California “Safety Responsibility” form 22 (SR22) is a form, provided by an auto insurance provider, that verifies and confirms that a driver has met the state requirements for automobile liability insurance. The insurance company will file the SR22 form with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
When to obtain an SR22 in California
The SR22 form is only required for drivers who have had driving incidents resulting in the suspension of their license. Examples of incidents where an SR22 form may be required include:
- Driving suspensions due to safety concerns, such as being involved in an accident while uninsured, speeding, or driving recklessly.
- Unsatisfied judgment suspensions.
- Convictions for a DUI.
- Failure to pay parking tickets.
- A DMV issued suspension or revocation of a license due to the driver being declared a “negligent operator” (often caused by too many points applied to your driving record within a short period of time).
- Other vehicle violations
When a driver is ready to reinstate their driver’s license after a suspension, they must file an SR22. California generally requires SR22 forms for 3-10 years following a conviction, regardless of where it occurred. The duration of the SR22 will depend on the severity of the incident. Failure to maintain an SR22 in California will result in the immediate suspension of a driver’s license.
Types of California SR22 forms
California has three types of SR22 forms:
1. An Operator’s Policy Certificate covers the financial responsibility of a driver who does not own a vehicle, but does drive. Coverage must be maintained on all vehicles driven by the motorist.
2. An Owner’s Policy Certificate covers the financial responsibility for vehicles owned by the driver. The policy must cover all vehicles that are registered in the driver’s name.
3. A Broad Coverage Policy Certificate covers financial responsibility for all vehicles that are owned or not owned by the driver.
SR22 and Restricted License
An SR22 may help you get a restricted driving license. After being sentenced for a DUI, you will likely be placed on probation for 3 to 5 years, and may have your license suspended from 6 months to 4 years. Probation conditions usually require you to successfully complete court-ordered obligations, such as California DUI school. After a period of license suspension, the DMV may choose to issue a restricted license, which would allow you to travel to and from work, school, and classes mandated by your probation. The DMV is most likely to issue a restricted license for a first-time DUI offender if you:
1. Enroll in the California DUI school, remain compliant to the terms and conditions of the school, and maintain required attendance.
2. File a copy of the California SR22 proof of liability insurance.
3. Pay a fee of $15 for the restricted license and a reinstatement fee of $125. (These fees may vary or change from county to county.)
If you are convicted of second, or subsequent offense DUI, the DMV may issue a restricted license if you adhere to the previous conditions and install a California ignition interlock device in your car. You can be ruled ineligible for a restricted license if you refused to submit to a breath analysis or blood alcohol test at the time of arrest.
Obtaining a California SR22
Your insurance company will check DMV records to determine what violations exist and the reasons for needing an SR22. The insurance company will handle the process of creating the SR22 form and submitting it to the DMV. Unfortunately, this will often classify you as a “high risk” driver and will have a profound impact on your insurance premiums. It may also trigger a cancelation of your auto insurance policy due to the violations on your record.
California SR22 costs
The costs associated with the SR22 requirements will vary among auto insurance companies. Driving history, age, areas where you most often drive, and the length of time you’ve been with your current insurance company are factors that come into play. Insurance companies will charge a filing fee ranging from $25 to $50, or more, and it will cost an additional $125 for the DMV to reissue your driving privileges. California law prohibits DUI offenders from earning “good driver” discounts for a period of 10 years after an offense. All of these factors contribute to increased insurance premiums and one of the most expensive, long-term effects of your DUI arrest.
The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Ross Law Center can assist you in your legal defense and the repercussions following a DUI arrest. Ross Law Center specializes in DUI and Criminal Defense Law, serving clients in San Diego, Vista, El Cajon, Oceanside, Chula Vista and other San Diego County communities.
Contact our office today at 858-805-5772 for a FREE DUI consultation.