The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires certain drivers to obtain high-risk automobile insurance policies that involve documents known as SR-22s. Texas refers to an SR-22 as a Financial Responsibility Insurance Certificate, and the SR abbreviation stands for “safety responsibility.”
Drivers in Texas can be required to obtain SR-22s for a variety of reasons, including having their licenses suspended or revoked, having unsatisfied judgments, or being convicted for driving without valid insurance. One of the most common reasons for an SR-22 to be required is a conviction for driving while intoxicated (DWI).
Are you being asked to obtain an SR-22 because of a DWI arrest or other reason in the Dallas area? You will want to seek legal representation for assistance obtaining this document.
The Law Offices of RJ Harber has been handling drunk driving cases for over 10 years. Call (214) 389-1189 or fill out an online contact form to have our attorney review your case and help you understand all of your legal options during a free consultation.
Types of SR-22s in Texas
People who are convicted of DWI in Texas will be required to file an SR-22 with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). The SR-22 merely states that a driver has the necessary insurance to satisfy state minimum requirements. The insurance company must notify DPS whenever this coverage lapses or the policy is canceled or otherwise terminated.
In other words, an SR-22 simply proves that a driver has the necessary insurance policy to cover all the costs of damages arising from any car accident. Many occupational licenses issued in DWI cases are dependent upon valid SR-22s.
Drivers who obtain SR-22 forms must keep this form on them at all times. The SR-22 itself is separate from the automobile insurance policy, so this form is the only valid proof that the driver is properly covered. It can take as long as 30 days to obtain the initial SR-22 forms in some cases.
Texas essentially has three different kinds of SR-22s:
- SR-22 Operator’s Certificate — This SR-22 covers drivers operating vehicles they do not own but have permission to operate.
- SR-22 Owner’s Certificate — This SR-22 covers drivers operating vehicles they own.
- SR-22 Owner-Operator’s Certificate — This SR-22 covers drivers operating both their own vehicles or vehicles they do not own but have permission to operate.
An SR-22 will also be required when a person is seeking an occupational driver’s license while their license is suspended. Maintaining valid SR-22 coverage is extremely important for such individuals because if their coverage lapses for any reason, the occupational license will no longer be valid.
This is an important consideration for many people to keep in mind, because too many people assume that they do not need to worry about additional penalties after obtaining an SR-22 form and an occupational license. Failure to maintain the policy can lead to a number of complications.
Failure to Maintain SR-22 Insurance Penalties
DPS requires drivers convicted of DWI to maintain evidence of financial responsibility, which often comes in the form of an SR-22. When a person does not submit proof of an SR-22, it can result in suspension of driving privileges and prohibit them from registering a vehicle.
A person who drives without a valid SR-22 could also face other criminal penalties. If their license is suspended, driving on a suspended license is a misdemeanor offense often punishable as a Class C misdemeanor with a fine of up to $500. Subsequent convictions become Class B misdemeanors in which fines can increase to $2,000 and alleged offenders can be sentenced to as many as 180 days in jail.
Operating without an SR-22 can also be considered driving without valid insurance. A conviction for this offense is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.
Remember that the purpose of an SR-22 is to prove that a driver is maintaining an automobile insurance policy that satisfies the state minimum insurance requirements. In Texas, licensed drivers are required to maintain policies that provide at least $30,000 in coverage for death or bodily injury to one individual, $60,000 for death or bodily injury to more than one person in one accident, and $25,000 in property damage coverage.
SR-22 requirements can be enormously complicated. Some people who plead no contest and receive no other punishments may still be required to maintain SR-22 policies.
Contact Us Today
Motor vehicle insurance requirements such as SR-22s can be very costly. In some situations, the costs of an SR-22 can be impossible to satisfy even though the need for a driver’s license is usually quite urgent. Many people pursue SR-22s from their existing insurance companies, which typically charge increased rates for these high-risk policies.
The Law Offices of RJ Harber understands the financial stress and strain that people face after being arrested for DWI, and we work to help individuals find solutions to money problems stemming from various court costs. Our firm can take an active role in creating a solution that allows you to get the SR-22 you need.
Actively maintaining the SR-22 is equally as important as obtaining one, and an attorney can also help you if you experience any difficulty in making the payments necessary to keep the SR-22 in effect. The help is available for you in all SR-22 matters relating to your DWI case, and you only need to ask for it.
If you need help obtaining an SR-22 after a DWI arrest in Texas, do not hesitate to retain legal counsel. An experienced attorney will fight to help you achieve the most favorable possible resolution to your case.
The Law Offices of RJ Harber represents clients in communities all over the greater Dallas area. You can have our attorney provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call (214) 389-1189 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.