According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, certain drivers need documents related to high-risk auto insurance policies, including the SR-22.
Also known as a Financial Responsibility Insurance Certificate, the SR-22 lets authorities know that a driver maintains a motor vehicle's liability insurance according to state minimum requirements.
A person may be required to obtain an SR-22 for multiple reasons, including driving under the influence (DUI) or while intoxicated (DWI), but how long after conviction should they have the document? Here's what Texas laws say:
What Is the SR-22 and Who Issues the Document?
The SR-22 is a document required by the Safety Responsibility Act (Texas Transportation Code Chapter 601) that allows the state to verify that a driver maintains a car or other motor vehicle's liability insurance.
In simple terms, it shows that the driver can be responsible for damages in an accident caused by their motor vehicles.
The document is issued by insurance providers. Furthermore, the driver can choose a company of their preferences as long as it provides coverage across Texas. However, it should be noted that not all insurers offer SR-22.
Minimum Liability Amounts
As mentioned, the insurance company files the SR-22 to show that a driver has continuous auto insurance coverage under the Safety Responsibility Act standards. Therefore, minimum liability amounts are required.
According to the Texas Department of Insurance's requirements, these are:
$30,000 coverage for bodily injury or death of one person in a car accident
$60,000 coverage for bodily injury or death of two or more people in a car accident
$25,000 coverage for damage to or destruction of another person's property in a car accident
Types of SR-22 in Texas
In Texas, there are three different types of SR-22s, including:
SR-22 operator's certificate for drivers who operate vehicles they do not own with permits from the owners
SR-22 owner's certificate for drivers who operate their own vehicles
SR-22 owner-operator certificate for drivers who own vehicles and have permits to operate vehicles they do not own
Why Does a Driver Need an SR-22?
The Safety Responsibility Act states that any driver whose driving privilege has been suspended for committing certain violations must file an SR-22 with the Department of Public Safety.
Individuals who place a security deposit with the Department of Public Safety as part of their compliance for an accident and drivers seeking an occupational driver's license because their license is suspended would also need an SR-22.
What Types of Convictions Require an SR-22?
Drivers must file an SR-22 for various types of convictions, including DUI, DWI, driving with an invalid license, and drug-related offenses.
Individuals who receive multiple convictions for not having motor vehicle liability insurance may also need to file an SR-22.
How Long After a DUI/DWI Does a Driver Need an SR-22?
A driver required to file an SR-22 must maintain valid documentation for at least two years from the date of the most recent conviction.
If there is a ruling against a driver for a car accident, they must maintain coverage for two years from the court's decision.
In some cases, drivers file their SR-22s late. If this occurs, the document must be kept after two years from the first stipulated date and not from the time it was delivered to the Department of Public Safety.
However, the department may extend the requirement's duration if there are reports of a new conviction.
A driver who does not maintain a valid SR-22 during that period without a lapse in coverage may have to deal with additional enforcement actions or reinstatement fees.
What Happens If a Driver Fails to Maintain SR-22 Insurance?
If a driver convicted of DUI/DWI fails to maintain evidence of financial responsibility or to submit proof of an SR-22, their driving privileges may be suspended.
Someone who drives a motor vehicle without a valid SR-22 after a conviction could also be prohibited from registering a car and face other criminal penalties, including fines ranging from $500 for first violations to $2,000 for subsequent offenses.
Driving a vehicle without an SR-22 can also be considered driving on a suspended license or without valid insurance, which could also lead to prison time. Contact a defense lawyer at Sparks Law Firm for help if this happens. They can answer all questions regarding a DUI conviction, such as if a person can teach in Texas with a DUI and what a DUI can be reduced to.
Sparks Law Firm's Lawyers Can Help DUI Drivers
Getting an SR-22 can be expensive and complicated most of the time. Therefore, Tarrant County TX DUI attorneys at Sparks Law Firm offers legal assistance to all people who have been convicted of DUI/DWI and need to obtain the document.
Our group of experienced attorneys can also help DUI/DWI drivers if they are having difficulty maintaining a valid SR-22. Anyone who needs guidance on the matter can contact us and get a free consultation today!