New Jersey Driving Without Insurance Attorney
Experienced Traffic Defense Attorney Represents Clients Accused of Driving Without Insurance in Burlington County, New Jersey
In New Jersey, driving without insurance is a serious motor vehicle offense and uninsured drivers are subject to harsh penalties. The relevant law—sometimes referred to as the New Jersey Compulsory Motor Vehicle Insurance Law—is delineated in section 39:6B-1(a) of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated (N.J.S.A.), and says, “Every owner or registered owner of a motor vehicle registered or principally garaged in [New Jersey] shall maintain motor vehicle liability insurance coverage … insuring against loss resulting from liability imposed by law for bodily injury, death and property damage sustained by any person arising out of the ownership, maintenance, operation or use of a motor vehicle….”
The statute goes on to prescribe the penalties for violations of the law in N.J.S.A. 39:6B-2. A first-time offender is subject to a fine of at least $300 but not more than $1,000, as well as a period of community service (to be determined by the municipal court with jurisdiction). In addition, a first-time offender “shall … forfeit his [or her] right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of [New Jersey] for a period of one year from the date of conviction.” That’s legalese for having your driver’s license suspended for a year. Additional costs include court costs and fees, plus DMV surcharges, all of which can add up to a substantial financial penalty.
But a second offender is subject to even stiffer penalties; a second conviction carries the following penalties:
- A fine of up to $5,000
- 14 days in prison
- 30 days of court-ordered community service
- A two-year suspension of one’s driver’s license
In addition, the offender’s driver’s license is not automatically reinstated. After the two-year period following conviction has expired, the convicted “may make application to the Director of the Division of Motor Vehicles for a license … which application may be granted at the discretion of the director [emphasis added]. The director’s discretion shall be based upon an assessment of the likelihood that the individual will operate or cause a motor vehicle to be operated in the future without the [required] insurance coverage.”
Defenses for Driving Without Insurance in New Jersey
In the past, the Law Offices of Michele Finizio has successfully represented defendants accused of driving without insurance in New Jersey using arguments such as:
- The driver did not know that the automobile was uninsured (and had no reason to know it)
- The automobile was not registered in New Jersey (or not principally garaged in New Jersey)
- The accused’s insurance company canceled or did not renew the policy and did not inform the car’s owner in a timely fashion, as required by the New Jersey Administrative Code
However, the circumstances surrounding each case and each individual are different; a reputable attorney can help you determine the best course of action or defense strategy in your particular situation.
Contact an Experienced Defense Attorney to Schedule a Free Consultation Today
If you’ve been charged with driving without insurance in Burlington County, Camden County, Atlantic County, Gloucester County or Mercer County, contact the Law Offices of Michele Finizio for a free, confidential consultation. Over the years we have successfully represented countless uninsured drivers in New Jersey municipal courts. We offer reasonable fees, custom payment plans, and accept Visa®, Mastercard® and American Express® cards. The Law Offices of Michele Finizio are located on East Main Street in Moorestown, across from the Community Center. Contact us online 24 hours a day/seven days a week, or call us for a free consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions about Driving without Insurance in New Jersey
If you get into a car accident without insurance in the Garden State you might face criminal charges, as section 39:6B-1(a) of the N.J.S.A. requires every owner or registered owner of a motor vehicle to maintain insurance coverage. The penalties for violations of the law are spelled out in N.J.S.A. 39:6B-2, with the penalties for a first conviction to include a fine of at least $300 (but not more than $1,000), a period of community service, and a one-year suspension of your driver’s license.
In addition, N.J.S.A. 39:6A-4.5 bars uninsured motorists that are injured from suing and recovering economic and non-economic damages. This concept is colloquially referred to as “No Pay, No Play,” and the theory behind it is that it’s not fair for you to benefit from another party’s compliance with the law while you deny that benefit to others. Though the law has been challenged, the New Jersey Supreme Court upheld the state’s No Pay No Play law as constitutional in Caviglia v. Royal Tours of America (2004).
The minimum amount of car insurance you must have is spelled out in N.J.S.A. 39:6B-1(a), which requires at least $15,000 of liability coverage for injury or death of one person in any one accident, at least $30,000 of coverage for injury or the death of more than one person in any one accident, and a minimum of $5,000 for property damage. But in most cases, minimum coverage isn’t all you should have, because you may be responsible if costs exceed your coverage limits. This is why many drivers choose policies that cover much more than the required minimums, especially those drivers who have assets that can be seized.
This scenario is covered in N.J.S.A. 39:3-29, which tells us that you need to have your driver’s license, registration and insurance identification card in your possession whenever you are in charge of a motor vehicle in New Jersey, and that you must present your license, registration and insurance identification card (that latter in either paper or electronic form) when requested to do so by a police officer.
If you are unable to produce proof of insurance and the other required documentation, the prescribed fine is $150. If when summoned to answer the charge, you can produce your driver’s license, registration certificate and insurance identification card—all valid on the day of the citation—then the municipal court judge may dismiss the charge. However, it’s likely the judge will still impose court costs.