Washington D.C. SR-22 Insurance

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 the District of Columbia

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 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

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.

How Long Will I Need to File and SR-22 in the District of Columbia?

You will need to file an SR-22 for three continuous years.

What Happens if I Fail to Maintain my SR-22?

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. 

For example, 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-24 gets filed and your driving privilege is again suspended until you prove financial responsibility.  You get another policy and and SR-22 issued. 

You will have to keep filing SR-22s for three years after the second SR-22 is filed.

Why Would I Need to File an SR-22?

In the District of Columbia, your license can be revoked for the following reasons:

  • Leaving the scene of a collision in which personal injury occurs (hit and run)
  • Fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer
  • Aggravated reckless driving
  • Operate a vehicle after your driver license has been suspended or revoked
  • Using the driver’s license of another person
  • be convicted of an assault or homicide committed with an automobile
  • Operating a vehicle under the influence of, or when impaired by, intoxicating liquor and/or narcotic drugs
  • Operating a vehicle with any measurable amount of alcohol if the person is under 21 years old 
  • Committing a felony crime while operating a motor vehicle
  • Making a false affidavit or statement under any law relating to motor vehicles
  • Committing any violation while operating a vehicle without the permission of the owner

The District of Columbia also assigns a point value for  a moving violation when;

  • you are found liable at a hearing,
  • fail to pay a ticket within the required 60-day time period, or
  • pay a ticket (payment is admission of liability),

The points charged against your license can range from  one point to 12 points.  If you accumulate 10 – 11 points in a 12 month period, your license will be suspended for 90 days.  If you accumulate 12 points or more in a 12 month period, your license will be revoked for a minimum of six months.  If your license is suspended, it will be restored at the end of the suspension period after payment of a $98.00 reinstatement fee.

If My License Was Revoked, How Do I Get My Driving Privilege Restored?

In the District of Columbia you will need to apply for and attend a Reinstatement Hearing for a determination on if your driver’s license should be reinstated.  If the hearing officer denies your request to have your license reinstated, you may appeal that decision to the Traffic Adjudication Appeals Board.

If it is determined that your driver’s license can be reinstated, you will then need to:

  • Take and pass the knowledge test
  • Obtain a learner’s permit
  • Schedule, take and pass a road skills test
  • Provide documentation to obtain a REAL ID Driver’s license
  • Pay all Department of Motor Vehicles fees and
  • Pay a $98 Reinstatement Fee.

In addition, you may be required to have an SR – 22 filed as proof of financial responsibility.

If your license was revoked due to an alcohol or drug violation, you will also have to prove that you have completed a substance abuse course certified by the District’s Department of Behavioral Health.

Those who have had their license revoked for an alcohol or drug violation may have the revocation period shortened if they agree to have a restriction on their license that allows them to only operate a motor vehicle with an Ignition Interlock Device.  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.

To be considered for having a restricted license only allowing them to drive an Igiition Interlock Device equipped car, the driver must:

Have held a DC DMV driver license immediately prior to revocation

  • Has either been convicted in court of an alcohol-related offense or had your license revoked administratively because of an alcohol-related offense
  • Not have any additional or pending license suspensions or revocations
  • Have not been convicted of causing injury or death while operating a motor vehicle in any jurisdiction
  • Have enrolled or completed a District of Columbia Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) approved substance abuse treatment program.
  • Have not previously unsuccessfully participated in this program or any similar program in another jurisdiction for 5 years prior to the date of the application
  • Complete and submit the DC DMV Ignition Interlock Program Application 
  • File an SR – 22

There is a fee for installation and purchase of the device as well as for maintenance.  You will be required to have the device calibrated monthly.  Fees for installation and maintenance vary, so you may want to shop for the best deal.

In addition to all the other fees mentioned, there is also a $50.00 fee to participate in the Ignition Interlock Device program.

Once submitted, the application will be considered during an in person appointment.

During the suspension or revocation period, you may be able to obtain a Limited Occupaitonal License that will allow you to drive to and from work.  In order to apply for a Limited Occupaional License, you must provide;

  • Your driver’s license number
  • The days and hours of your employment
  • If you are requesting a Limited Occupaitonal License to drive a company vehicle, the year, make and model of that vehicle and
  • If you are requesting a Limited Occupational License to go to and from work the times requested (I.E. 7:00 AM – 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM  – 6:00 PM.)

Note that you will not be able to drive more than eight hours in one day nor more than five days in one week should your application be approved.

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.