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Driving Without Insurance

Driving without insurance is a serious traffic violation in New York. Even though driving without insurance only constitutes a violation the penalties are anxiety provoking. A conviction for driving without proper insurance has a maximum penalty of 15 days in jail, a fine of $1,500.00, and the loss of one’s driver’s license for an entire year.

If you or someone you know has been charged with driving without insurance speak to our experienced New York traffic attorneys today. Our experienced New York traffic attorneys can help you to keep your driver’s license, stay out of jail, or lower your fine. Call us today for a free consultation.

Unfortunately, the provision requiring that one who is convicted lose their driver’s license for a year is required by the statute, the judge does not have the ability to reduce that aspect of the punishment unless the charges are reduced.

All drivers in New York are required to carry insurance cards that show the policy and the dates that the policy is in effect. Whenever a police officer or a magistrate asks for said insurance card it must be turned over. If one does not turn over the insurance card it triggers a presumption that one was driving without insurance. This presumption can be rebutted by evidence that the insurance policy was in full force and effect when the defendant was written the traffic ticket, or a letter from the defendant’s insurance company showing that the policy was in effect on the date in question.

If a person is not the owner of a vehicle, but they are driving with no insurance the prosecution is not in as strong of a position. This is because there is an additional criminal intent element the prosecution must prove in the case of non-owner drivers, knowledge that the vehicle is not insured. Due to the fact that prosecutors must prove this intent element, absent a confession, prosecutors often offer plea bargains. On the other hand, when one presses for trial, the prosecutor may end up offering more favorable terms to the plea bargain. The fact that the presumption of non-insurance is raised when no insurance card is presented, does not impact a non-owner defendant quite the same way. The presumption that the vehicle is not insured is raised, but, the non-owner is not presumed to know that the vehicle is not insured. Furthermore, the non-owner is not required by any law to inquire as to the status of the vehicle’s insurance.

In court, generally, the insurance card is not acceptable proof of insurance. Courts will accept the following proofs:

  • Original signed letters from the insurance company, not photostatic copies or scans.
  • The letters must be typewritten and on the insurance company’s stationary.
  • The letter must say when the coverage was, and that the coverage included the dates the defendant was ticketed on.
  • The letter must say that the coverage was in full effect on the day of the traffic ticket.
  • The letter must contain the vehicle’s make, model, year, and vin number.

Upon showing such a letter it is the general practice of courts to dismiss tickets for driving without insurance. One should not become overconfident. Planning is necessary as the letters executed in the proscribed manner, with the particular requirements, are difficult for insurance company staff to get right. Multiple calls may be required to an insurance company to have the letter written correctly, including all of the required information sent.

If you or someone you love has been accused of driving without insurance our New York traffic violation lawyers can help you get your charges dropped, lower your fine, and prevent you from going to jail. Call our office today for a free consultation.

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