People accused of violating certain Nevada traffic laws are required to get a "SR-22" "proof of financial responsibility" statement from their car insurance company. Otherwise their driver's licenses will stay suspended. But a skilled Nevada criminal defense attorney may be able to avoid the SR-22 requirement by having the traffic charges reduced or dismissed.
This article explains what an "SR-22" is in Nevada, especially in relation to Nevada DUI law. Scroll down to learn more.
What is an SR-22 in Nevada?
An SR-22 is a document issued by a car insurance company that serves as a driver's "proof of financial responsibility." In other words an SR-22 verifies that the driver currently has the minimum liability coverage legally required to keep a driver's license in Nevada, which is:
- $15,000 for the bodily injury or fatality of one person
- $30,000 for the bodily injury or fatality of two or more people
- $10,000 for damage to others' property
People who have had their driver's licenses suspended by the Nevada DMV often have to file a SR-22 with the DMV before they can get their licenses reinstated. It is irrelevant whether or not the person owns a vehicle . . . "non-owner" SR-22s are available.
Is a SR-22 necessary to reinstate a driver's license that was suspended for a DUI in Nevada?
Yes. If the Nevada DMV determines that a person arrested for DUI was driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher, then the DMV will suspend the person's license for a set period of time. The length of the suspension depends on whether the person had previous DUI convictions:
- 3 months suspension for a first-time DUI
- 1 year suspension for a second-time DUI
- 3 years suspension for a third-time DUI
Once the person's driver's license is suspended, he/she then needs to file an SR-22 with the DMV to reinstate the license once the suspension period ends. And if the person does not get an SR-22, the driver's license remains suspended indefinitely.
Note that a person's license can be suspended for DUI even if he/she is never convicted of DUI in criminal court. And the person would still need to get an SR-22 to reinstate the license. Read more about how to avoid a license suspension in Nevada.
When else is an SR-22 necessary to keep a driver's license in Nevada?
Getting in an at-fault car accident without auto insurance will subject the driver to SR-22 requirements in Nevada. Or getting caught driving with an auto insurance policy that has been lapsed for more than 90 days will also cause SR-22 requirements to kick in.
How does someone get an SR-22 in Nevada?
The person contacts his/her car insurance company and requests an SR-22. There is usually a fee involved to file the SR-22. The insurance company then notifies the Nevada DMV that the person has an SR-22.
Note that drivers required to get a SR-22 may be seen by insurance companies as "high risk" and may be charged higher premiums in the future. See our article on
how DUIs affect car insurance in Nevada.
How long does someone have to maintain an SR-22 in Nevada?
It depends on why the person's driver's license was originally suspended. In DUI cases, a person is required to file an SR-22 with the Nevada DMV for three (3) years from the date the person reinstates his/her license.
Note that the Nevada DMV does not notify a driver when the SR-22 period is over. So the driver should contact the DMV if he/she is uncertain about when he/she no longer needs an SR-22.
What if someone with an active SR-22 then has his/her car insurance canceled or lapsed in Nevada?
If someone's car insurance lapses or gets cancelled before his/her SR-22 period ends, the insurance company will issue a SR-26 form to the Nevada DMV. An SR-26 indicates a discontinuation in auto insurance coverage.
At that point the DMV should notify the driver by certified mail that his/her insurance company notified them that coverage has been terminated. Within ten days of the mailing the DMV may then suspend the person's registration until he/she can secure new insurance and another SR-22 form. It is illegal in Nevada to drive without registration.
A person usually needs to go to a physical DMV location to get his/her registration reinstated. Unfortunately, a lapse or cancellation in insurance coverage "restarts the clock" for SR-22 coverage. For example, a DUI defendant whose insurance gets cancelled two years into a three-year SR-22 period would need to get a new SR-22 for another three years.
Can an SR-22 requirement be satisfied through a motorcycle insurance policy in Nevada?
How do SR-22 rules apply to out-of-state drivers in Nevada?
People with out-of-state licenses will usually have similar SR-22 rules imposed on them by their home state.
What if someone with an SR-22 in Nevada moves to another state?
Someone who moves away from Nevada would still need to fulfill his/her SR-22 filing period for Nevada despite no longer living in Nevada.
Is there a way to get out of SR-22 regulations in Nevada?
The best way to try to avoid SR-22 requirements is to retain criminal defense counsel as soon as possible following the traffic citation or arrest. The lawyer can then request a Nevada DMV Hearing to contest the driver's license suspension. If the hearing is successful, the person may no longer be required to get an SR-22.
Call us for help . . .
If you are facing "SR-22" status in Nevada, contact our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) for help. We may be able to resolve the issue so you keep your license without having to file an SR-22.
Read more in our articles on Nevada DUI law, how to avoid a license suspension in Nevada, Nevada DMV hearing, and how DUIs affect car insurance in Nevada. For information on California SR-22 laws, read our article on California SR-22 laws.