How Being Charged with a DUI Can Affect Your Chances of Home Ownership

Jeff Peterson
Published on October 24, 2018

How Being Charged with a DUI Can Affect Your Chances of Home Ownership

Written by: Danielle Peffers

If you’ve been convicted of a DUI, you might be concerned
about how this could impact your chances of home ownership.

Essentially, having a conviction for driving under the influence will not directly affect your ability to become a homeowner. However, there are numerous ways this kind of conviction can indirectly impact this dream.

The Cost of a DUI

One of the first things to consider when arrested and
charged with driving under the influence is the potential cost in dollars and
cents. A fine for a first-time DUI offense could be several thousand dollars. If
you hire a DWI lawyer,
that could end up costing many more thousands.

If you end up serving time in jail, this could affect your
job, leading to lost income and numerous other financial repercussions.

If these expenses are charged and you carry debt when seeking out a mortgage, then this DUI could certainly impact your ability to buy a home.

If you end up serving time in jail, this could affect your job, leading to lost income and numerous other financial repercussions. If these expenses are charged and you carry debt when seeking out a mortgage, then this DUI could certainly impact your ability to buy a home.

Other Expenses May Increase

Not only could your reputation take a serious hit, but you
may also find yourself with increased automobile and other insurance rates. Even
if you don’t serve any jail time, your employment status could be terminated.

All these factors could affect your credit history, which
can immediately and directly affect your ability to obtain a mortgage.

There Are Other Factors to Consider

In most states, if a person is pulled over and arrested on
suspicion of driving under the influence, but they were not involved in an
accident and no injuries resulted, then this will be considered a misdemeanor.
However, if a person is injured, there was an accident, or you caused other
damage, this could lead to a felony offense.

Also, if this is not the first incident of driving under the
influence, that could also lead to felony charges. Some insurance companies
will not provide homeowner policies to convicted felons.

This doesn’t mean you will never be able to get homeowner’s insurance, though. You would have to contact your state’s department of insurance to locate a specialty insurer who will then underwrite the policy.  If that sounds vastly more expensive, it usually is.

What About Loan Background Checks?

When applying for a home loan, there will be a significant
amount of information you need to provide. Most home loan applications will
require disclosure of your financial condition, credit history, and some of
them will expect information related to convictions for serious felonies.

In most cases, financial lenders are looking for felonies
like fraud, tax evasion, or money laundering. Financial crimes in the past
could preclude you from obtaining a mortgage in the future.

In most cases, though, even a felony conviction for driving
under the influence will not specifically disqualify you from obtaining a
mortgage or homeowner’s insurance. The financial repercussions of such an
offense is what could be a serious problem for many people looking to own their
home.

Consider the Cost

Every state is different, so the cost of a DUI will vary. In
one state, like Texas, a first offense DUI conviction could levy a $2,000 fine
plus an additional $1,000 to $2,000 if your blood alcohol level reached a certain
level. In another state, like California, the fine for a first-time offender
for DUI is $4,000.

Once a fine is levied, courts do have the authorization to
utilize civil judgment collection processes to collect unpaid fines. These
collection processes can report to the major credit bureaus, including Equifax,
TransUnion, and Experian.

It’s these credit reports that could have a serious and
lasting negative impact on your ability to own a home.

Consider a Bond Lien

If you had to post bail or bond after your arrest for
driving under the influence, the bail bondsman may have required what is known
as a ‘bond lien.’ Once you have made all the necessary appearances and the bond
is exonerated, that doesn’t automatically mean it has been recorded properly.

If a lender discovers the lien during a loan application
process, this could very well lead to a denial of the mortgage application.

A DUI is a serious matter and while it may have been a
mistake that will not be repeated, some of the indirect consequences can affect
your ability to own a home in the future.

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