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DUI/SR22-Related Terms and Definitions

If you’ve gotten a DUI or are looking for low-cost SR-22 insurance, there are likely a number of terms that seem unfamiliar to you. Below is a list of different DUI-related terms and their definitions explained in plain English — because understanding the parts of the process is essential to moving past this difficult period.

DUI and SR-22 terms

The following are some common terms related to SR-22s and DUI insurance:


BAC stands for Blood Alcohol Content, sometimes referred to as Blood Alcohol Concentration. This measures the level of a person’s intoxication from alcohol and is presented as a decimal number.

For instance, A BAC of 0.08 indicates that the person’s blood contains 0.08 g of alcohol per 100 mL of blood.

Different states have different BAC limits. For instance, California has the following limitations:

BAC limit Age Other circumstances
≥0.08% 21+ years
≥0.01% Under 21 years
≥0.01% Any age On DUI probation
≥0.04% Any age Driving a vehicle that requires CDL
When driving a passenger for hire
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Crime Classification

A crime classification is the official way of grouping or categorizing crimes by the level of their severity. The types of crime classifications generally fall into the following categories:

  • Felony
  • Misdemeanor
  • Felony-misdemeanor
  • Infraction

When it comes to DUIs and other serious traffic infractions, the classification often depends on how many times the person has committed the crime in the past, whether it resulted in an accident, and other factors.


In an insurance policy, the deductible is the amount of money the owner/driver is responsible for before the insurance kicks in. For instance, if a driver’s policy has a $5,000 deductible and they get into an accident that did $10,000 of damage, they are responsible for paying the first $5,000 out of pocket.

Defensive Driving Class

This is a class that students take to learn better driving skills, reduce their risk on the road, and learn how to make better decisions, and anticipate different situations ahead of time. In the case of a DUI or other serious traffic offense, it is common for the judge to order the driver to take a defensive driving class before getting back on the road.

Driving Record

Like everyone else on the road, as a driver, you have a public driving record that notes your information and traffic offenses. Also known as a motor vehicle report (MVR), this record contains information like your name, sex, and home address. It will also have your license number, status, classification, and expiration date visible, as well as any previous traffic offenses within the last 3 to 10 years.


A DUI, which is short for “driving under the influence,” is a traffic offense in which a person is either driving or acting in control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Because alcohol affects people differently, each state will designate its own thresholds for impairment — the most common is a BAC of .08. For other drugs, the threshold can be as low as zero.

A DUI is a serious traffic offense and can lead to jail time, hefty fines, and a suspended license.


A DWI stands for “driving while intoxicated” or “driving while impaired.” Some states differentiate between a DUI and a DWI — sometimes one term refers to alcohol, and the other encompasses other substances such as drugs.

Note that a wide range of substances can affect your driving and lead to a DWI charge, including:

  • Cold, allergy, or medications used to relax muscles or nerves
  • Medications that should not be taken with alcohol
  • Diet pills, uppers, or pep pills, which can affect vision and lead to the onset of nervousness, vertigo, and low concentration

Filing Fee

In addition to fines, a person convicted of a traffic offense will often find themselves accountable for filing fees. A filing fee is a cost imposed by the state, court, or DMV for filing certain forms or completing certain processes. For instance, most states charge between a $15 and $25 filing fee for SR-22 forms.

Hard Suspension

After a serious traffic offense like a DUI, the court might impose a “hard suspension” period. This means the driver is not allowed to drive anywhere for any reason within the bounds of the stated period.

First-time DUI suspensions often tend to come with soft suspensions in which the driver is allowed to apply for SR-22 insurance and get back on the road with the proper coverage. Often, the judge may order a hard suspension period followed by a soft suspension.

Hardship License

This type of license is granted in order to grant limited driving privileges to someone whose driver’s license has been suspended or revoked. This type of license allows the person to drive, but with strict limits on where they can go and for what reasons. The most common reason for a hardship license is to allow a driver to commute to and from work.

Ignition Interlock Device

An ignition interlock device prevents a driver from operating a motor vehicle without first passing a breathalyzer test. As suggested by the name, the breathalyzer device is interlocked with the ignition to prevent the driver from being able to start the car without first passing the test. This device has a mouthpiece the driver blows into.

Non-Owner SR-22 Insurance

Non-owners SR-22 insurance lets a driver who doesn’t own a car get back on the road in a limited capacity by using someone else’s car. If you have limited access to a vehicle, you can apply for this type of insurance. It is limited to using a car owned by a non-household member — in other words, a friend or family member who lives elsewhere. The idea is that if the vehicle is too accessible, you might use it too often.

This type of insurance provides the minimum necessary coverage mandated by the state. It protects you from liability claims in whichever vehicle you are driving at the time and also notifies the state about your insurance.


In car insurance policies, your premium is the amount you owe every month or six months to remain covered. The cost of your premiums depends on many factors, including:

  • Where you live
  • Your driving record
  • Where your car is stored
  • The level of coverage you’ve chosen
  • Your risk as a driver

If you are required to carry an SR-22, you’ll find that your higher risk makes your insurance premiums much higher than average. That’s why it’s important to shop for cheap SR-22 insurance near you in order to get the best deal possible.

Probationary Period

While a first offense DUI is punishable by several months in jail in many states, this is rarely the actual outcome. Instead, the most common outcome is that the court sentences the defendant to a probationary period. This period can last several years — most commonly, three years — and will involve mandatory DUI education.

Reckless Driving

Reckless driving is a serious traffic offense in which the driver of a vehicle acts with serious disregard for the safety of other people and property. This can include excessive speeding, aggressive lane changes, ignoring traffic lights or signage, and other related behaviors.


An SR22 is a form indicating you have the minimum required insurance to legally be allowed on the road. Your insurance company files this form, which assures the state that you have coverage and will take financial responsibility for an accident. SR-22 insurance is more expensive than regular insurance, which is why it’s important to shop for a good deal.

SR-22 Insurance

SR-22 insurance is not an actual type of policy but rather is simply the type of high-risk policy you get when an SR-22 is mandated by the court.

Substance Test

When you are pulled over, and the officer has reason to think you may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they are legally able to require you to submit to a substance test. This may be a physical ability test, blood test, urine test, or breathalyzer test. Refusing to take a substance test often results in much stricter penalties in your sentencing.

Vehicular Manslaughter

This crime involves the death of another party resulting from the negligent operation of a vehicle.

Where to Find Cheap SR-22 Insurance

SR-22 Adviser is the place to go when you need tips to score cheap, reliable SR-22 insurance that can help you rebuild your driving record. This means you can get back on the road and start putting this difficult period in the rearview mirror. Visit our website to get a quote from our insurance partner and start the important process of shopping for the best deal available.