Driving without insurance is prohibited in several states. In New Jersey, it can carry worse penalties than driving while intoxicated. One can lose their driver’s license, pay steep fines, court costs and surcharges, along with participating in community service.
What is the Law in New Jersey?
New Jersey law requires every owner of a motor vehicle registered in the state to maintain motor vehicle liability insurance coverage. The statute also requires that the following minimum coverage be maintained:
- An amount or limit of $15,000.
- An amount of $30,000 for the death or injury of one or more persons.
- An amount of $5,000 for damage to property.
What are the Penalties?
Penalties for a violation of this law include the following:
- Fines: A first time conviction can result in a minimum fine of $300 to a maximum of $1,000. If the driver has subsequent violations, the fines can increase to a maximum of $5,000.
- Surcharges: There is also an additional surcharge of $750 required to be paid to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission.
- Insurance Eligibility Points: Repeat offenders will also receive nine insurance eligibility fines for each offense. The point assessment can cause difficulty for drivers to procure future automobile liability insurance or cause it to be more expensive.
- Suspension of a Driver’s License: A second offense can also carry the risk of a suspension of one’s driver’s license.
- Jail: A second offense also carries with it a mandatory jail sentence of 14 days.
- Community Service: A judge may even require community service hours as part of a sentence.
What Must be Proven for a Conviction?
The key elements a prosecutor must prove to find a conviction for driving without insurance is the following:
- The driver is the owner of the vehicle.
- The motorist knew or should have known that the vehicle was not covered under liability insurance.
- The vehicle was registered in the state of New Jersey or garaged in the state.
- The defendant operated the vehicle on a public road or highway in the state.
What are Some Viable Defenses?
Defending a case involving driving without insurance can be nuanced and fact-specific. At the start, the defendant can produce an insurance card indicating the date of coverage as proof that they had insurance at the time of the ticket or summons.
A driver can show that the vehicle is owned by another person. However, under this defense, the actual owner will then be charged and will have to show proof of alternate insurance coverage. Also, one can argue that the prosecutor did not adequately prove that the defendant was driving the vehicle. Typically, the most common defense to a charge of driving without insurance is to show that the insurance company cancelled the policy without the driver’s knowledge.
When fighting against a charge, it is important to contact a lawyer. A lawyer will build a case against the traffic violation charge while protecting their client’s rights.
Cherry Hill Traffic Violation Lawyers at Agre & St. John Protect Clients Accused of Driving Without Licenses
Many deal with traffic citations by simply paying fines and penalties without proper defenses, but this is not advisable. Our Cherry Hill traffic violations lawyers at Agre & St. John understand the importance of driving, and we will help you if you have been accused of driving without insurance. Contact us online or call us at 856-428-7797 for an initial consultation. Located in Haddonfield, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, and Salem County.