Having your car impounded and your license suspended. Steep fines. Higher insurance rates. Jail time. Probation. That’s what you risk if you drive drunk in Florida, a state which has some of the strictest drunk driving laws in the nation. And that’s just a best-case scenario—things get even worse if you cause an accident or injuries while driving drunk.
One lesser-known consequence of a DUI conviction is that you must have filed an FR44 certificate before you can legally drive again. The “FR” in FR44 stands for Financial Responsibility. While it’s sometimes misleadingly called “FR44 insurance,” FR44 is not actually an insurance policy and offers no protection in the event of an accident. It is simply proof you that have insurance—a legal form your insurance company sends to the DHSMV to verify you are carrying the minimum coverage required by law and paying your insurance bill in a timely manner. In the event you let your insurance lapse, your insurance company must notify the DHSMV and your license will be immediately revoked. Driving with a revoked license is, of course, another traffic offense.
Drivers must maintain their FR44 certificates for three years after conviction.
During this period, you may lose the convenience of monthly premium billing. Many insurance companies require that you pay your insurance in one annual lump sum while you are driving with an FR44 certificate.
While the cost of filing an FR44 is nominal—usually under $25—the difference you will see in your insurance premiums is not. Under state law, drivers convicted of DUI must carry ten times the minimum insurance otherwise required. You can also expect your insurance rates to go up—in most cases more than 50%. You may have trouble even finding a policy—some companies prefer not to insure high-risk drivers.
Let’s say you’ve been convicted of DUI but don’t actually own a car. You still have legal responsibilities under FR44 regulations. In order to reinstate a suspended license, you are required to file an FR44 certificate. Unfortunately, you are required to purchase a non-owner’s insurance policy—something you may never have carried before. These policies cost an average of $900 per year.
Your FR44 responsibilities to the state of Florida do not end when you move out of state. You must maintain your FR44 so long as you are driving with a Florida license. This rule applies to both car-owners and non-owners. If you don’t maintain your FR44, your name will be added to the National Driver Register database. Once your Florida license is revoked for failure to maintain your FR44, it’s unlikely you will be able to get a driver’s license in another state.
Other states have their own version of the FR44 certificate, usually called an SR22. If you are moving out of state and applying for a license, it’s important to understand the FR44 or SR22 requirements of your new home state.
FR44 certificate requirements are not limited to DUI convictions. The state of Florida takes driving without a license and driving without insurance pretty seriously. If you are convicted of these offenses, you’ll also be required to file an FR44 certificate.
Follow this link to an explanation of what the State of Florida requires.
If all of this sounds hopelessly confusing, remember that an attorney who specializes in DUI cases understands all of the ins and outs of traffic law. Having experienced, effective counsel when you are charged with any of these offenses can help you get the best possible result in court, including the possibility of avoiding conviction altogether under Miami-Dade County’s Back On Track program.
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If you want to avoid the expense, embarrassment and increased insurance rates, it is imperative that you get in touch with an experienced and successful Miami DUI attorney. I have earned a 10.0 Superb Rating on Avvo and am AV® Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, and you can trust that I have the knowledge and skill to create a powerful defense case. Review my winning cases and see for yourself what I can accomplish in court. I offer a case evaluation, or you can contact my office directly for assistance