Car insurance after a DUI /DWI or drunk driving requires sr 22 high risk insurance.

When you are facing a DUI/DWI or Physical Control charge, one of the more minor issues that arises is the specialized insurance certificate you must acquire. 

Once you are eligible to be reinstated or are seeking the Ignition Interlock License, you may need to provide proof of SR22 insurance to the Department of Licensing. This can be confusing or frustrating for some clients who are unfamiliar with how to establish proof of SR22.

What Is The SR22 Insurance Requirement

Well, it’s actually pretty simple. In most cases, you just call your current insurance agent and notify them that you have to provide proof of SR22. Assuming they offer this, your insurance agent or company will file the SR22 Certificate with the Washington State Department of Licensing on your behalf.

The SR22 form is also called a Certificate of Financial Responsibility. It simply means you are carrying the minimum amount of insurance as required by the State of Washington. Your insurance carrier is essentially certifying that you are maintaining this required coverage by filing the SR22 form.

If your insurance does not offer this option, you will need to purchase insurance from another carrier so they can file the proper certificate.

What Will Trigger The SR22 Requirement

There are many reasons that proof of SR22 could be required by the Department of Licensing. For example, here are some examples of “triggering” events that require the certificate:

Driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while impaired (DWI). DWI is not a Washington State crime (we use the DUI statute) but a DWI in another state may cause a suspension and SR22 requirement in Washington.

Physical Control offense

Reckless driving offense

Repeat traffic violations

Uninsured accidents

Refusing a breathalyzer

How Long Do I Have To Keep SR22 Insurance

The typical length of time is 3 years. The start and end date is determined by DOL. Sometimes, people get confused about the dates (and it is confusing!) because they use the date of their DUI resolution as the start date. 

In fact, if your DUI resolves as Negligent Driving, you should not need SR22 based on your criminal case. However, if you lost your DOL suspension hearing, you will need SR22 based on your administrative suspension. So, your “start date” will be based off of the date your administrative determination. 

The department of licensing will tell you how long you have to file the SR 22 insurance certificate after a DUI or physical control conviction.
DUI drunk driving defense attorneys
Witt Law Group defense lawyers

Still confused?

The only way you will know when your SR22 requirement begins and ends is by checking with DOL. We specifically tell our clients to trust no other guidance or information. DOL is the master of suspensions and SR22 timelines.

DOL can do some pretty wacky things and, on occasion, some information is not transferred in a timely from the court to the DOL. Your DOL administrative suspension may have already begun but the triggering event from your criminal case is still “hanging out there.” In that case, you may want your defense attorney to contact the court and double check if they sent the proper documents. Don’t leave loose ends.

Why Not Ignore It If The Court Failed To Send Notice To DOL

This can be tempting. However, if you are suspended through the administrative DOL hearing and a triggering event on your criminal case (i.e. DUI plea or conviction), you will want those suspension to run concurrently. 

Do not wait for the DUI suspension to catch up to you a year later and all of the bells and whistles that come with a suspension start again. Will DOL give credit for the previous period of suspension as well as the 3 year period SR22? That is supposed to happen but, when you delay resolving paperwork issues, you increase the odds that DOL will do whatever DOL decides to do. This is typically not in your favor.

DUI DWI Drunk Driving charges require special SR22 insurance after a conviction. Department of licensing controls how long you must file this special proof of insurance. Make sure the proper documents come from court to the DOL so you know when you must file the SR22.

How Do I Check When My Requirement Begins And Ends

If you have a Washington Driver’s License, you can set up a License eXpress account and it will provide all requirements to reinstate or maintain your driving privilege. 

If you do not have a Washington license, you will have to contact DOL by phone and gather that information. 

In addition to the SR-22 insurance certificate, most DUI cases involve some kind of license suspension. If your suspension has not yet started and you are driving, be sure to check your license status every day. If you are caught driving on a suspended license, you will face another criminal charge!

If you are facing a DUI / DWI case in Washington State and need an award winning defense team to guide you through this stressful period, reach out to us today. We are here 7 days a week and answer calls after hours. 360-792-1000

Ryan and Jen Witt of Witt Law Group, Kitsap County defense and personal injury lawyers

Get help now

Whether you choose to handle your case alone or engage the Witt Law Group, being informed and prepared is essential. Early involvement of an attorney can significantly impact your chances of a fair recovery, allowing you to focus on healing while we handle negotiations with insurance adjusters to secure fair compensation for your injuries.

Share this post