A lot of confusion revolves around the SR22 certificate requirement in DUI cases. Most people have little to no knowledge regarding SR22 requirements. SR22 is a form provided by your car insurance company. The purpose of the document is to verify and ensure that you have complied with the conditions and requirements of the state concerning car insurance liability. Once your insurance company gives you an SR22 form, it also serves the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) with a copy. Any time you require your driving privileges to be restored after a DUI license revocation or suspension, you will need an SR22 form. Several situations can direct you to have an SR22 form, but you will often require it after DUI-associated license revocation or suspension. Our attorneys at the Koenig Law Office can help you understand everything you need to know about SR22 in Bakersfield, CA.
After being charged with a serious traffic offense, you can only resume driving once you secure SR22 insurance. Typically, SR22 is an insurance certificate but not a type of insurance. Your motor insurance company files an SR22 with the Department of Motor Vehicles as evidence that you meet the state's minimum insurance requirements for vehicle liability insurance coverage.
Usually, for every accident, your liability coverage pays up to:
- $5000 for property damage
- $15,000 for bodily injury or death of one person
- $30,000 for wrongful death or significant bodily injury of all individuals injured or who died in the accident
An SR insurance policy is necessary to reinstate your driving privileges if your driver's license is revoked or suspended for the following reasons:
- After a DUI conviction
- When you lose at the DMV hearing,
- When you fail to apply for a DMV hearing
An SR22 is essential because it allows you to continue driving after installing an ignition interlock device (IID). SR22 is acceptable proof of auto liability insurance for any DMV action that requires you to provide evidence of financial responsibility.
In most cases, an SR22 is associated with DUI license suspensions. However, SR22 could be necessary under the following circumstances:
- Reinstating your driving license after a suspension for a DUI
- Reinstating your driving privileges after a suspension for a wet-reckless
- Causing an accident when you are not insured
- Reinstating your driving license after the DMV suspension for being declared a negligent operator. The DMV could declare you a negligent operator if you accumulate many points on your driving record within a particular period of time.
A DUI Charge
A DUI is a severe offense, and its consequences become more serious if you repeat it. This crime could lead to a jail term and your driver's license suspension. If the DMV suspends your driver's license, you will have difficulty commuting to work or school. Fortunately, an SR22 can help you regain your driving privileges. An SR22 insurance certificate can also help you rebuild your driving record.
A Wet Reckless Conviction
Reckless driving is a vast crime that includes weaving through traffic, aggressive lane changing, disregarding traffic lights or signs, and speeding. If you engage in reckless driving and there is a note that alcohol was involved, you could face wet reckless charges. A wet reckless is a lesser charge than a DUI. Most drivers have their DUI charges reduced to a wet reckless, mainly if mitigating factors exist. If the court convicts you of wet reckless and you want to resume driving, the court could order you to secure an SR22 form.
Causing An Accident Without Insurance
Under federal law, all drivers must have a specific minimum liability insurance coverage, as the law outlines. Driving without insurance is a serious crime because an uninsured driver could cause costly injuries and damage. If you cause an accident without insurance, you could face several lawsuits and have your assets, like a home, repossessed. You could also lose your driving privileges for driving without insurance. The good news is that you can resume driving upon obtaining an SR22 certificate.
Any of the above circumstances will require you to keep an SR22 certificate with the DMV for a period that does not exceed three years. Your car insurance policy must cover the following vehicles if the DMV requires you to keep an SR22:
- All the cars that you routinely drive
- Any vehicle registered under your name
However, you do not need to file an SR22 if you will no longer drive following a DUI conviction.
On the other hand, you could apply for a non-owner SR22 insurance liability policy even if you do not own a car but regularly access a family car. A non-owner policy covers you any time you can drive a vehicle. Unfortunately, your options will be limited with this policy. You cannot secure a non-owner SR22 policy if the court orders you to install an ignition interlock device.
The Cost Of An SR22
Like other auto insurance policies, the costs related to an SR22 depend on the insurance company. Typically, you can spend $350 monthly for a policy, depending on your circumstances, like age and driving history. Besides the $350, you will also lose your good driver discount because the law does not allow DUI offenders to retain or secure a good driver discount for ten years after a DUI violation.
