SR22 insurance is a certificate filed to the Department of Motor Vehicle as prove that you meet the state’s auto insurance coverage. If you are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or for other offenses involving road use, you are likely to lose your driving privileges. However, you can obtain a restricted driver's license or reinstate your license by producing SR22 insurance. If you or your loved one wants to purchase SR22 insurance, it will be wise to hire a DUI attorney to guide you. We invite you to contact us at Orange County DUI Defense Lawyer from any location within Orange County, for guidance.

Overview of SR22 Insurance

An SR22 form is an insurance certificate that is filed with the California Department of Motor Vehicle by your insurance company. This certificate aims to confirm that you have adhered to states the minimum requirement of auto insurance coverage. If you get convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or any other offense involving a motor vehicle, you may lose your driver's license.

The decision to revoke or suspend your driver's license will depend on the severity of the offense that got you convicted. After an arrest, you are expected to request a DMV hearing to defend the suspension of your license. If you are convicted of a DUI in court, you fail to request a DMV hearing, or you lose the hearing your license suspension will push through. You will require to provide proof of insurance through SR22 insurance so your driving privileges can be reinstated.

Also, if you want to continue driving with an ignition interlock device after the suspension, an SR22 is a necessity. The following are some everyday situations where the California Department of Motor vehicle will require you to file an SR22:

  • Reinstating your license after a wet reckless suspension. You commit wet reckless by driving carelessly while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. When your driver's license is suspended or revoked for any of these offenses, you will require SR22 insurance to reinstate these privileges
  • Involvement in an accident while driving without auto insurance coverage. It is illegal to drive in California without evidence of financial responsibility. Also, you are expected to carry this prove in your car every time you drive. In addition to the monetary penalties you face for this offense, the DMV may suspend your driver's license. To get back your license after this, you will require the SR22 insurance proof.
  • Getting your driving privileges back after your license suspension for being a negligent operator. Every time you get involved in an accident, you commit a moving violation, or by other criminal driving offense, you will receive points on your record. An accumulation of these points will cause you to be declared a negligent operator.

Non-owner SR22 Insurance in California

If the Department of Motor Vehicle requires you to have and retain an SR22, the policy must cover all vehicles which are registered in your name and the ones you frequently drive. For individuals who are not intending to drive after the conviction, you do not require to obtain an SR22. If you want to drive but don't own a vehicle, you can apply for a non-owner SR22 liability policy to cover you anytime you drive another person's car.

In California, there are three types of vehicle financial responsibility a road coverage policy certificate, owner's policy certificate, and the non-owners SR22 policy. When you obtain the non-owner SR22 insurance policy, liability is tied to you as a driver and not to a specific vehicle. However, this policy is not available for you if you have a particular car that you frequently drive. Insurers assume that you drive less regularly while on a non-owner SR22 of California. As a result, this policy is cheaper than the owner's policy and is an easy way to reduce your insurance costs if you don't drive regularly.

Obtaining the SR22 Insurance in California

To get an SR22 insurance policy, you need first to contact your vehicle insurance company. These are the individuals who mail a copy of the document to the DMV Informing your insurance company of your need for an SR22 will raise questions. The insurance company will access your DMV records to find out why you need this form. Depending on the reason for your license suspension or revocation, they will decide whether to cancel your insurance policy or offer you the SR22. If they choose to grant the SR22, a form will electronically be filed to the Department of Motor Vehicle.

However, on offering you this insurance, your policy rates are likely to increase. Most insurance companies do not offer SR22. If your company cannot provide this form, they will cancel your policy, and you have to seek the SR22 elsewhere. This will cause you to be viewed as a high-risk driver, and your premiums will be higher. If you are unable to obtain insurance on your own, you will be matched with a company that can provide coverage for you.

There are several factors that vehicle insurance companies will consider before deciding whether to offer an SR22 and to raise your rates or to cancel your policy. Most companies consider your DUI status, driving history, criminal record, and age driving experience as well as your residence. If you are hoping to get an SR22 after license revocation or suspension, it is essential to have legal representation from a DUI defense attorney.

It takes up to 30 days to receive your SR22 insurance will be done after you pay or the certificate. Until the process is completed, you will not be able to get your driving privileges, and your driver's license will remain suspended or revoked. Upon receiving the document, your insurance company will notify the DMV that you meet the California state requirements. This document should always stay in your vehicle every time you operate a car.

