In most states, the court will order an SR-22 when a driver has committed a serious traffic crime or offense. The driver is usually allowed to apply for DUI/SR-22 insurance when they may otherwise not be allowed to drive. This means you can begin to work toward regaining your driving privileges after license suspension or revocation.
The most common reasons you would need an SR-22 include:
1. A DUI
Driving under the influence is one of the most serious charges you can get and will almost certainly necessitate an SR-22. This is why SR-22-backed insurance policies are commonly referred to as DUI insurance. If you get a DUI or a DWI (driving while intoxicated) on your record, you can expect the court to order you to have SR-22 on record before you get back behind the wheel.
2. Reckless Driving
Reckless driving is another serious charge and involves wanton or dangerous disregard for traffic laws. DUI or SR-22 insurance is commonly required after a reckless driving conviction. Thus, the same high-risk insurance policy can also be applied to reckless driving or negligent driving charges. An SR-22 will help you return to the road so you can demonstrate better driving behavior and start rebuilding your driving record.
3. Driving While Uninsured
It is illegal on both the federal and state levels alike to drive without insurance. While a first offense for driving without insurance is usually a misdemeanor charge, most states treat subsequent offenses more harshly. They can lead to larger fines and even jail time.
The situation escalates if you happen to cause an accident while driving without insurance. Courts will typically enact stricter penalties in this case, particularly if the accident causes significant property damage, injury, or death to a passenger in another vehicle or your own. The reason for this stricter punishment is that not having insurance puts both you and other parties in significant financial peril.
4. Suspended/Revoked License
It’s possible that your license could be suspended or revoked after a serious DUI charge. Restoring your driving privileges means you’ll need to shop for DUI insurance in your state.
There will likely be other requirements you’ll need to meet in order to regain your driver’s license. One common mandate is attending and passing a defensive driving class, which can also help lower your insurance rates. After you’ve passed the test, you will need to have your insurance company fill out an SR-22 form.
If you have gotten a DUI, it’s likely that you’ll need to attend alcohol-related courses. The court can also place other requirements on you in order to progress, but these will vary by state and by the discretion of the judge. You can also expect higher fees to have your paperwork processed in the case of alcohol-related offenses.
5. You Are Driving With a Hardship License
After a DUI, having your vehicle impounded and your license taken away can negatively impact your daily life. After all, you still need to get to work or school, the grocery store, and to your kids’ commitments.
In this case, you may be eligible for a hardship license. Also known as a restricted license, this type of driver’s permit allows you to drive between a specific set of agreed-upon locations even when you are not otherwise allowed to drive.
You won’t be able to apply for this type of permit during the hard suspension period after your conviction, which typically lasts about a month. You cannot drive at all during a hard suspension. However, you are eligible to apply as soon as it’s over.