SR-22 insurance is the state’s way of monitoring whether or not problem drivers maintain proper car insurance. The SR-22 certificate or “Financial Responsibility Form” is issued by your insurance company to the DMV, where it is kept on file. It is essentially a guarantee of coverage, ensuring that you are maintaining California’s required minimum liability coverage. As long as you keep the current auto insurance, your driving privileges are not suspended. However, if your car insurance coverage is dropped, canceled or lapses for any period of time, your car insurance company will notify the DMV right away. Upon receiving this notification, the DMV will immediately suspend your driving privileges by issuing an Order of Suspension.

Our state’s Compulsory Financial Responsibility Laws, Vehicle Code Sections 16000-16078, are in place to protect drivers by ensuring that both drivers and owners of motor vehicles are able to handle any financial responsibility that would arise in the event of a traffic accident. It requires your liability insurance to cover any and all vehicles that you either operate or have registered in your name. Carrying these minimum levels of insurance coverage ensures drivers and owners can pay the costs associated with damage or injury, regardless of fault. Additionally, the laws help to keep uninsured drivers off the streets and highways.

The DMV requires proof of insurance from all drivers. Drivers who have not been arrested or convicted of DUI may provide proof of insurance by showing a copy of either their insurance binder or card, but DUI offenders must file the SR-22 Financial Responsibility Form with the DMV. It is important to note that the SR-22 form is separate from SR-1 form, which is required for drivers who were involved in an accident, or who have been ticketed for driving without proof of insurance. Our experienced DUI attorneys could answer any questions you may have about SR-22 car insurance in Orange County.

Receiving a Restricted License Through SR-22 Car Insurance

If you are suspected of DUI or a convicted DUI-DWI offender, the SR-22 form will enable you to obtain a restricted driver’s license, to restore your suspended driver’s license, or get a vehicle registered at the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). After having your license suspended for a first time DUI, you can get a restricted license 30 days from the effective date of the suspension, if you meet the following requirements:

  • Pay a $125.00 fee to the DMV for the re-issuance  of your driver’s license
  • File your SR-22 form for three years
  • Provide proof of enrollment in an approved alcohol program, either the AB-541 or SB-762 class

Individuals convicted of “Wet Reckless,” rather than a DUI-DWI, will also need to provide a SR-22 form to the DMV. If your license was restricted by either a DUI or a Wet and Reckless conviction, the following applies:

  • You must file an SR-22 proof of insurance form with the DMV for three years, beginning after your four-month suspension has ended
  • You must also maintain the insurance policy that the SR-22 was filed under
  • Once you file your original SR-22, you do not need to renew or re-file it at any time
  • If your car insurance coverage is dropped, canceled or lapses for any period of time, your car insurance company is required to notify the DMV right away
  • Upon receiving this notification, the California DMV will immediately suspend your driving privileges by issuing an Order of Suspension stating that you must file another SR-22 with the DMV or your license will be suspended

When to File for this Insurance

The SR22 is an official California DMV proof of insurance certificate that must be kept on file at the DMV for a specific amount of time. Individuals arrested for driving under the influence are usually required to file an SR-22. No other document may be submitted as a substitute for the SR22 form. Additionally, filing an SR-22 is required in the following situations:

  • When your driving privileges are reinstated following a DUI suspension
  • If you were convicted of a DUI offense and part of your sentencing involved a DUI school, you will be required to show an SR-22 if your four-month suspension is not completed when the DMV receives notice of your conviction
  • After your license has been revoked or suspended
  • After you are involved in a traffic accident as an uninsured motorist
  • After you have failed to provide proper proof of liability insurance to the DMV
  • When you receive too many tickets in a short period of time, or if you commit repeat traffic offenses
  • When you apply for a probationary or hardship permit

It is important to note to the SR-22 is valid only in California, so if you move to another state, you will need to look into the local requirements.

Process of Filing for SR-22

Automobile insurance companies who specialize in high-risk SR-22 insurance coverage can issue SR22 filings to the DMV. Not all car insurance companies offer SR22 coverage in Orange County. The filing provides proof to the state DMV that you have purchased and maintain at least the minimum liability automobile insurance coverage. The insurance provider is required to notify the DMV if your auto insurance ever lapses for any reason.

If you are required to file an SR 22 with the DMV and your DUI auto insurance coverage is cancelled, dropped, or lapses for any period of time, the insurance company will immediately notify the DMV. Upon receipt of such a notice, the California DMV will then request that you file another SR-22 with them by a certain date or they will issue an Order of Suspension on your driver’s license.

As long as you do not cancel your car insurance policy or get dropped by the insurance company during the specific time required to maintain an SR-22, your proof of insurance will remain active and you do not need re-submit an SR-22. You file a SR-26 form stating that you are no longer required to have a valid SR-22 on file with the California DMV.

What is the Minimum Amount of Liability Insurance a Driver Must Have?

California Law requires that each driver carry a minimum, $35,000 of liability insurance. This figure is broken into three types of coverage:

  • $15,000 for injury or death to one person
  • $30,000 for injury or death to more than one person
  • $5,000 for damage to property

It is recommended that you contact the California Department of Insurance before purchasing an auto insurance policy.

Requirement to Provide Evidence of Financial Responsibility

Any time you are stopped for a traffic violation by a police officer. Failure to provide evidence of financial responsibility to a peace officer is grounds to issue a citation. If you are convicted, by law you can be fined $500.00 and may have to pay additional costs of fees associated with your case. The court may also issue an order impounding your vehicle. If you are involved in a traffic accident, you must provide proof of insurance to the other driver.

In California, any time you are involved in a car accident you are required to report it to the DMV if any of the following happened in your accident:

  • Someone was injured, regardless of the severity
  • Anyone was killed
  • The amount of property damage was more than $750.00

Each driver is required to file a report with the DMV within 10 days of the accident. This is required regardless of whether you caused the accident of not, if you were a driver involved in an accident where one of the above occurred you must file this report with the DMV. The fact that the accident happened on private property also does not excuse your requirement notify the DMV.

Contact an Orange County Attorney to Learn More About SR-22 Coverage

When you have been arrested for driving under the influence, you face a wide range of negative consequences, including the necessity of carrying SR-22 coverage. Come to The Law Offices of Scott Henry as early as possible after your arrest for help from an experienced DUI attorney who will fight to defend you against the charges. For more information on SR-22 car insurance in Orange County, call today.

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