Should the insurance ever lapse or get canceled, the insurance provider should inform the DMV that you are no longer covered as per the law. This will cause a suspension of your license for failure to comply with the SR22 requirements. Sometimes the insurance company will choose to deny you an SR22 renewal due to a poor driving record or for being a negligent operator. It is wise always to renew the insurance at least two weeks before the expiration date. This will prevent a suspension for failure to comply with SR22 insurance requirements,

Finding a Licensed SR22 Insurance Provider

Other than your current insurance provider, there are other options when it comes to acquiring SR22 insurance:

  • Alternative providers. It is possible to obtain SR22 insurance from a company that is not currently providing your coverage. However, before you go to an affordable insurer, you need first to contact your current insurance provider and inform them of your decision. In most cases, the Department of Motor Vehicle will provide you with a list of all the places you can obtain the SR22 and remain compliant to the law.
  • Legally licensed. To be fully compliant with the SR22 insurance requirement, the company that issues you the certificate must be licensed. Not all insurance companies are authorized to issue the SR22. It is crucial to make sure the company from which you obtain the document is legal. Also, you need to report this to the DMV, so you are sure your SR22 insurance is legitimate.
  • Cancelation of the previous coverage. When you find an alternative SR22 insurance provider, your previous insurance company may decide to cancel your policy primarily if they don't provide the SR22.
  • Full disclosure. When a license suspension or revocation requires you to have SR22 insurance, you need to notify your current insurance provider. It is considered illegal to obtain multiple insurance policies without knowledge of the insurance companies. This ensures that both the process and the SR22 document are compliant to the law.

If the steps of obtaining the SR22 are not correctly followed, your license will remain suspended or revoked. Also, the failure to follow the right procedures may bring severe legal repercussions, such as additional fees or even imprisonment. It is essential to contact an attorney to walk you through the process of acquiring a legal and affordable SR22. However, you need to understand that it is your responsibility to keep your SR22 insurance active.

How Does SR22 Affect Restricted Driver's License

A conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol will automatically put you on probation. DUI probation comes with specific orders that you need to fulfill, such as attending California DUI School. Also, you will face a license suspension or revocation ranging from six months to four years. Most people will require to drive for the smooth running of daily activities. When your driving privileges are suspended, you can apply for a restricted driver's license, which will allow you to drive while on a suspended license. The following are the two types of restricted driver's license offered by the California Department of Motor Vehicle:

Regular Restricted Driver’s License

After your license suspension, you can apply to get a limited license. The regular restricted driver's license will allow you to drive to school, work, for doctors' appointments, and DUI programs. For a first DUI offense, the DMV will issue you with a restricted license if

  • Enroll in a compulsory DUI school
  • Pay restitution and reissue fee of $15 and $125 respectively
  • Provide proof of California SR22 insurance

For a second DUI suspension, you will be required to install an ignition interlock device in addition to other rules. When you fulfill all the requirements, the DMV will issue you with a restricted license for the period your consent will be suspended. If you are sure that you will be found guilty of the DUI offense, consider asking your insurance providers to start processing your SR22 form. This will help you receive your driving privileges faster. However, before doing this, it is vital to have legal guidance from a competent DUI attorney for proper strategizing.

If you failed to submit to a chemical test after an arrest for DUI, you would not be eligible for a restricted driver's license. In this case, you will not require an SR22 form.

Ignition Interlock Device Restricted License

An ignition interlock device is a Breathalyzer installed on the dashboard of your vehicle. You are required to breathe into this device and register the alcohol percentage before your car starts. This helps monitor individuals who are allowed to drive after a license suspension for DUI. Installation of the Ignition interlock device may permit you to drive to any location during the period when your driver's license is suspended. If you want to enjoy this privilege, it is necessary to file SR22 insurance.

Moving Out of State SR22 Insurance Requirements.

When you obtain SR22 insurance in California, the status is only valid there. Some states do not require you to get an SR22. However, if you move to an SR22 state, you will be expected to obtain the document in the new country. Also, you need to find a new insurance provider to issue that information. When you get an insurance policy from your new state, your new insurers will send the information to the Department of Motor Vehicle in California for verification and release of your SR22 in the new state.

On the other hand, if you move to a state that does not require an SR22, you will be required to obtain a new policy. The limits of this new policy should be at least equal to those of your SR22 coverage in California. Before you cancel one policy, it is crucial to have another one in place. This will prevent a driver's license suspension that comes with a lapse.

