An SR-22 is a document issued by an auto insurer to the State indicating that you carry sufficient insurance to satisfy that state’s Financial Responsibility Law. States demand one from a driver when they have either been convicted of specific crimes or have failed to show evidence of financial responsibility in the even they are found to be at fault in an accident. Should an SR-22 be required, you are barred from driving until you provide one and maintain the underlying insurance to support the proof of financial responsibility.
Non-Owners Insurance Alaska
If you do not own a vehicle, but need to have an SR-22 in order to drive, you will need to obtain an Operator’s Policy also known as a Named Non Owner Policy, which provides you with liability insurance coverage should you operate a vehicle that is uninsured. Otherwise, you will need an auto insurance policy that provides liability coverage for both you and your auto.
How an SR22 Affects Your Rates
Because the insured has a blemished driving record, they will not get the lowest rates for coverage. That being said, one should comparison shop and compare rates for the policy itself as well as any fees related to filing an SR-22 in Alaska. It should also be noted that if you need to have an SR-22 processed quickly, the fees to do so will not be inexpensive.
Limitations of SR22 Coverage
Another thing to note is that the policy itself may have terms and conditions that may limit coverage under certain circumstances. For example, should you be involved in an accident and you are using the vehicle in commission of a crime (and the definition of crime includes driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs) coverage for damage to your auto may evaporate. In addition, the limits for third party liability coverages in the event the auto is used during a crime will be reduced to the statutory minimum required by the state.
How Long Will I Need to Maintain or Carry My SR22 Insurance in Alaska?
Once the period for which your need to supply an SR-22 ends, you will then have much more flexibility to select an insurance policy as more insurers will be willing to insure you with a better rate. In addition, you will no longer need to pay any fees associated with processing the document.
Alaskan law specifies how long you must carry SR22 Insurance:
- 5 years for someone with 0 previous convictions
- 10 years for someone with 1 previous conviction
- 20 years for someone with 2 previous convictions.
- Permanently, for someone with 3 or more convictions.
And when you realize that Alaskan SR22 insurance can sometimes cost more than double the rate of standard car insurance, breaking the law becomes a very expensive habit.
What Happens if I Fail to Keep My SR22 Policy Active (I Let it Lapse) in Alaska?
Failure to maintain proof of financial responsibility will result in your insurance company sending an SR-26 to the state advising that your policy is canceled. This will result in your driving privilege being suspended again, and the period for which you will need to provide SR-22s will start from zero again.
- You are notified that your driving privilege has been suspended until you file an SR-22, and
- you will have to prove financial responsibility for three years following the initial filing.
- You cause an SR-22 to be submitted and, because you failed to pay an installment on your premium, your policy has been canceled after six months.
- An SR-26 gets filed and your driving privilege is again suspended until you prove financial responsibility.
- You get another policy and SR-22 issued.
- You will have to keep filing SR-22s for three years after the second SR-22 is filed.
Why Would Someone Need an SR22 in Alaska?
- In Alaska, your driver license can be suspended for failure to maintain liability insurance.
- In addition, it can be revoked if you have been convicted of Driving Under the Influence as a Felony or Misdemeanor.
In either instance, one may be eligible for a Limited License. In both cases, you will need to file an SR-22 in order to have a Limited License issued to you.
Limited Driver’s License Options
If your driver license is suspended for failure to maintain liability insurance, you may be eligible to be issued a limited license, which will allow you to:
- drive to work via the most direct route and
- for medical care.
In order to receive one you cannot have been convicted of failure to maintain insurance in the past ten years.
In the case of misdemeanor DUI convictions,
- one may apply for a Limited License 30 days after the first offense or
- 90 days after each subsequent offense.
If you have been convicted of a Felony DUI, you will have to wait until 60 days before the revocation ends before you can apply for a Limited License.
You will also be required to complete Wellness or Therapeutic Court (or its equivalent if it is not available in your area) in order to be eligible to apply.
Therapeutic Court & Moral Reconation Therapy
Therapeutic Court is an alternative sentencing model offered to those who are accused of Felony or Misdemeanor DUI. The goals of Therapeutic Court are twofold.
