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In North Carolina, DUI can dramatically affect car insurance

The financial analysis company NerdWallet recently released a report showing the relationship between impaired driving charges, fatal DUI accidents and insurance premiums. The report compared these data points from the nation's 150 largest cities in order to examine how insurance rates are affected by drunk driving convictions in different areas.

Several North Carolina cities were featured in the ranking of alcohol-related fatalities per capita, including Fayetteville at number 15, Durham at number 21 and Winston-Salem at number 23. Raleigh, Greensboro and Charlotte were also on the list, at positions 35, 37 and 50, respectively.

Notably, each of these North Carolina cities also showed a much higher than average spike in car insurance premiums among people convicted of driving under the influence. In fact, they were higher than any other cities on the list -- often by a long shot.

The analysis showed that drivers convicted of DUI in North Carolina experience an average spike in their car insurance premiums of about 150 to 160 percent, depending on the city. This translates to an extra $1,200 to $1,500 per year in insurance costs alone. At the opposite end of the spectrum was Omaha, Nebraska, where people convicted of drunk driving paid only about 4 percent more for car insurance on average, or about $45 per year.

Increased insurance premiums may not be the first thing you think of when you consider the potential consequences of a DUI arrest, but they are certainly something to keep in mind -- especially in North Carolina. If you have been arrested for drunk driving, a skilled DUI defense lawyer may be able to help you minimize the negative consequences of the arrest, including insurance hikes, monetary fines, license suspension and potential jail time.

Source: NerdWallet, "The Most Dangerous Cities: DUIs, Deaths and Your Insurance," John Kuo, July 21, 2014

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