Operating a motor vehicle involves more than starting the engine and driving away. Drivers have many responsibilities both on the road and off. These responsibilities include paperwork and legal documentation, such as acquiring a valid driver’s license, maintaining their vehicle’s registration as well as a current auto insurance policy. However, for any of a number of reasons, a driver may end up on the road without auto insurance; it is important to be aware that not having insurance can negatively impact your situation if you are pulled over.
Will Driving Without Insurance Cause You To Be Pulled Over?
Not having insurance will not be the reason you are pulled over; however, if you have been pulled over for a moving or non-moving violation, including speeding or parking in a fire lane, the officer will ask to see your license, registration and proof of insurance. If you are unable to provide proof that you have the minimum required standard of insurance coverage, you may receive an additional ticket for this offense. Driving without auto insurance can lead to a number of long-term consequences that can impact on your ability to drive and obtain affordable insurance coverage. Some of these penalties may last for multiple years.
Fees And Tickets Related To Lack Of Insurance
One of the most common penalties related to driving uninsured is receiving a fine and court costs. In Virginia, driving without insurance is a Class 3 misdemeanor according to the Code of Virginia §46.2-707/18.2-11 and in accordance with misdemeanor penalties, you may receive a fine of up to $500 for failing to maintain an active auto insurance policy. This does not include the cost to then purchase the required coverage. Any coverage that you purchase in order to transition from uninsured to insured will come as an additional cost, and you may also be required to file an SR-22 form for a period of 3 years. An SR-22 is a Certificate of Financial Responsibility which demonstrates proof that you have acquired and continue to maintain an adequate level of auto insurance.
The Impact On Your Driver’s License
After you have been found guilty of driving without insurance, your license, registration and vehicle license plates may be suspended as well. Typically, this suspension lasts until you pay the required fee to reinstate them and also provide proof of auto insurance coverage. Without your driving privileges, it may become difficult to maintain employment, attend school or other personal responsibilities. Being stopped for driving while your license is suspended becomes a far more serious offense.
Potential Vehicle Impounding
As an additional consequence of driving uninsured, your vehicle may be impounded. You may be able have your vehicle returned once you are able to provide proof of insurance, but you may need to pay an additional fee to remove your car from impound. This fee is in addition to the fee for the insurance violation and the fee for reinstating your suspended license. While your vehicle is impounded, you will not have access to it.
Long Term Legal Consequences
It is important to remember that auto insurance serves a purpose, and failing to keep a policy could result in significant financial consequences. If you are in a collision with another person or cause damage to property and the other person’s vehicle or possessions are damaged in the process, you may be liable for the cost of repairs to their vehicle or their medical costs. This may result in thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in costs, and if the affected individual sues you, your savings and future earnings could be garnished to ensure that you make the repayment. Having auto insurance can protect you from these potential financial consequences.
Work With Traffic Attorneys To Navigate Charges While Driving Uninsured
If you have been charged with failure to maintain an active auto insurance policy, you could be facing a wide variety of consequences and penalties. A skilled legal professional can assist you to properly navigate the court system and reduce the penalties if possible. An attorney can also help you to understand any obligation you may have to pay fines or fees associated with driving without insurance, as well as how to acquire a restricted license or restore your driver’s license as soon as possible. The legal professionals at The Law Offices of Kermit A. Monge would be happy to help you understand your options and outline a plan for your case. Contact our offices to schedule a consultation to discuss your situation.