The criminal penalties after a DUI in California are bad enough but there are a number of financial costs that follow. In addition to the possibility of jail time, fines, DUI school, and community service, there are continuing DUI penalties. In order to get your driver's license back, you have to get a special filing with an auto insurance provider known as an SR-22 filing.
What is Evidence of Financial Responsibility in California?
All drivers in California need to have insurance, also known as “financial responsibility.” If the police make a traffic stop, they may ask for proof of insurance, which could be an insurance card or DMV authorization letter you are self-insured. However, if you do something that the state considers to put you at a higher risk of not having insurance, they may require special evidence.
An SR-22 is a form the insurance company files with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) after you purchase the necessary additional coverage. If your policy lapses or the insurance company declines to cover you, they will notify the DMV and your license may be suspended unless you get new SR-22 coverage.
Who Needs an SR-22 Filing?
The most common reason a driver needs an SR22 filing is because of a drunk driving arrest. A DUI conviction will trigger a suspended license. An Administrative Per Se Loss (APS) DMV hearing loss will also trigger a suspended license. In order for you to get your license reinstated or get a restricted ignition interlock device (IID) restricted license, or other restricted license, you will need to obtain insurance that covers the SR-22 filing requirement.
Drivers who were involved in an accident without insurance may also be required to get an SR22. Other drivers who may need an SR-22 include violations for:
- Underage DUI
- Reckless driving
- Not reporting an accident
The California Insurance Proof Certificate (SR-22), will generally include the name, address, and policy number of the driver. The form will also include the name and address of the insurance company and the type of policy involved.
How Long Do I Need an SR 22?
After a DUI, most drivers will need to maintain SR-22 status for three years. However, even after you no longer need SR22 evidence, your insurance policy may still be at a higher premium than before the DUI. A DUI generally stays on your driving record for a period of 10 years.
How Much Does SR 22 Filing Cost?
The cost of an SR-22 depends on a number of factors, including:
- Driving record
- Driver's age
- Address or zip code
- Number of vehicles
- Type of vehicle
- Insurance coverage
- Annual mileage
For most drivers, the cost of insurance will increase anywhere from $250 to $1,000 per year. In addition, some insurance companies may charge filing fees associated with reporting to the DMV.
Where Can I Get an SR 22?
Drivers need to get SR-22 coverage from their insurance company, which must be licensed by the California Department of Insurance. The policy generally will apply to all vehicles registered to the insurance. If the driver uses a shared vehicle, they may get a non-owners SR22 policy. If your insurance company will not provide coverage, you may be able to get help through checking with the state insurance regulator.
What Are the Penalties for Driving Without an SR 22?
There are no criminal penalties for failing to get an SR 22 California Proof of Insurance Certificate. Without insurance and proof of insurance, you won't be able to drive after a DUI. However, there are criminal penalties for driving without insurance or driving without a valid license.
Under California Vehicle Code 14601, driving on a suspended license has different penalties depending on the situation and why the license was suspended in the first place. This includes a suspension for:
- Reckless driving
- Habitual traffic offender
- Chemical test refusal
- Accident causing bodily injury
- Any other reason
Driving on a suspended license after a DUI is a misdemeanor and could be punished by up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
Reinstated License with an SR22
An SR22 filing is part of the process required to get your driver's license reinstated after a DUI. License reinstatement generally requires some or all of the following:
- Waiting out the suspension period;
- Pay any court-ordered fines;
- Provide proof of financial responsibility;
- Complete DUI school;
- Have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed, if required; and,
- Pay the driver license reissue fee to the DMV
Can I Avoid an SR-22 Filing?
Unfortunately, an SR22 generally comes along with a DUI conviction. You can avoid an SR22 if you no longer plan to drive. However, many people who live in the East Bay need a car to get around, to go shopping, take their kids to school, or go to work every day. It may be too difficult or take too long to have to rely on public transportation and using Uber or Lyft to get around can be unreliable and expensive.
The best way to avoid an SR-22 filing is to avoid a conviction in the first place. Until you have pleaded guilty or been convicted in court, you may still have time to challenge the criminal charges. If you were already convicted, remember the importance of a strong defense if you ever end up under arrest again.
Contra Costa County DUI Attorney Representation
If you are arrested anywhere in Contra Costa or Alameda counties, Lynn Gorelick is familiar with the DUI laws and DMV regulations. With over 37 years of DUI experience, Lynn Gorelick understands how a DUI will affect your driver's license and ability to get around. Contact our office today for help with your DUI.