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Does a DUI Affect My Credit Score in New Jersey?

Driving under the influence (DUI), often referred to as DWI (Driving While Intoxicated), can have an abundance of potential dangers. Besides the obvious risk of physical harm, property damage, and incarceration, a DUI conviction can be detrimental to your finances. You may worry that getting a DUI could negatively impact your credit score, which would in turn negatively affect your ability to rent an apartment or home, take out a loan, obtain suitable interest rates, and sometimes even impact your employment.

The good news is that in the state of New Jersey, a DUI will not show up on your credit report or factor whatsoever into the calculation of your credit score. The bad news is that this doesn’t necessarily mean that a DUI is not going to affect your credit anyway.

If you find yourself facing DUI charges, find legal representation with a Bergen County DWI attorney.

What Are the Financial Implications of a DUI?

We just established that a DUI will not show up on your credit report or contribute to your score. So how will it negatively affect your credit anyway?

Penalties for a DUI in New Jersey can become very expensive very quickly, not to mention legal fees and costs of property damage. Costs associated with a DUI can include:

  • Towing vehicles
  • Impounded vehicle
  • Bail
  • Attorney fees
  • Fines
  • Court costs
  • Alcohol or drug education classes
  • Loss of income
  • DMV fees
  • Restitution

These are just some of the potential costs that can be accrued when dealing with a DUI case. Depending on the specifics of your case you could be looking at thousands of dollars worth of costs derived from your DUI case.

How Can DUI Costs Negatively Impact My Credit Score?

If you are not financially prepared to pay all of these costs with cash, you will likely resort to paying your debts with a credit card. It’s quick and convenient to put it all on a card, but this could result in a high utilization which will in turn cause your score to decrease.

Depending on your available credit and financial situation you may end up spending more than you are really able to. You will probably accumulate quite a bit of debt in a very short amount of time. In New Jersey, a DUI is considered a traffic violation, not a crime. Luckily this means your conviction will probably not affect your future ability to get a job as employers can only ask you to disclose criminal records. However, depending on your situation you may have to serve time in jail or have your license suspended or revoked. Either or both of these scenarios will have an impact on your current employment. If you are unable to make a steady income it will be nearly impossible to get your debt paid off in a timely manner, which will cause your credit score to drop.

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