Can a marijuana possession charge affect my Florida auto insurance?
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A conviction for marijuana possession in Florida can affect your auto insurance. Some states automatically suspend your driver’s license for drug convictions, like marijuana possession. Florida is one of the states that will automatically suspend your license, even if you weren’t in your car and there was no intent to distribute.
Auto insurance companies typically only raise your rates for convictions related to traffic offenses. Limits on your license could affect whether or not your insurance carrier decides to increase your auto insurance rates. Other situations related to marijuana possession could also affect your auto insurance rates and coverage.
Marijuana Possession and Florida Auto Insurance
Two main factors are how and where you possessed the marijuana. As noted, even if you were not in your car when you possessed marijuana and there was no intent to distribute, your license could still be suspended for up to two years. The impact of your conviction is more indirect as is it relates to your driver’s license. Your auto insurance is more directly impacted when you are accused of driving while under the influence.
Driving while under the influence of marijuana is covered by Florida’s DUI laws which include situations where someone does not have the normal use of their faculties because they have used controlled substances. This is a more direct “use” of the vehicle in relation to the possession of marijuana, which will also result in a suspension of your driver’s license. If you do not have a valid driver’s license, many insurance companies will refuse or cancel auto insurance coverage.
Marijuana DUI and Florida Auto Insurance Rates
In addition to suspension issues, if you are convicted of driving while under the influence of marijuana, the rates for your auto insurance will probably increase substantially because it's a traffic offense. How much will depend on your prior criminal history, driving history, and your auto insurance company. Even though insurance companies are subject to state regulations, how much to charge is a contractual agreement between you and the carrier.
Your criminal history in general can impact your auto insurance rates. If you have been convicted for possession of marijuana before and are subsequently, repeatedly convicted for possession of marijuana, some carriers may view you as a greater risk, because you do not appear to be handling your addition issues. Your auto insurance carrier can, therefore, adjust their risk by charging you a higher premium.
Similarly, state laws in Florida authorize the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) to refuse to give a license to someone who is a habitual drug user that “renders him incapable of safely driving a motor vehicle.” So even if you have not been in an auto accident, but you have received numerous drug or marijuana convictions, you could still end up losing your license, and eventually your auto insurance coverage.
Every conviction, even those for marijuana possession, tends to have several collateral consequences, including increased auto insurance rates. Before you enter a plea, consult with an attorney in your area to learn about your options and liability for a possession of marijuana charge.
For more information on the insurance consequences of getting a DUI, see our article How a DUI Affects Your Car Insurance.
Follow this link for more information about Florida Marijuana Laws and Florida Medical Marijuana Laws.