A DUI charge in Virginia or D.C. can lead to jail time, expensive fines, and a possible revocation of your driving privileges. Even after you have served time and paid thousands of dollars, you may still have to suffer financial consequences in the years to come, especially when it comes to paying for auto insurance.
SR-22 and FR-44 Insurance Requirements for Drunk Driving Offenses in VA and MD
Nearly every state requires drivers to carry some form of car insurance, but people who are convicted of a DUI are under much more strict regulations than other drivers. Depending on the circumstances of their arrests, DUI offenders in Virginia, Maryland, and the District may be court-ordered to provide proof of insurability (known as SR-22) or proof of financial responsibility (known as FR-44).
SR-22 Insurance Coverage
SR-22 stands for Safety Responsibility, and it is a special document that your insurer sends to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to verify that your coverage is valid. SR-22 is not an insurance policy; it is only a document that guarantees that your auto insurance policy is active. The SR-22 certificate is usually required after driving offense convictions of a lesser nature, such as:
- Suspension for serious driving offenses not related to DUI
- Driving an uninsured vehicle under suspension
- No proof of insurance
- Falsifying insurance coverage
- Excessive speeding citations
- Unsatisfied judgments
The court will automatically require this proof of insurance if your driving privileges are taken away because of a DUI charge or reckless driving charge. Drivers who are convicted of driving offenses may have to provide an SR-22 to have their driver’s licenses reinstated. Drivers are usually required to provide SR-22 documentation for up to five years. If you allow your policy to lapse, the SR-22 will be revoked and an SR-26 (no coverage) document will be issued to the DMV. If this occurs, your driving privileges will be revoked.
FR-44 Insurance Coverage
The FR-44 is much more severe than a SR-22 certificate. After an individual is convicted of DUI in Virginia, the DMV requires them to obtain an FR-44, otherwise known as a Financial Responsibility Certificate. The FR44 is a proof issued by the insurer to the DMV that you have valid auto insurance coverage of at least twice the state-required minimum. If you are under an FR-44 order, you must maintain coverage of 50/40/100, or $50,000 worth of bodily injury liability for one person, $40,000 worth of liability coverage for property damage, and $100,000 worth of bodily injury liability for others involved in each accident.
- You may be required to obtain an FR-44 if you have been found guilty of any of the following:
- Failure to follow any laws at the federal or state level
- Failure to follow any local driving ordinances
- Driving after a conviction in which your driver’s license was forfeited
- Driving under the influence of drugs or intoxicants (DUI/DWI)
- Maiming under the influence
Drivers are usually required to hold FR-44 insurance for three years, but those who wish to apply for a restricted driver’s license must carry FR-44 insurance for four years. If the court informs you that you need to file for an FR44, the first thing you need to do is contact your insurance provider and secure adequate coverage. If you modify or revoke your policy at any time, the DMV will automatically be notified by your insurer, and you will face a second suspension of your license, an increase in fines, and an extension of the required FR44 coverage time.
Not only are drivers required to secure proof of insurance, they will typically pay much higher costs for insurance and suffer worse coverage rates than other drivers. Many insurance providers will deny coverage to drivers with DUI convictions—and the ones that supply coverage can charge much higher premiums as a result. However, drivers will only have to face these charges if they are convicted of a DUI, so it is vital to have an experienced traffic attorney examine your case before you plead. Call Tucker, Nong & Associates today for an evaluation of your case, or use our online contact form to have one of our associates get in touch with you.