DUI - Driving Under the Influence and SR22
DUI or driving under the influence refers to the act of operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Depending on the state where you live in, a SR22 certificate will be a requirement if your blood alcohol level (BAC) is above a certain threshold.
In most states you will be required to get the certificate of financial responsibility once you have been caught driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or more. Moreover, most states have a zero tolerance policy towards underage drivers who operate vehicles while intoxicated. A 19 year old driver with a BAC of 0.01%, which is likely to occur after only one beer, might get the same punishment a grown-up with a BAC of 0.08% gets. A similar policy is applied to professional drivers – those who operate commercial vehicles – and the threshold is usually set at 0.04%.
Filing periods of time vary from one state to another and also depend on the seriousness of the offense. Most states will ask for three or more years. In Virginia, for instance, you have to carry the SR22 policy for three consecutive years, in Ohio three years for the first violation and five for all subsequent ones and in Tennessee it's five years. The general rule is that, if you let your insurance lapse, your filing period will be reset. While you carry the SR22 certificate you will be regarded as a high risk driver and, consequently, your premiums will be substantially higher than usual.
SR22 is not a requirement – not even after a DUI conviction – in Minnesota, Kentucky, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware. However, given your tainted driving record, all insurance carriers will most likely charge you more for their services.
Costs differ from one state to another and from one insurer to the other. A first-time DUI convict in California, for instance, will pay an average of $12,116 for the Liability coverage. The cost is made of an average of $468 in fines, $780 in penalties, $187 for vehicle towing and impound costs, $500 for alcohol education class, $7,300 insurance surcharge, $100 towards the state's victim restitution fund, $125 for the driver's license reinstatement, $156 for the booking and fingerprinting and $2,500 for attorney and other legal fees.
No discounts have been taken into account in this average figure. If you can avail one of the many forms of auto insurance discounts carriers offer (multi-car, good student, renewal, no-claims, defensive driver courses, air bags, anti-theft devices and the rest) then you might get the rate down to an acceptable level.