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SR-22 Insurance Guide

From Our Tacoma DUI Attorneys

Most drivers have never heard of an SR-22, a specific type of addendum on a driver’s license. SR-22s are also sometimes referred to as Financial Responsibility Insurance Certificates. If a judge recently ordered you to carry an SR-22 filing, you’ll need to know the ramifications, what’s expected of you and how to go about meeting the requirements. While dealing with legal issues and driving restrictions may seem like a massive hurdle at first, keep in mind that it doesn’t last forever. By adhering to the judge’s stipulations and paying your dues, so to speak, your SR-22 won’t have a lasting impact.

Our team at Daryl Graves Law, PLLC handles DUIs and other types of criminal cases that often deal with SR-22 orders. In this guide, we answer some of the most important questions about SR-22 filings and provide helpful info that you need to know. For questions specific to your case, call the office at (253) 217-4849 and schedule a consultation.

What is an SR-22?

An SR-22 is not a type of insurance. Rather, it’s a certificate issued by an insurer, which essentially says that you have met your state’s financial responsibility requirements, as per the judge’s orders. With the certificate, the insurer is vouching for you and will tell the state you have the required coverage. Not all drivers are required to carry an SR-22; they are only required for those who’ve received a court order that mandates it.

In many cases, drivers who were involved in an accident or who were involved in a traffic offense and were unable to show proof of insurance or another form of financial responsibility will be required to carry an SR-22. Below are some of the most common reasons a driver is mandated to get one.

  • Getting a DUI
  • Driving recklessly
  • Forfeiting bail
  • Convictions for certain offenses
  • Causing an accident
  • Driving without insurance
  • Failing to pay judgments
  • Having your driver’s license suspended (When your license is suspended for whatever cause, getting an SR-22 certificate is the only way to reinstate your driving privileges. Having the certificate proves to the state that you have the coverage necessary to pay for any damages you may cause, in light of your driving record.)

Types of SR-22 Forms

There are three types of SR-22s. You’ll want to ensure you obtain the proper kind or you’ll be in violation of court orders, which will mean having your driver’s license suspended again. Below are the three types of financial responsibility insurance certificates in Washington.

  • Operator’s Certificate – This certificate proves financial responsibility when you’re driving somebody else’s car.
  • Owner’s Certificate – If you own a vehicle, this certificate will cover your car. All of your vehicles either must be listed on the SR-22, or the form must state that it’s been issued for “all owned vehicles” in order to be compliant.
  • Operators-Owners Certificate – This type of SR-22 is the most common kind. It covers you for all vehicles, both for owned and non-owned.

Alternatives to Getting SR-22

Most people who’ve been ordered to show proof of financial responsibility do so by obtaining an SR-22. There are, however, a few alternatives. One option is to obtain a certificate of deposit (CD), issued by the WA State Treasurer, in the amount of at least $60,000. You also can obtain a liability bond from a surety or bonding company for at least $60,000.

A third option is simply to avoid driving for three years. Of course, this is highly impractical for most people. Also, don’t make the mistake of sidestepping the requirement and just driving without a license or without the required insurance and SR-22 certificate. If you’re caught, it will be considered a criminal offense, with possible jail time, fines and other penalties. It’s not worth the risk.

Reinstating Driving Privileges

The process and requirements for reinstating your driving privileges depend upon the details of your case. “Three years is also how long it takes, generally, to clear your driving record. So any violations that triggered your needing an SR-22 have cleared from your record, too. In the meantime, keep your head up, know we’ve all been there, and remember that, in time, this will become ‘that one time when…’” encourages Progressive Insurance blogger Brittany Yingling.

When you take advantage of our free consultation, we can review your legal options and determine how we can best help you reinstate your driving privileges. Contact us today at (253) 217-4849 to speak with an attorney that’s well versed with SR-22 forms.

Why Hire Our Firm?

  • Over 40 Years of
    Legal Experience

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    & Washington

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Daryl L. Graves

“I feel blessed to have hired the Law Offices of Daryl L. Graves to represent me. From day one, Daryl informed me of my options and was always honest and upfront. Daryl and his staff always returned my calls and answered every question. Daryl's 30+ years of experience was worth every penny. I will refer everyone in need of a DUI/criminal defense and injury attorney to Mr. Graves”

- C.F., Fircrest, WA
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