- The first goal is to keep the accused from being a repeat offender.
- The second is to enable the accused to achieve sobriety through treatment for their addiction and its root causes.
It also keeps the accused from being incarcerated so long as they comply with the orders of the Wellness Court and attend their hearings. In addition, there are fees to participate in Therapeutic Court which are based on ability to pay.
Admission to Therapeutic Court is restricted to those who qualify. The defendant needs to be:
- over 18, and
- not be indicted for a crime involving Driving Under the Influence.
What this means is that a defendant can ask to participate in Therapeutic Court between the time they have been arrested and the time an indictment is returned.
In addition, they cannot have participated more than once in Therapeutic Court. Those who are convicted of a homicide or certain other felonies as well as those with a history of drug dealing are not eligible for Therapeutic Court.
Upon admission, the defendant will work with the courts to reach a plea agreement on the charge. As part of the agreement, the defendant will be ordered to participate in therapeutic court, attend hearings and comply with the requirements and directives of the court. Failure to comply, will result in sanctions and possible incarceration. In addition, the participant will have to submit to regular drug and alcohol testing. Failure to pass those tests will also result in incarceration.
Therapeutic Court is a process that lasts 18 months. During that time, not only will they be attending hearings on their progress in court, they will also be assessed for and treated for substance abuse. As part of that, they may be required to attend recovery meetings in the community (such as Alcoholics Anonymous.) In addition, the defendant must adhere to referrals that are unrelated to treatment such as mental health services or vocational services. In addition, they must undergo Moral Reconation Therapy.
Moral Reconation Therapy is a therapy whose goal is to help clients to improve their ability to make decisions. In addition, it helps them understand that there are consequences to their behavior and actions.
Upon completion one of the components of the plea bargain made between the District Attorney’s office and the defendant will be satisfied.
Interlock Ignition in Alaska
Applicants who are convicted of DUI will need to have an ignition interlock device installed in the auto(s) they drive and maintain proper calibration. In order for it to be properly calibrated, you will need to have the installer of the ignition interlock device re calibrate it at certain intervals.
An ignition interlock device requires that the driver breathe into a breathalyzer before they start their car. The breathalyzer will then test for alcohol consumption and prevent the car from being started should the driver be intoxicated. These devices are installed by third parties and the fees for installation and calibration may vary, so you will want to do some comparison shopping.
They will also be required to take and pass the road test in an auto with the device installed. In addition to passing the road test, applicants must also take and pass a vision test and a written test.
Limited License Application Process
In all instances, the fee to apply for the Limited License is $100.00. You will also have to provide the DMV with an SR-22 that is no less than 30 days old. The application will then be reviewed and approved before the process of obtaining a Limited License can continue.
Approval is not automatic. For example: You are applying for a Limited License to drive to work after having your license suspended for failure to prove financial responsibility. If you can get to and from work on public transit, it is unlikely that the application will be approved.
Once all steps in applying for the license is complete and the fees for the license itself are paid, the Limited License is then mailed to the driver. It should be noted that a temporary license will not be issued so that the driver can drive before he or she receives a permanent one. This means that the licensee will not be allowed to drive until they receive their license in the mail. Note that the license has is being issued with specific terms, conditions and restrictions and failure to comply with them may result in your losing your privilege to drive.
What Alaskan Laws Further Detail SR22 Guidelines?
According to 31st Legislature (2019-2020), Alaska Statutes 2018, AS 28.20.230
In summary, if you have been convicted of a DUI or have had your license suspended for failure to prove financial responsibility, you will need an SR-22. In addition, there will be several steps you need to take in order to partially have your driving privilege restored so that you may be able to drive again even after you have been sanctioned.
How Do I Submit My SR22 (e.g. directly to the DMV or via my insurance company?)
You bring in your proof of SR22 when you come into the DMV to reinstate.
Where Do I Go to File My SR22 and Reinstate My License?
You bring in your proof of SR22 when you come into the DMV to reinstate it.
How Long Does it Take to Process My SR22 Once I Bring it in?
Once you provide proof the DMV can reinstate your driving privileges as soon as you are eligible to reinstate.
Sources: Licensed insurance agents and DMV of Alaska