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Proof of Insurance Following an DUI Conviction
After successfully navigating the court process with the assistance of your Wheeling WV DUI lawyer following an DUI charge, and fulfilling your suspension period, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles will require you to provide proof of insurance as you regain your driver’s license. To meet this requirement, you must obtain a Certificate of Financial Responsibility, commonly referred to as an SR-22, which serves as evidence that you possess the minimum liability coverage mandated by West Virginia law. Consider it your proof of purchase.
Securing this certificate entails a fee from your insurance company, covering both the preparation and filing costs with the state. It is important to keep the documentation of your SR-22 purchase in your vehicle at all times, alongside your regular insurance card. Should you be pulled over for any reason, law enforcement will request to see it. It is worth noting that the SR-22 is an additional purchase, exclusively providing coverage for you and not your family members or others.
Whether you obtained an DUI in West Virginia but reside in another state, or plan to move out-of-state after restoring your license, obtaining an SR-22 is still mandatory if required. Ensure that your insurance company specifically writes the certificate for West Virginia.
In many cases, insurance companies electronically file these certificates, expediting the process and obtaining BMV approval within 72 hours.
What if you don’t own a car? Do you still need an SR-22?
The answer is yes. Regardless of vehicle ownership, if you wish to reinstate your driver’s license, it is necessary to acquire an SR-22. Possessing a license implies an intent to drive, even if it involves operating someone else’s vehicle. To legally drive, proof of insurance is mandatory. If you lack personal vehicle ownership and instead intend to borrow or rent one, you must procure an SR-22 specifically tailored for non-vehicle owners. You can obtain this from your family’s auto insurer or, if unavailable, reach out to insurance agents who will gladly provide quotes. Remember, your costs may be lower when you don’t own a vehicle and do not anticipate extensive driving.
What Happens if I Don’t Get the SR-22?
If you neglect to obtain an SR-22 certificate, the consequences can be severe. Your license will be suspended once again if you fail to purchase or maintain the policy. Insurance companies are obligated to notify the BMV about lapsed or canceled SR-22 policies.
To rectify the situation and comply with the law, you must purchase a policy and certificate. Failure to do so or repeatedly letting them expire or cancel can result in a more prolonged license suspension.
Additionally, failing to maintain coverage for more than a few days risks resetting the required SR-22 period. For instance, if you were mandated to have it for three years and forget to renew between years two and three, the first two years will be invalidated, and you’ll have to start over. This means you’ll have to pay for five years of SR-22 certification instead of just three.
Obtaining and retaining a Certificate of Financial Responsibility is of utmost importance when it’s required. Your ability to travel freely hinges on your commitment to obtaining and maintaining it. While it may add to the expense of an DUI conviction, the investment is worthwhile to regain your freedom.
If you need assistance with an DUI charge, reach out to Mountaineer Criminal Law Group for expert help.
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