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When is DUI not a DUI? Trick question? Well, of course it is. The answer is never even if your attorney was able to plea bargain your DUI by having you plead no contest to DWS, driving while stupid.

Clients will, and honestly in their mind, answer no to the question of having been charged with or convicted of DUI, because their clever lawyer was able to plea bargain them out of having to attend AA as a consequence of their actions. Truth is that attending that AA meeting might have been what they needed.

Anyway, when a life insurance underwriter pulls your motor vehicle record it shows what really happened. You really were DUI, but the end legal result was you didn’t have to suffer the full consequences. DUI is a serious matter with life insurance underwriters, as it should be. There is nothing safe about driving under the influence for you or anyone around you. Plea bargained or not, your DUI will be treated just like any other DUI.

Underwriting of DUI is treated much the same as auto insurance. The further you are from the incident, the more likely you are to get back to the best rates. It varies from company to company, but at best you can assume it will take 5 years before it doesn’t impact your life insurance rates at all, 10 years with some companies. The closer you are to the incident, the higher the rates will be.

Another underwriting note with DUI is that the underwriter is interested in if you’ve changed your drinking habits. The best underwriting will go to those who were so moved by the incident that they quit drinking. You are scrutinized a little more closely if you are still drinking. Assume that if you are still drinking and you happen to have elevated liver functions on the labs, the underwriter will ask for an alcohol marker to be run. Alcohol markers are a very accurate measure of your current drinking habits and if you have a positive CDT, you will be declined.

Bottom line. A DUI by any other name is still a DUI for life insurance purposes. That plea bargain might impress your banker, but not your underwriter.