Getting charged with DUI in California will be an expensive business. As well as a fine of up to $1,000 for the first offence and the cost of getting around while you’re suspended a major additional cost is the increased insurance premiums you’ll have to pay while the DUI remains on your record. California law also requires an SR22 certificate once you start driving again. You may also be ordered to carry SR22 insurance if you’ve been convicted of driving without insurance or reckless driving.
What is an SR22?
An SR22, also known as a “Certificate of financial responsibility,” is an official confirmation from your auto insurance provider that you have insurance that meets the legal minimum requirements. When you start the policy your insurer will file the SR22 with the DMV, proving to them that you’re properly covered to drive.
Usually you need to have SR22 in California for a period of three years after a four month suspension would have ended, but individual cases can vary. For example if this isn’t your first DUI or there were other factors involved, like driving without insurance or on a suspended license, you could be ordered to maintain it for a longer period. It’s very important that you keep up the SR22 insurance for the whole required period and don’t let it lapse; if it lapses your insurer has to inform the DMV, and that’s likely to lead to your license being suspended again and the three-year period starting over. It will also cost you even more money.
What to do after get a DUI in California?
After a DUI you might have to take out a new policy, as suspended drivers are often dropped by their existing insurer. If this happens to you the best solution is probably to find a specialist in SR22 California insurance; there are many of these and you can easily find them online. They can help to find you a policy that keeps premium increases to a minimum. Even so it’s best to speak to three or four of these specialists to make sure you’re getting the best possible deal. Another thing to be aware of is that many insurers charge a fee to issue an SR22; this can be up to $25.
After you find the right Policy
Once you’ve found a policy that suits you and your cover has been approved the insurer should be able to issue the SR22 instantly. A good insurance provider will be able to file it electronically with the DMV, so all you have to do is arrange the policy and confirm with the insurer that you need an SR22 filed. Common advice from attorneys who specialize in DUI cases is to file an SR22 before your court case if possible. This shows a responsible attitude and can help reduce your fine or suspension.
Once your SR22 has been filed with the DMV it’s essential you keep up your premium payments. If you can afford to pay the annual premium up front you can often pay a lot less over the year than by paying in monthly or quarterly installments; you also reduce the chance of missing a payment and having your cover suspended. If your cover does lapse your insurer will submit an SR26 to the DMV to notify them that you are no longer insured, and this is likely to lead to more penalties. You’ll also have to arrange another SR22, and probably pay another fee
The process for getting back on the road after a DUI can be costly, but it’s not very complicated. As long as you find a reputable insurer and inform them that you need SR22 insurance they will be able to arrange it for you. Maintain the cover for the required period and you’ll eventually be able to put the DUI behind you.