Is there a way for me to get my license back without being insured?
July 29, 2011 10:01 PM   Subscribe

Is there a way for me to get my license back without being insured?

A couple years back I was pulled over and arrested on suspicion of DUI. Needless to say, THAT was the worst night of my life. I lawyered up and in the end I was never convicted of a DUI, but plead guilty to what is commonly referred to as a "dry reckless". So it wasn't even a wet reckless. As part of the deal I did a couple classes and it's set to be expunged in a couple more years. On top of the court stuff the huge headache was dealing with the DMV. It really seems the courts and DMV don't even talk to each other (this is in San Francisco, CA). I was immediately required to get a SR-22 from my insurance company and provide it to the DMV so that I could get my license back (it was suspended 14 days after the incident). I have since sold off my car and adopted a total bicycling/public transit lifestyle. After selling my car I naturally canceled the insurance. Shortly after I got a letter from the DMV saying my license was now canceled since I was uninsured.

So my question is: is there any way I can go to the DMV and say "hey guys, give me back my license, I was never convicted of a DUI in the first place." Or do I really need to seek out non-owner's insurance so that I can have a drivers license?
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (8 answers total)
i hate to be the guy to say it, but you need a lawyer in the CA bar, to answer this question
posted by thelonius at 10:07 PM on July 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm a lawyer, and I don't think you need a lawyer to answer this question, at least not for starters. Call your DMV, and ask the question, but don't actually give your name ... just ask the question and see what they say. In Oregon, at least, the DMV folks are happy to give you general information. I don't even see the downside of giving specific information, if you have to. You just want to know what hoops you have to jump through to get your license back.

Blah blah blah, this is not legal advice, I am not your lawyer. But it is what I would do if I were in your shoes.
posted by Happydaz at 10:45 PM on July 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

IANAL, but I've been through something similar. It seems to me that the license suspension, and subsequent cancellation, had to do with your state's financial responsibility law -- and was not contingent on the outcome of your DUI-pleaded-down-to-whatever case. As such, you will still need to comply with the SR-22 requirement before you can reapply for a license.

To respond to your impression, then, the courts and the DMV may share information, but really are two hands that operate separately in many ways.
posted by dhartung at 10:48 PM on July 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

You need a non-owner's SR-22.
posted by rhizome at 10:56 PM on July 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

I live in California and I think the OP should call DMV.

I got my license in CA after living overseas and my NY State license expired - I had t do the process as though I never had a license in the first place - no car ownership required. In fact, my car is in my husband's name, again, no change in my license or insurance. And insurance def has my driver's license number on file.

Call the DMV. just sounds like a mix-up. You should be able to resolve this by doing a bunch of annoying paperwork. That said, doing your license over isn't that big a deal, but you want to sure you are eligible. Make sure you are eligible. Follow up.
posted by jbenben at 11:06 PM on July 29, 2011

In most states, financial responsibility is linked not to your driver's license, but to your vehicle registration. Driving without insurance can cost you your license, but insurance is not generally a prerequisite for getting a license. California could be screwy about this--it's screwy about a lot of other things, so hell, why not this too?--but if it follows the pattern of other states, it sounds a lot to me like some peon at the DMV screwed up.

And no, the courts and the DMV generally don't talk to each other very well. It's frequently up to citizens to bring the appropriate papers from the courthouse to establish that what they say is, in fact, true, because damned if the DMV drones are going to do that for you. That's, you know, work.
posted by valkyryn at 5:55 AM on July 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

Nthing call the DMV. When I moved to California - San Francisco, even - I got a drivers license and I didn't even have a car, let alone car insurance.

Gather your court-related paperwork as fast as you can; courts in San Francisco are facing massive budget cuts, so getting that paperwork may take (much) longer than it used to.
posted by rtha at 7:10 AM on July 30, 2011

Is the reason you want the driver's license to drive on occasion, or do you want it for general ID purposes? A state ID card (also from the DMV) will suit you just fine for buying booze, proving who you are, etc. if you don't have or don't want to carry a passport. If this is about driving, nevermind.
posted by slow graffiti at 2:05 PM on July 30, 2011

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