can resume, but not all programs are offering this as an option.

Schools Offering AB541 Programs Through Zoom

The AB541 program is a three-month program for first-time offenders with a BAC under the legal limit. Some of the requirements include 34 hours of classes, one-on-one interviews, group meetings, and other conditions the court or DMV determines.

Many DUI/DWI schools are offer certified AB541 telehealth programs that enable participants to avoid delays during COVID-19. These Remote Client Services via Zoom provide a virtual meeting room where you can speak with counselors and partake in the group or individual sessions. In addition to the standard cost of DUI/DWI school, you can expect to pay a $200 fee to enroll in a remote program.

Electronic SR22 Filing

Following a DUI/DWI charge, your state DMV or motor vehicle department will require you to show proof of SR22 Insurance. The SR22 form acts as proof of liability coverage, which you'll need as a high-risk driver to reinstate your driving privileges. Submitting your SR22 document to the Secretary of State can take up to 30 days, and you won't be permitted to drive until then.

Alternatively, some insurers can submit your SR22 form electronically to avoid these long waiting times. Your insurance company will provide the DMV with your proof of coverage monthly. Usually, the state will require this form for three years.

Ignition Interlock Device (IID) Restricted vs. Non-IID Restricted

Some states require drivers with a DUI/DWI to use an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) before removing a license suspension. Alternatively, an IID can allow first-time offenders to surpass the previous 30-day waiting period and regain driving privileges.

A convicted first-time offender can apply for Early Reinstatement with an IID or a restricted license following the 30-day suspension. The non-IID restricted option allows 1st-time offenders to drive to and from work, and the DUI/DWI program without an IID.

For drivers with multiple DUI violations, and in scenarios that resulted in bodily injuries, the court may issue a mandatory IID for one to four years. Drivers with IID are permitted to use their cars for purposes other than going to and from the workplace.

Most DMV's are Open

Most DMVs are open at 50% capacity. Some DMVs are accepting walk-ins, while others are only accepting visitors by appointment. Face masks are mandatory, and patrons must adhere to social distancing requirements.

If you have questions beforehand about the requirements to reinstate your license, you can contact your local DMV via phone, or use their online form. Your license will remain suspended until you visit the DMV office and provide the requested documents.

Contacting a Lawyer is Still Vital

Every DUI or DWI case is unique and can potentially carry enormous consequences. A local DUI/DWI  lawyer will have the experience and knowledge needed to assess your case and minimize the charges. Your attorney will examine the prosecution's argument for weaknesses to negotiate shorter license suspensions and lessen the severity of your penalty.

Call Breathe Easy Insurance for a Free consultation

All the new measures in place due to COVID-19 can delay the process of reinstating your license. At Breathe Easy Insurance, we're familiar with all the DMV requirements and mandatory DUI/DWI programs. We also help you find the most affordable SR22 Insurance to quickly and we'll get you back on the road.

To learn more about DUI Convictions During COVID, contact the experts at Breathe Easy Insurance at (866) 822-7755. You can also text "DriveNowToday" to 555-888. Our support team will help you find simple and affordable solutions.


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