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Utah: Did the police wrongfully arrest drivers for DUI in the past? How to protect against DUI/DWI and find auto insurance thereafter

Former Utah Corporal Lisa Steed has been accused of wrongfully arresting people for driving under the influence. The lawsuit alleges that hundreds of people were targeted by Ms. Steed and other troopers on her force. People would be pulled over for minor violations and then arrested for a DUI without evidence. One of the lawyers behind this lawsuit is Robert Sykes. He says that was a “conspiracy within the highway patrol to propagate this kind of conduct.” A few of the first people to participate in the lawsuit were available to describe their experience with Ms. Steed. Thomas Romero and Julie Tapia were pulled over and charged with a DUI.

Those charges were dropped after investigations into

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the evidence found that neither had any proof of alcohol in their system and both claim they never drink at all. Romero’s arrest happened during 2011 and Steed was just fired in November 2012. She was accused of violating department policies, falsifying police reports and using questionable practices when making DUI arrests. Getting a DUI can be a very scary and stressful time for anyone but if you are falsely accused of driving under the influence, you need to know how to protect yourself. If you get a valid DUI, you also need to know what steps to take to ensure that you are treated fairly by the courts and your insurance company.

I Swear I’m Not Drunk – What To Do When Getting A DUI

Even if you have not been drinking, seeing those flashing headlights in your rearview mirror can make you pretty nervous. If you are drunk, you should be nervous. You are probably going to jail because you shouldn’t be driving drunk. But if you are not drunk and are accused of being so, your nervous attitude can quickly turn to one of shock and surprise. Who would ever think they would be accused of a DUI without drinking and driving?

If this happens to you, be sure to document as much of the event as possible and seek legal help immediately. Even if you can remember the most mundane detail, be sure to write it down and find any and all witnesses you can. Their testimonies might make the difference between your word and a police officer’s. Listen to your lawyer but do not be afraid to do a little research on your own. By educating yourself about the potential consequences you face, you will be able to ask the important questions. You have to realize that you may actually get wrongly convicted of a DUI just like Mr. Romero and Ms. Tapia.

I have a DUI

A DUI will not show up on your DMV record until you are convicted in court. Once your conviction is processed, it will appear on your record which means that it is fair game for your insurance company. Once they find out that you have a DUI, you can expect your rates to go way up. Now depending on your insurance company and the state that you live in, it could take a while for your insurance company to find this out. Some only check driving records every few years but there are other states that require you file an SR-22 insurance form, which doesn’t allow you to hide.

What is an SR-22 form?

This is a court required form that proves that you have financial responsibility of insurance coverage for your car and that it meets the legal requirements. You have to obtain an SR-22 form from an insurance company that is willing to insure you after you have been convicted of a DUI. Once you do this, you can get your driver’s license back pending any kind of suspension issued by the court. The auto insurance company that provides coverage will also keep a file of your SR-22 and if they cancel your policy, the DMV will automatically be notified and your license could be suspended. Once you can find an auto insurance company that will insure you, it will be a good idea to stay in their good graces.

Finding Car Insurance – “High Risk Auto Insurance”?

After you get a DUI, you will probably end up in either the secondary insurance market or the assigned risk pool. This is a pool you do not want to swim in. This means that no one could insure you because your driving record was so bad so you have to pay tremendous fees just to meet the legal limits of insurance. If you are in the assigned risk pool, you should probably start looking at the bus schedule. If you have a fairly clean driving record and this is your first offense DUI, you will more than likely end up in the second market. This means you are a higher risk than a normal driver without a serious record and the insurance company stands a chance to lose more when insuring you. In effect, your premiums will be higher, probably much higher but maybe not enough to warrant riding a bike for your 30 minute commute.

Saving Money After a DUI

If you get convicted, be sure to shop around. Just because you have had one insurance company for years doesn’t mean they will provide the lowest rate for you now. You should also find out how long a DUI can stay on your record as this will be a determining factor for your rates from now on. Some states such as New York and Florida will keep a DUI on your record five years. Don’t ever get a DUI in New Mexico. It stays on your record for 55 years!

Once you find a company that elects to cover you, be sure to speak with an agent about your individual situation. There are other factors that will make up your

premium rates. And if you believe you have been wrongfully convicted, speak with your lawyer. They should be able to handle any negotiations with your insurance company to make sure your rates stay reasonable and your record stays clean.