Costs of Acquiring an SR22 Insurance

The price you pay for acquiring an SR22 will vary from one insurance company to another. In California, you should be prepared to part with roughly between $300 to $800 depending on your driving history and your age. Also, you are likely to acquire a high-risk driver status, which increases your insurance premiums. The cost of obtaining the SR22 insurance will be higher than what you were paying as auto insurance premiums. This is due to the driving violations which caused you to need SR22 insurance.

Although California law does not allow car insurers to cancel your policy or increase your rates, they may be able to do so when you renew your insurance coverage. However, you will not be able to get a good driver discount for ten years from the day you were convicted of DUI violations.

Whether your current insurer will provide an SR22 for you or not, you can make sure that you are getting the cheapest deal. This is by going through the quotations for all legitimate companies. Some companies will charge you a $25 fee to file for the SR22 and $125 as a reissue fee to the DMV before they reinstate your license.

When an insurer raises your insurance premiums for being a high-risk driver, they may maintain the raise for a period of three to seven years. If you keep a good driving record for the first three years, your premium rates will begin to decrease in the subsequent years. In some cases, the insurer may choose to terminate your insurance coverage. If your insurer fails to offer the SR22 and cancels your policy, the DMV will direct you to an authorized insurer who can provide you with the SR22.

If you want to avoid paying for SR22 insurance, you can post a $35,000 security bond or cash deposit with the Department of Motor Vehicle. This will act as proof of your facial responsibility. However, such an alternative is more expensive since it requires you to pay a considerable amount upfront.

Duration of SR22 Insurance Status in California

Following a DUI related license suspension, you are required to obtain and retain SR22 status for at least three years. However, you do not need to file for SR22 for each of the three years. As long as you have not canceled your policy with the SR22 insurance provider, the initial filing is enough. Also, the SR22 will remain on your DMV file until it is no longer necessary or until your insurance company terminates your coverage.

However, if your insurer decides to terminate your coverage, they need to inform you and report to the DMV. To avoid a new suspension of your license, you should find another insurer to provide you with the SR22 as soon as you are terminated. Failure to timely pay your SR22 fees can cause a new license suspension since your insurer will inform the DMV of your lack of compliance

SR-26 Form with SR22 Insurance

SR22 insurance is a form filled by your auto Insurance Company when your SR22 insurance policy is no longer mandatory. Also, they will file this form after terminating your insurance coverage. When your driver's license gets suspended for a DUI violation, it is compulsory to file an SR22 so your license can be reinstated. When the probationary period ends, an SR26 should be submitted to ensure you return to your regular driver's license status.

An SR26 form will notify the local Department of Motor Vehicle that you no longer need an SR22 certificate. The main reason for filing this form is the completion of the seven years of holding an SR22. The SR26 informs the government that you have paid your dues, which is good news. Your driving record will improve, and your insurance premiums may be lowered. Also, this form may be filed when you move out of state, and you won't be tied to the SR22 in California.

An SR26 can be bad news when it is filed before your probationary period ends. This means that your insurer is terminating your coverage. In this case, you will have to find a new insurance provider so you can complete your probation. Failure to do this, you will face the harsh consequences of non-compliance.

Penalties for Failing to Obtain or Maintain SR22 Insurance

California law expects every driver to have insurance coverage and carry it in the car when driving. After a conviction for a vehicle-related offense, you need to obtain the SR22 failure to which you will face the following consequences. 

  1. Driver's license suspension or revocation - In California, you are required to obtain and maintain SR22 insurance status for three years. As long as you retain this status during the three years, your suspension is inactive, and you can drive to an IDD or restricted license. However, failure to obtain this coverage, your license will get suspended or revoked from the original date of the hearing. In this case, your driving privileges will be withheld until you provide proof of SR22 insurance.
  2. Ineligibility for reinstatement of your driver's license - In California, you are expected to have an SR22 for your license to get reinstated. If you fail to obtain the SR22, you will not be eligible to reinstate your driving privileges.
  3. Increased duration of an SR22 requirement - You need to maintain your SR22 status continually for three years in California. A lapse in this time you increase the time you are required to be covered by this insurance.

Obtain an SR22 Insurance with Help from a DUI Defense Lawyer near Me

Most people require the freedom to operate their vehicles so they can go through their normal daily activities. However, there are circumstances under which you lose these privileges through a suspension or revocation of your California driver's license. To drive on an ignition interlock device or reinstate your license after a suspension, you will be required to show proof of insurance through an SR22 form. To navigate the process of acquiring this document, you will need the help of an attorney from Orange County DUI Defense lawyer. Contact our Orange County CA, offices at 714-820-9592 today.