When owning and operating a motor vehicle in California, or in any state, it is it usually required that you have auto insurance in case of an accident that causes property or personal damage to you or someone else. The cost of auto insurance depends on many factors including convictions for moving violations, DUIs, and license suspensions.
Under the California Vehicle Code, you can receive a license suspension for many reasons, including a DUI offense, a wet reckless offense, or a dry reckless offense. ((California Vehicle Code Section 13352)) Receiving a DUI in and of itself can be a difficult experience with the harsh penalties associated with a conviction.
Having a DUI on your driving record can also directly impact what you pay for auto insurance.
When your license is suspended because of a DUI or a wet reckless offense, it is reported to the DMV and shows on your driving record1. Most of the time when you apply for auto insurance, the insurance company will require you to provide a copy of your driving record in order to determine if they will insure you and at what cost. If you have a DUI and the corresponding points reflected on your driving record, then the cost of your insurance will increase immensely.
Additionally, the court may require you to file an SR-22 statement of financial responsibility noting that you have the proper amount of insurance that California requires you to have for your DUI conviction2. In California, this will remain on your driving record for at least three years3. Many insurance companies will file an SR-22 on your behalf but they will also likely increase your auto insurance rate because of it.
Frequently Asked Questions
In California, a first offense DUI will add two points to your license. However, your license will be suspended regardless of how many points you have if you lose your court hearing or DMV hearing or fail to request one at all.
2. What does proof of financial responsibility mean in regards to an SR-22 form?
Proof of financial responsibility means proof of accountability resulting from the ownership or operation of a motor vehicle and arising by reason “of personal injury to, or death of, any one person, of at least fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) per individual injured or killed and for damages to property (in excess of seven hundred fifty dollars ($750)), of at least five thousand dollars ($5,000) resulting from any one accident.”4
Unfortunately, in some cases the insurance company will refuse to insure you or refuse to renew your insurance after you have been convicted of a DUI. The likelihood of this happening increases with each DUI conviction.
4. How can I check the status of my driving record to see how many points I have on it?
You can order an unofficial copy of your California driving record by making a request at the DMV website. However, if you need an official copy, you must make a request in person or via mail. Your driving record will reflect the entire vehicle history of the current owner including traffic tickets, moving violations, points, and DUIs.
Restricted License – Even if your drivers’ license is suspended, you may still qualify for a restricted license that will enable you to get to and from your place of employment, school, and any court required driving under the influence programs. In order to get a restricted license you must meet the qualifications and file the SR-22 form showing proof of financial responsibility.
1st Time Drivers’ License Suspension – The sentence for your first time drivers’ license suspension because of a DUI is four months. You may still qualify for a restricted license if you meet the qualifications.
2nd Time Drivers’ License Suspension – The sentence for your second time drivers’ license suspension because of a second DUI is for one year. You may qualify for a restricted license but only after a longer period of the initial suspension passes.
DUI School – Court imposed attendance at a driving under the influence program after conviction of a DUI or wet reckless can range from 12 hours to 30 months depending on your prior convictions and any aggravating factors. You may be required to show proof of enrollment or completion of the program before you are able to get your restricted license.
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