As an SR22 client, the law requires you to pay a higher premium for the minimum liability insurance coverage because you are a ''high-risk'' driver. Some insurance companies could charge $20 to $50 or more to file your SR22. You could also be required to pay a $125 reissue fee to the DMV before it reinstates your driving license.
Securing A Cheap SR22
After a traffic violation conviction, you will incur hefty costs by paying fines, legal fees, and administrative fees. You will pay twice as much for SR22 compared to regular insurance. The SR22 rate depends on the insurance company. Fortunately, many insurance companies provide SR22, allowing you to compare offers from different companies to find a cheaper SR22 certificate. Here is what you can do to reduce the costs associated with an SR22 certificate:
Paying All Your Fees
The court and the DMV could impose heavy fines, especially for severe DUI charges. If you fail to pay the fines, you could make the situation worse. You should pay the fines to help you move on and regain your driving privileges. You can set up a payment plan to pay the fees and fines over time, even if it is impossible to pay them all at once.
Shop For The Lowest SR22
Your license can only be reinstated if you fill out an SR22 form. Your insurance company handles this whole process. SR22 form typically establishes communication between your insurance company and the DMV. The DMV will be notified if there are any lapses in your insurance. An SR22 form guarantees you have the minimum coverage required by law.
Shopping online for different policies is one of the best ways to reduce SR22 costs. Various insurance companies use different algorithms to calculate policy costs. If you try several companies, you can land the best deal.
Complete A Defensive Driving Course
Sometimes, the court could order you to complete a defensive driving class as punishment. Attending this class will help you when looking for a cheaper SR22. Therefore, you can complete the course even if the court does not require it. The defensive driving course proves that you are trying to improve your driving behavior. If the DMV revokes or suspends your license, this course can help you reduce your insurance premium expenses while looking for coverage.
The Process Of Securing An SR22
You should call your insurance company to secure an SR22. However, your request for an SR22 informs your insurer that you have committed a violation. The company will review your DMV record to determine why you need the form. After conducting a background check, your insurer will issue you the certificate or cancel your insurance policy. Your insurance rates will increase if you secure an SR22 from your current company. Your insurance company will likely issue you the SR22 by electronically filing a form with the DMV.
Only a few vehicle insurance companies offer SR22 coverage. You will likely pay a high premium if you seek an SR22 elsewhere after your insurer cancels you. This happens because most insurance companies view you as a high-risk driver.
It is mandatory under California law to carry auto insurance. If you cannot secure an SR22 on your own, the authorities will offer you a program that matches you with a company that will insure you.
Auto insurance companies do not use a DUI conviction as the only factor in determining whether to raise your insurance premium rates. Many companies will consider where you stay, your marital status, and your driving experience. Insurance companies will also consider your age and your driving record.
An SR22 And A Restricted License
An SR22 can assist you in securing a restricted license. After a DUI conviction, you will be on probation. While on probation, you have to adhere to court-ordered obligations. A typical probation condition is to enroll in and complete DUI school. You could also face a driver's license revocation or suspension for six months to four years.
The DMV usually provides two kinds of restricted licenses, including:
- An IID-restricted license
- A regular restricted license
An IID Restricted License
On January 1, 2019, the Senate Passed SB 1046. This law changed how DUI cases are handled and the additional punishment associated with DUI crimes. The bill also changed how the DMV could influence your license. In this case, the DMV allowed people convicted of DUI to drive to any location within the license suspension period as long as they installed ignition interlock devices in their vehicles.
Under SB 1046, you have two options in a standard DUI, where no person is injured. The first option is to install an IID device immediately after your arrest. This will help you maintain unlimited driving privileges and avoid the 30-day hard license suspension. You must keep the device installed in your vehicle for a period that does not exceed six months. You must install the ignition interlock device on all the vehicles you operate.
