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Understanding the Impact of a DUI on Auto Insurance Rates and SR-22 Requirements in Washington, DC


Attorney Joseph A. Scrofano of Scrofano Law PC can help you in understanding the impact of a DUI on auto insurance rates and SR-22 requirements in Washington, D.C. Call us today.

Auto Insurance in Washington, DC, After a DUI?


For most people in DC, a conviction for DUI (Driving Under the Influence) will affect many aspects of their life. One of the most expensive consequences of a DUI is increased car insurance rates. Many DC residents are aware that their automobile insurance rates will rise. However, they may not be aware of the extent.


DUI Law in Washington, DC


The legal drinking age in the District of Columbia is 21. Under Washington law, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol results in three types of charges: driving while intoxicated (DWI), driving under the influence (DUI), and operating while impaired (OWI).

DWI charges are filed if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) measures 0.08% or more.  The DUI law applies to those whose blood alcohol concentration is .07 percent or lower. OWI charges apply when an individual is operating or being in physical control of a vehicle in the District while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or a combination of these substances.

If you have a commercial driver’s license, your BAC level must be below 0.04%. Drivers under twenty-one will be arrested for DUI if their BAC is 0.02% or more. If you have exhibited impaired behavior, an arresting officer may find you guilty of DUI even though your BAC is below 0.07%.

The penalties for a DUI/ DWI conviction will depend on your number of prior convictions. If it is your first offense, you may spend up to 180 days in jail. Second, DUI offenses carry up to one year of jail time.

DUI third offenses carry a mandatory fifteen-day jail sentence, up to one year in prison, and up to $10,000 in fines. After an arrest for an alcohol and drug-related DUI, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) may also suspend your license.

How Can an Insurance Company Discover Your DUI?


Insurance companies have several ways to discover if you have been convicted of a DUI offense. Here are some common methods:

  • Self-reporting: When applying for or renewing an insurance policy, applicants are typically required to disclose any prior convictions or violations, including DUI offenses.

  • Motor vehicle records (MVR): Insurance companies have access to motor vehicle records, which contain information about a driver’s traffic violations, accidents, and license suspensions. A DUI conviction is typically recorded on the MVR and can be accessed by insurance companies.

  • SR-22 requirement: After a DUI conviction, some states may require individuals to obtain an SR-22 form, also known as a certificate of financial responsibility. This form confirms that the driver has the minimum required auto insurance coverage. Insurance companies will be aware of the need for an SR-22 filing and may adjust the policy or premium accordingly.

  • Claims or accident reports: If you are involved in an accident or file an insurance claim related to a DUI incident, the insurance company will investigate the circumstances. During this process, they may discover evidence of impaired driving and subsequently learn about the DUI conviction.

  • Policy renewal: Insurance companies periodically review policyholders’ records when it’s time for policy renewal. They may conduct a routine check on driving records, which could reveal any recent DUI convictions.

How Will a DUI Affect Your Insurance?


Getting a DUI in Washington, DC, can double your full coverage car insurance rate. Drivers with a DUI conviction are considered high risk by car insurance companies. Therefore, their insurance rates are much higher.

Your DC auto insurance rates may increase by 70% after a DUI conviction. This translates to an average of over $1000 yearly. Your car insurance rates may increase even if you are acquitted of DUI. The insurance company will take into account the fact that you may drive under the influence again.

Some insurance companies routinely check their clients driving records for high-risk drivers. They may take action against you by rejecting your insurance application or increasing your premium. Additionally, they may drop a customer who is considered an excessive risk. 

For instance, a driver with a suspended license due to an accumulation of traffic violations. Before dropping a high-risk driver, the company may increase its prices so the person can no longer afford it. They may also rescind the benefits and discounts until the end of the SR-22 insurance.

DUI convictions remain on your driving record for at least seven years. So, you may still have to pay high insurance premiums after ending the SR-22 policy.

SR-22 Requirement in Washington, DC


The DC DMV requires you to purchase SR-22 before reinstating your driving privileges. SR-22 is a statement of financial responsibility proving that you meet DC’s minimum insurance requirements. It is a high-risk coverage usually filed at the end of a license suspension.

First-time offenders must maintain their SR-22 coverage for a minimum of three years. If they fail to do so, the car insurance company is required to notify Washington, DC’s licensing agency. Failure to maintain valid insurance or comply with the SR-22 requirements can lead to penalties, such as license suspension, fines, or the requirement to start the three-year compliance period again.

All auto insurance companies do not offer SR-22. If your current auto insurance company is one of these, you must cancel your policy and find one that provides SR22 coverage. You may avoid the payment of SR-22 insurance by posting a $60,000 bond with a licensed surety or bond company in DC.


What Is Minimum SR-22 Car Insurance Coverage in Washington, DC?

In Washington, D.C., drivers who are required to file an SR-22 in other states for a DUI conviction or certain other offenses must meet the minimum car insurance coverage requirements set by the DC Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

This includes liability insurance with at least $25,000 per person ($50,000 per accident) for bodily injury and $10,000 for property damage. Additionally, drivers must have uninsured motorist property damage coverage with at least $25,000 per person ($50,000 per accident) and $5,000 for property damage caused by an uninsured motorist.

Why Should You Contact an Experienced DUI Lawyer?


If you are apprehended for DUI, you need to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. Choosing the right lawyer with extensive experience to represent you is crucial. Attorney Joseph A. Scrofano of Scrofano Law, PC, can analyze your case to better understand the potential impact of the DUI on your insurance coverage.

Attorney Joseph A. Scrofano of Scrofano Law, PC, is passionate about helping clients fight DUI convictions. These convictions come with serious financial consequences for your future. Nevertheless, we can build a solid defense strategy and challenge the prosecution’s evidence.

Auto insurance companies usually require a statement about the incident. We can guide you on what to say to the insurer to avoid using your statement against you. Attorney Joseph A. Scrofano of Scrofano Law, PC, has helped several Washington, DC, clients in getting their charges dismissed. Contact us today for more information on auto insurance in Washington, DC.


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