In the wake of a criminal offense such as Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), many individuals face unexpected challenges affecting their driving privileges. One often overlooked consequence is the need to obtain SR-22 vehicle liability insurance. This requirement is imposed by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) for specific offenses, ensuring that high-risk drivers meet the state’s minimum liability insurance standards.
Understanding SR-22 Insurance
SR-22 is not your typical car insurance. In fact, it’s not actually a type of insurance. Rather, it’s a form that an insurance company files with the state to certify that an individual has purchased a policy meeting the state’s required minimum amounts of liability coverage. It serves as proof of financial responsibility.
The DPS often mandates it for individuals convicted of certain offenses, like DWI, to ensure that they have the financial responsibility to cover any potential future incidents. Here’s a brief overview of SR-22 in Texas:
Reasons for Needing an SR-22 in Texas:
- Driving Without Insurance: If you’re caught driving without valid insurance in Texas, you might be required to carry an SR-22 certification.
- Driving While Intoxicated: Convictions for DUI or DWI can lead to a requirement for an SR-22 filing.
- Accumulation of Traffic Violations: Repeated traffic offenses within a short timeframe can trigger the SR-22 requirement.
- License Suspension or Revocation: If your license gets suspended or revoked, you might be required to get SR-22 to have your driving privileges reinstated.
- Serious at-fault Accidents: If you’re at fault in a serious accident and don’t have adequate insurance, you might be required to carry SR-22 insurance.Duration:
Duration of SR-22 Insurance
Typically, in Texas, drivers are required to maintain their SR-22 certification for a period of 2 to 3 years, depending on the specific offense. If your policy lapses or gets canceled during this period, your insurer is obligated to notify the state, which can result in further penalties or an extended period for the SR-22 requirement.
Cost of SR-22 Insurance
The filing fee for an SR-22 is generally low. However, the reason you need an SR-22 (e.g., DUI or multiple traffic violations) often means your insurance premiums will be higher than someone with a clean driving record.
Non-Vehicle Owner SR-22
If you don’t own a vehicle but need to file an SR-22 in Texas, you can purchase a non-owner’s SR-22 policy. This provides coverage when you drive vehicles not owned by you or vehicles that are not available for your regular use.
If you find yourself in a situation where you need an SR-22, it’s essential to shop around. While having an SR-22 will likely increase your insurance rates, different insurance providers might offer varying rates for the same coverage.
Obtaining SR-22 Insurance: What You Should Know
You may purchase coverage through any provider you’d like. However, adding SR-22 insurance to your family’s regular car insurance can have a negative effect on your car insurance rates, making an already difficult situation even more financially burdensome.
Getting SR-22 insurance from an insurance provider who specializes in SR-22 interest, or a similar provider separate from your family’s insurance company, will satisfy the requirement set by the Texas Department of Public Safety without having a negative impact on your family’s regular car insurance.
If you don’t have a preference, we recommend Accurate Concept Insurance. You will be able to print the form immediately upon purchasing the policy and a copy will be e-mailed to the Department of Public Safety and your attorney within 10 minutes.
If you believe you need guidance regarding the consequences of a DWI charge, or another charge that could affect your driver’s license, a call to our office will give you a confidential analysis of your situation and what might occur. Our team of attorneys are former state and federal prosecutors with years of experience regarding license eligibility and the consequences of a DWI.
Failing to File or Maintain SR-22 Insurance
If you fail to file or maintain an SR-22 in Texas when required you could face:
License and Registration Suspension
Your driver’s license and vehicle registration can be suspended. To reinstate them, you’ll usually need to provide proof of the required insurance and may have to pay reinstatement fees.
Apart from suspension, failing to maintain an SR-22 when required can lead to additional fines and penalties.
The period during which you are required to have the SR-22 might be extended. For instance, if you had an SR-22 requirement for 2 years and let it lapse after 1 year, the clock might reset, and you could be required to maintain it for another full term.
Letting your SR-22 lapse or failing to file it can result in even higher insurance premiums when you do seek coverage.
Notification to the State
Insurance companies are obligated to notify the state if your SR-22 lapses or gets canceled.
If you’re ever in a situation where you’re required to have an SR-22, it’s essential to maintain it for the entire duration specified by the state to avoid these complications. If you’re unsure of your requirements or the steps you need to take, consulting with a legal expert or insurance professional can provide clarity.
Get Expert Guidance on DWI and Related Consequences
Intoxication crimes and their repercussions, particularly in regards to driving privileges, can be complex. At Varghese Summersett, we are equipped to guide you every step of the way. Our team, which includes Board Certified Criminal Law Specialists and former state and federal prosecutors, has an in-depth understanding of license eligibility and the intricacies of DWI consequences.
If you are facing a DWI charge or any offense that might jeopardize your driver’s license, reach out to us. A free, confidential consultation with our seasoned attorneys will provide clarity on your situation and the potential outcomes you may face. Call 817-203-2220 today.