SR-22 Insurance: What You Need to Know After a DUI Arrest in South Carolina

by | Apr 1, 2024 | DUI Lawyer

When you get convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) in South Carolina, you can face multiple penalties. For a standard first-time offense, these penalties include roughly $1,000 in fines and fees, a six-month driver’s license suspension, and 48 hours to 30 days of jail time or community service. Effective May 19, 2024, they will also include mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle.

But, these penalties are not the only consequences of a DUI conviction in South Carolina. Having a conviction on your record can impact your life (and your bank account) in other ways as well. For example, with a DUI on your record, you will be required to pay for SR-22 insurance. As we discuss below, SR-22 insurance is much more expensive than regular auto insurance; and, if you don’t pay, you won’t be able to drive even once your driver’s license suspension is over.

Important Information About SR-22 Insurance for Individuals Facing DUI (or DUAC) Charges in South Carolina

So, what do you need to know about SR-22 insurance if you have been arrested for drunk driving in South Carolina? Here are five important facts about SR-22 insurance from Rock Hill DUI defense lawyer Michael L. Brown, Jr.:

1. SR-22 Insurance is Required After a DUI or DUAC Conviction in South Carolina

As a general rule, SR-22 insurance is required after a DUI or DUAC conviction in South Carolina. DUAC is short for “driving with unlawful alcohol concentration,” and it is actually what most people think of when they think of a DUI. In South Carolina, you can get a DUI if you are driving under the influence of alcohol regardless of your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). But, if your BAC is over the legal limit (which is 0.08% for adults over 21), then you are more likely to be charged with DUAC.

In either case, if you get convicted, you will be required to obtain SR-22 insurance. To get your license back and maintain your vehicle registration, you will need to submit an SR-22 insurance certificate to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV). If you don’t obtain SR-22 insurance and don’t provide the SCDMV with a certificate from your insurance company, you won’t be able to drive.

2. SR-22 Insurance is Typically Required for Three Years

The requirement to obtain SR-22 insurance typically applies for three years from the date of a DUI or DUAC conviction in South Carolina. This means that you must obtain SR-22 insurance to reinstate your driver’s license and register your vehicle at any point during these three years. It also means that you must maintain valid SR-22 insurance throughout these three years to avoid having your driving privileges or your vehicle registration suspended by the SCDMV.

3. SR-22 Insurance is Much More Expensive Than Regular Auto Insurance

Why is obtaining SR-22 insurance such a big deal? The short answer is that it is expensive—much more expensive than regular auto insurance. While individual SR-22 insurance rates vary, various sources indicate that most people can expect to pay about twice what they pay normally. With South Carolina’s average monthly premium of $266 (according to, this means that the average person will pay nearly $10,000 in additional insurance premiums over three years. If you are already paying more than the state’s average, your additional premiums could be far greater.

4. Not All Insurance Companies Offer SR-22 Insurance for DUIs and DUACs

It’s also important to note that not all insurance companies offer SR-22 insurance for DUIs and DUACs in South Carolina. If your auto insurance company doesn’t offer SR-22 insurance, you could lose your coverage after a DUI or DUAC conviction. In this case, you will need to shop around, and shopping around for SR-22 insurance is both more difficult and more expensive than shopping around for normal auto insurance coverage.

5. The Cost of SR-22 Insurance is Yet Another Reason to Fight Your South Carolina DUI or DUAC

For most people, the cost of buying SR-22 insurance for three years is the biggest out-of-pocket cost they incur after a DUI or DUAC conviction in South Carolina. As a result, the cost of SR-22 insurance is an important factor to consider when deciding how to approach your drunk driving case. Even if you can afford to pay double your normal monthly auto insurance premiums (which many people can’t), you shouldn’t take on these additional costs if it isn’t absolutely necessary to do so.

While every case is different, there are several potential defenses to DUI and DUAC charges in South Carolina. To determine how you can fight your DUI or DUAC charge, you will want to speak with an experienced defense lawyer as soon as possible. Depending on the facts of your case, your lawyer may be able to help you assert drunk driving defenses such as:

  • The police violated your Fourth Amendment rights (i.e., the police stopped you without reasonable suspicion or arrested you without probable cause)
  • The police violated your Fifth Amendment rights (i.e., the police interrogated you in custody without reading your Miranda rights)
  • The police failed to record your traffic stop
  • The arresting officer improperly administered the breathalyzer or field sobriety tests (FSTs)
  • The breathalyzer device wasn’t properly calibrated or hadn’t been properly maintained
  • There is an alternate explanation for your high BAC reading (i.e., you have a medical condition such as GERD)
  • Your BAC rose between when the police stopped you and you took the breathalyzer
  • You weren’t actually “driving under the influence” as defined by South Carolina law

Discuss Your Case with Rock Hill, SC DUI Lawyer Michael L. Brown, Jr. for Free

If you have questions about SR-22 insurance or any of the other costs associated with facing a DUI or DUAC charge in South Carolina, we invite you to get in touch. To discuss your case with Rock Hill, SC DUI lawyer Michael L. Brown, Jr. in confidence, call 803-328-8822 or request a free consultation online now.

Contact Us