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Do I Need SR 22 Insurance After a Washington DUI?

Posted on September 21, 2018 in DUI

SR-22 Insurance is often associated with license suspensions and higher premiums. What many people are not aware of are the many circumstances that require this insurance. You may have to obtain this type of coverage if it is discovered that you are uninsured after a fender bender, or if you are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

If you have been charged with a crime that puts your ability to drive in jeopardy, it is important to remember that no case is hopeless. Tacoma DUI lawyer Morgan Fletcher Benfield will listen to your side of the story and help you determine the most effective strategy for fighting the charge or preserving your license.

Call The Law Offices of Morgan Fletcher Benfield, PLLC today at (253) 203-3379 or via our online form to discuss your next steps.

What is SR-22 Insurance?

While SR-22 Insurance qualifies as a level of coverage, it is not necessarily a type of insurance. Instead, it documentation that proves you have the minimum amount of vehicle liability coverage required by your state. In other words, it is a way of proving that you can cover the cost of any damage or injury you may cause while driving.

The minimum liability requirements for Washington state are listed below:

  • $10,000 of damage to property on one occasion
  • $25,000 of injury or death of one individual on one occasion
  • $50,000 of injury or death of two people on one occasion

According to the Department of Licensing (DOL), other options for proving you can pay for the damages you cause include:

  • Depositing $60,000 to the Department of Licensing (DOL)
  • Obtaining a $60,000 liability bond from a surety or bonding company in Washington

While SR-22 insurance costs more, it does not provide additional coverage when compared to regular liability insurance. In the eyes of an insurance company, an SR-22 form indicates that a policy is “high-risk.”

Do I Really Need an SR-22 Form?

If you are discovered to be uninsured after a car accident or if you are convicted of a traffic-related offense, it is very likely that your license will be suspended. To reinstate your driving privileges, you must obtain SR-22 insurance.

According to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), criminal convictions that can lead to license suspension include:

  • Driving under the influence (alcohol or drugs)
  • Negligent driving
  • Reckless driving
  • Vehicular assault or homicide
  • Hit and run
  • Leaving a child unattended in a vehicle that is running
  • Any felony that involves a motorized vehicle
  • Reckless endangerment
  • Eluding police

If you are trying to reinstate your license after a suspension, the insurance provider you choose must submit an SR-22 form with the DMV as soon as possible. Once you have SR-22 insurance, you will need to keep it for three years after your suspension ends. If you cancel your coverage, the car insurance company is legally obligated to report this cancellation to the DMV.

How Much Does It Cost?

In Washington, the fee for actually filing an SR-22 is small, which initially makes the cost of obtaining this coverage seem low. However, if you need to file an SR-22, it is likely that you will first need to purchase a car insurance policy. Once the insurance company finds out that you need to file an SR-22, you will be labeled as high-risk, and this will be reflected in the cost of your policy.

When Can My License Be Reinstated?

If you are convicted of a DUI, it is likely that you will face license suspension; you cannot reinstate your license until after this period has ended. If, for example, you are facing a 60-day suspension, you will only be allowed to obtain an SR-22 car insurance policy after those 60 days are up. It is also likely that you will have to meet other conditions to get your license reinstated, such as completing an educational course and having an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle.

Contact The Law Offices of Morgan Fletcher Benfield

A DUI conviction can affect every aspect of your life. With your license suspended, you may not be able to get to work, important events, and a criminal record can make it difficult to find employment.

Call (253) 203-3379 today to find out how the Tacoma DUI lawyers with The Law Offices of Morgan Fletcher Benfield, PLLC can help you can avoid the difficulties that a conviction will carry.