There are several potential outcomes during the course of the DUI process that could require a mandatory license suspension. If a person either loses or does not request an administrative hearing, there would be a license suspension for 90 days or possibly a revocation for one (1) to two (2) years depending on the facts of the case. If there is a conviction for DUI, there could be a suspension or revocation from 90 days up to four (4) years, again, depending upon the facts of the case and the individual’s DUI and DUI related history. Even a reduction of the charge to Reckless Drivingwould entail a 30 day suspension. Apart from the inconvenience of a suspension or the inconvenience and expense of obtaining an ignition interlock license (IIL) in order to continue driving during the period of suspension, each of these scenarios have one thing in common.
When an individual’s license is suspended for any one of the above listed reasons (as well as a few other less common reasons) prior to being reinstated, the person must show proof of insurance through what is called an SR-22 filing or SR-22 certificate. This filing must be kept in place with the Washington Department of Licensing for up to three years from the date of eligibility to reinstate. The question most people who are in this situation ask is, “How do I go about satisfying the SR-22 requirement?” A person in this situation has three choices. Request their current insurer to file an SR-22 certificate on their behalf; seek insurance from an outside, independent insurance company, or do nothing (and don’t drive for three years).
Seeking a certificate from the current insurer
This approach has both pros and cons. On the plus side is that if the current insurer does provide SR-22 coverage, it sometimes can be done for very little if any more than the current coverage costs. This, of course, depends on the type of coverage already in place as well as the cost and scope of the current coverage. The down side is that advance notification of the license suspension, and reasons for it, can lead to a premature rise in rates or possible termination of coverage. There are also several providers of preferred coverage who don’t provide SR-22 filings and notification of that kind of insurance company would be for naught.
Acquiring insurance and an SR-22 filing from an independent agency
For people who don’t have current insurance or wish to avoid notifying their current insurer, the second choice is to contact an independent agency in order to find the least expensive coverage available. Some individuals do this in order to try and preserve a preferred policy with the current insurer. Others have a more complex policy with multiple vehicles and drivers and merely wish to separate themselves from that policy. Regardless of the reason, these secondary insurers can provide broad form coverage that will provide liability coverage to the driver on any car he or she drives. Costs of these policies vary. If this option is chosen, a person should always go on line for several free estimates to find the least expensive coverage available.
Don’t drive for three years
If this final option is chosen, and the person decides not to renew for the three year SR-22 requirement period, the risk of deciding to drive without a license must be recognized. If caught, driving on a suspended license constitutes a criminal offense, which, depending on the degree, could mandate jail time and/or resuspension of the license.
If your license has been suspended or you have questions regarding reinstatement or SR-22 requirement, contact the Washington DUI lawyers at Milios Defense. We will review with you your options and help you in your efforts to reinstate your driving privileges.