A conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) in California can impact your life in several different ways. For example, you may have your driver’s license suspended while facing fines and time in jail.
All the restrictions associated with a DUI conviction can feel overwhelming. You might even wonder if you can buy a car with a DUI in California. Find out how a DUI impacts your ability to purchase a vehicle with the Simmrin Law Group.
A DUI Won’t Directly Prevent You from Buying a Car
In order to buy a vehicle in California, you will need to provide:
- Proof of your identity, such as a license or passport
- Proof of your address, such as a current utility bill
- Proof of your income, such as recent pay stubs
- Proof that you have insurance
You can technically purchase a vehicle after you get convicted of a DUI in California. While your license may be suspended or revoked after a DUI conviction, a driver’s license is not the only form of identification available to you. You may also use a state-certified identification card or even your passport as proof of your identity.
Note that you will need to use a physical address when purchasing a vehicle in California. You will also need insurance before you can appropriately register your car with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
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Insurance Rates Can Make It Difficult to Buy a Car After a DUI
As we mentioned, as long as you have valid proof of identification, insurance, and a place of residence, you can purchase a vehicle in California. However, you should be aware that a DUI conviction in California can significantly increase your insurance rates.
Drivers convicted of a DUI in California may find their rates doubled or even tripled for car insurance. The insurance company cannot raise your rates during your term of insurance. However, purchasing a new vehicle will prompt your insurance company to check your record with the DMV.
The company can then raise your rates because you are changing your policy by adding a new vehicle. Therefore, you may want to consider increases in your insurance rates before you purchase a new vehicle following a DUI conviction.
You Cannot Drive a Vehicle Without a License in California
As discussed in this article, you can purchase a vehicle even if your license is suspended or revoked by the DMV after a DUI, as long as you have a valid proof of identification. However, you cannot drive your new vehicle if your license is suspended or revoked.
Even if you eventually win your DUI case in court, the DMV may still suspend your license shortly after your arrest. A DUI lawyer will help you fight any suspension or revocation of your license by the DMV to maintain your driving privileges.
Driving on a suspended or revoked license for a DUI conviction is a criminal act in California. You can face the following penalties if you are convicted:
- Fines of up to $2,000
- Jail time of up to one year
If you get accused of driving on a suspended or revoked license, you can get help quickly by contacting a criminal defense lawyer.
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You May Need to Install an Ignition Interlock Device on a New Vehicle
Starting in 2019, California began using a statewide program for interlock ignition device (IID) usage following DUI convictions. Under this program, the court requires most drivers convicted of an alcohol-related DUI to install an IID on all vehicles they drive or own.
You can continue to operate a vehicle regularly with an IID-restricted license, meaning that if you purchase a new car, you will need to get an IID installed on it before you can drive it. However, once the professionals install your IID, you can drive your new car as you wish.
Even though you may be able to drive normally with an IID, the cost can certainly set you back. Additionally, explaining this device to your passengers can be embarrassing. Fortunately, a DUI lawyer can help you prevent this situation. By beating a DUI conviction outright or getting the charge reduced, you can avoid having to install an IID in your vehicle.
How Long do You Use an IID in California?
The court system requires drivers convicted of a DUI to use IIDs for different amounts of time. Generally, the court considers how many previous DUIs you have on your record before making a decision.
Four years represents the maximum amount of time for IID usage, according to the DMV. Drivers only have to use an IID this long if they have past felony DUI convictions on their record.
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Can You Drive Other People’s Vehicles After a DUI?
You may need to get around after a DUI in California. However, you may decide that purchasing a new vehicle doesn’t fit the needs of your current situation. Some drivers consider borrowing a car for getting to work or running errands instead.
However, California places restrictions on borrowing vehicles following a DUI conviction. Depending upon the terms of your conviction, you may only be allowed to borrow a car equipped with an IID. Review the court’s orders before:
- Renting a vehicle
- Driving a company vehicle
- Borrowing a vehicle from a friend or relative
You can face legal repercussions if the police pull you over and discover you drove a vehicle without an IID. The court may increase the length of your probation, add additional terms to your probation, or even revoke your probation in this situation.
What Other Transportation Options Can You Consider With a DUI?
Driving a vehicle can prove difficult after a DUI conviction in California. Fortunately, you may have other options to consider. Many drivers reach their destinations by:
- Setting up a carpool to work
- Hiring services like Uber or Lyft
- Using public transportation
- Looking for bike-friendly options
Generally, you do not have to keep an IID on your vehicle forever after a DUI conviction. After a set amount of time, you can remove the device and drive freely again. A lawyer can help you consider all possible options for getting around after a DUI arrest.
Protect Your Ability to Drive With a DUI Lawyer
As you can see, you can buy a car with a DUI in California, but the conviction can make it harder for you to get insurance and operate your vehicle the way you want. You can take charge of this situation by working to resolve your DUI charges before you are convicted.
A DUI lawyer in Los Angeles can focus on building a solid defense for you right now. The professionals at the Simmrin Law Group know what it takes to help drivers in your situation. We may be able to get your charges reduced.
In some cases, the court may dismiss DUI accusations in California. You can reach us easily by calling us or filling out our online contact form. Protect your driving privileges after a DUI arrest by contacting us for a FREE case evaluation.