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 in Louisiana
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 SR-22 Affects your Louisiana Car Insurance 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. 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 SR-22 Coverage in LA
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.
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.
Why Would I Need to Supply an SR-22 in Louisiana?
You would need to file proof of future financial responsibility in the following situations
- You have an accident judgment against you,
- You have been convicted of Driving Under the Influence
- You were arrested for refusal to take a test for Driving Under the Influence
Financial responsibility can be proven in the following ways.
- An SR – 22 is filed by your insurance company for you.
- A deposit of $30,000 in cash or negotiable securities with the Louisiana State Treasurer
- A surety bond posted with the Office of Motor Vehicles in the amount of $30,000
How do I get my driver’s license restored if I have an accident judgment against me?
If you have an accident judgment against you you will need to.
- Show that any judgement has been satisfied
- Have an SR-22 filed with the Office of Motor Vehicles
- Pay a $50 reinstatement fee.
How do I Get My Driving Privileges Reinstated (How do I Get My License Back) if it Has Been Suspended for Driving Under the Influence?
When you are charged with driving under the influence because your Blood Alcohol level is greater than .08 or you refused to take a brethalyzer test, your license will immediately be suspended and a 30 day temporary driving permit will be issued. You will then have 15 days to file an appeal of the suspension and have it reviewed at an administrative hearing.
Refusal to take a blood alcohol test will result in a 180 day suspension for the first offense and a 545 day suspension (one year and 180 days) for subsequent offenses. If you did take the test and it revealed your blood alcohol content was greater that .08 and you are over 21 or .02 if you are under 21, your license will be suspended as follows:
In addition, if you have a prior conviction for driving under the influence, your license will receive an additional suspension as follows.
|Conviction||Period of Suspension|
|Second (Blood alcohol content < .2)||Two years|
|Second (Blood alcohol content > .2)||Four Years|
Note that even if you are found not guilty in a court for Driving Under the Influence, the suspension will not be lifted as it is an administrative suspension and not a judicial suspension.
If you are convicted of Driving Under the Influence, you will be subject to the following additional penalties.
|First||Up to six months in jailUp to $1,000 in fines in addition to court costs|
|Second||Mandatory sentence of 48 hours in jailUp to six additional months in jailUp to $1,000 in fines in addition to court costs|
|Third||One to five years in jailPossible home confinementUp to $2,000 in fines in addition to court costsPossible forfeiture of your carFour weeks in an inpatient substance abuse program and four weeks in an outpatient substance abuse program|
This is a minimum list. You may also be subject to other penalties such as being required to enroll in a driver improvement program or participate in community service. You will also have to pay the costs associated with treatment and enrolling in a program. In certain instances, you may also be subject to additional fines and costs, longer jail sentences and a permanent revocation of your driving privilege.
Upon completion of your sentence, getting your driving privilege restored is a simple matter. You will need to submit proof that you have complied with the terms of your suspension and convction to the Office of Motor Vehicles.
If you refused to take the chemical test, or took the test and there was a Blood Alcohol Concentration of .08 or above and:
- At the time of arrest there was a crash with moderate or serious bodily injury;
- At the time of arrest there was a child in the vehicle age 12 or younger; or
- There is a prior alcohol violation on the record
You will be required to have an ignition interlock device installed as a condition of reinstatement. 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. In addition, the ignition interlock device will request a breath sample at random intervals while the driver is operating the car. One thing it won’t do is shut the car off while you are driving should you be intoxicated. There is a fee for installation and purchase of the device as well as for maintenance. These vary, so you may want to shop for the best deal.
You will also need to have an SR-22 filed (and maintain it for three years) and pay a reinstatement fee as follows:
|Refusal to take a chemical test||$50.00|
|First Driving Under the Influence offense||$100.00|
|Second Driving Under the Influence offense||$200.00|
|Third and subsequent Driving Under the Influence offense||$300.00|
Once the process is complete, the reinstatement will be given within ten days if done by mail or immediately if done in person. Note that the reinstated license may be subject to a probationary period.
Can I get a Hardship License so That I Can Continue Driving During the Time My License is Suspended?
You may be eligible for a Hardshp license that is issued administratively or by order of the court if you need a drivers license to earn a livelihood or maintain the necessities of life. You will need to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle if your suspension is the result of:
- Submit to the breath alcohol content test
- Refusal of a chemical test for intoxication
- Driving While Intoxicated
- Vehicular Negligent Injury
- Driving Under Suspension (Alcohol related – applicant was under suspension for an alcohol offense on the date of violation).
Additionally, you will need to do the following before the license is issued:
In addition you will be required to submit the following for a Hardship License to be issued:
- Have an SR-22 filed
- Recommendation letter from Support Services (if the suspension is for non payment of child support
- Court Order/Judgment
- If the applicant drives his employer’s vehicle in the scope of his employment, the court may allow the applicant to operate the company vehicle without the interlock device. The applicant must provide documentation from the court and the employer must provide a written statement that he (the employer) is aware that the employee is otherwise restricted to driving his personal vehicle that is equipped with the interlock device. The statement allows the applicant to drive a company vehicle that does not have the interlock installed. However, if the applicant owns the company and drives the company vehicle, the interlock must be installed in that vehicle.
Note that the auto insurer may, upon checking your Motor Vehicle Record, issue a Named Driver Exclusion which will not allow you to operate your employer’s vehicles or use your vehicle for business purposes.
- Appropriate fees
In summary, If you have had your driver license suspended or revoked, you will need and 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.