You must also attend an AB-541 alcohol school and secure the SR22 form. You will not have restrictions on your driving privileges once you install an IID and secure an SR22 certificate. You also have to enroll in a DUI school.
Regular Restricted License
The DMV could issue you with a restricted license following your license suspension. However, you must wait some days before receiving the restricted license. A restricted license permits you to drive to and from a DUI program. It also allows you to drive to and from school or work. If you are a first DUI offender, the DMV will issue you with a restricted license if you meet the following conditions:
- Pay a $125 reissue fee and a $15 restriction fee
- File for an SR22 certificate
- Attend a DUI School
If you are a second or subsequent DUI offender, the DMV will issue you with a restricted license if you meet the following conditions:
- Pay a $15 restriction fee and a $125 reissue fee
- File for an SR22 certificate
- Install an IID in your vehicle and commit not to drive any car without an IID.
- Attend a DUI program.
If you comply with the above conditions, the DMV will issue you a restricted license for your driver's license suspension period. However, if you feel you are going to plead guilty after your DUI arrest, you could begin the SR22 procedure right away. You can request your insurance company to commence the process on your behalf.
Commencing the SR22 process soon could help you have your driver's license reinstated faster than waiting until the DMV takes action. However, you must consult a skilled DUI attorney on the best strategy for reinstating your license faster. Unfortunately, you will not qualify for a restricted license if you are charged under VC 23152(a), and the prosecutor proves you refused to submit to a breath or a chemical blood test.
Maintaining Your SR22 Status
You must maintain your SR22 status for a period that does not exceed three months after a DUI-related license suspension. It is not necessary for you to re-file every year as long as:
- Your insurance company keeps you after issuing you with an SR22
- You retain your policy
The DMV will keep your SR22 status until it is no longer necessary. However, your insurance company must inform the DMV if it drops you or if you cancel your insurance policy. If this happens, you must immediately secure an SR22 from another car insurance company to avoid a new driver's license suspension. You can only remove your SR22 status and reinstate your license by maintaining uninterrupted insurance coverage. Your car insurance company could inform the DMV that you no longer have an SR22 if you fail to make a payment. This could lead to a new license suspension unless you re-file the SR22.
Relocation And SR22
The requirement to file an SR22 differs from one state to another. Therefore, your SR22 will only be valid if you are in California. If you relocate to another SR22 state, you must seek a new SR22 in your new state. When you obtain the new policy, your new insurance company will notify the DMV in California to release your SR22 in the new state.
You will still have to secure a new policy if you relocate to a state where SR22 filing is not a requirement. The policy you look for should have similar or equal limits to the California SR22 coverage. The California DMV will release your SR22 once you secure the new coverage. However, you should secure a new policy before you cancel your California SR22. Your previous DMV record will reflect a lapse in coverage if you fail to cancel your previous SR22. This could trigger a new license suspension in California.
An SR22 Covers Every Vehicle You Drive
When you obtain an SR22, it will cover every vehicle that you operate. However, if you obtain a non-owner SR22, it will not offer coverage for damage that occurs on your car. A non-owner SR22 only covers you if you borrow another person's vehicle.
Why You Should Consult A DUI Attorney
Obtaining an SR22 certificate can be a confusing and time-consuming process. A DUI attorney is well-versed in the SR22 filing requirements and will ensure that all necessary paperwork is completed accurately and promptly. Your attorney will work diligently to get you back on the road quickly. Working with a DUI attorney allows you to regain your driving privileges and move forward with your life.
Find A DUI Defense Attorney Near Me
Have you recently been charged with a DUI in Bakersfield, California, and need assistance obtaining an SR22 certificate? Look no further! At Koenig Law Office, we understand the complexities and challenges of DUI offenses and the requirement of obtaining an SR22 filing. Our experienced team of dedicated legal professionals is here to guide you through this process. We will provide you with the support you need during this difficult time. Do not let a DUI charge and the need for an SR22 certificate overwhelm you. Your future is our priority, and we are committed to helping you navigate through this challenging time with confidence. Contact us today at 661-793-7222 for a confidential consultation. Take the first step towards securing your rights and protecting your future.