Question: I was convicted of a DUI in the state of Virginia. Before my conviction, I transferred my license, car registration and car insurance to New York state. Since I have no desire to reinstate my Virginia license, do I still need to file an FR-44 in Virginia?
Answer: New York won't require you to file a FR-44 with Virginia, but even if you don’t have a desire to reinstate your Virginia license, it would behoove you to do so because you will run into issues when you go to renew your New York license.
Virginia does usually require the FR-44 (similar to an a SR-22 but with higher limits) if you have been convicted of a DUI and want to reinstate your license. This means having an insurer file the certificate of financial responsibility form saying you are carrying car insurance with $50,000/$100,000 for bodily injury liability and $40,000 of property damage liability (double the state’s normal liability limits).
However, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles says that if you are an out-of-state resident, instead of filing a FR-44 you can submit a letter from your auto insurance company showing that you carry the double minimum coverage amounts.
If you do choose to reinstate your license in Virginia, you will need to discuss with the Virginia DMV your specific situation.
If you don’t reinstate your license in Virginia, then as long as they have your driving privileges suspended there you will be unable to drive in their state, even if you have a valid New York license.
Also, there is the issue that New York can deny you a driver’s license at renewal time if your license is still suspended in Virginia due to you being listed on the National Driver Register (NDR) as a problem driver.
The NDR is a nationwide database, maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), that state DMV agencies input the names to of drivers who have had their licenses revoked or suspended, or who have been convicted of serious traffic violations.
Virginia will have reported your DUI and suspension to the NDR, and while this may not affect you now, when it’s time for you to renew the New York license DMV will deny you a license. The New York DMV states that if your name is on the NDR you'll be unable to obtain a license with them. So, unless you have dealt with your issues with Virginia and have your name taken off of the NDR you'll face this situation.
If you decide to reinstate your Virginia license, your New York insurance company will need to be informed. If they were previously unaware of your Virginia DUI, then it’s likely that your rates will go up due to the higher risk they see you as and your need to carry higher limits to satisfy Virginia’s requirements.