According to New Jersey traffic law, it is a violation to drive without insurance. If a driver is operating a motor vehicle without insurance, they will receive penalties including fines, community service, DMV surcharges, license suspension, and sometimes even jail time. The penalties vary based on whether it was a first or subsequent offense. If you are facing charges of driving without insurance, not all hope is lost. By working with a good attorney, the charges can often be dismissed or at least downgraded so that you aren’t facing the harshest penalties. Leon Matchin is a New Jersey attorney who has helped many drivers escape uninsured driving charges. He has years of experience and can craft a good defense for your case to attempt to get the charge dropped. The first step is learning about what happens when a driver is operating a motor vehicle without insurance.

New Jersey Traffic Law – Operating a Motor Vehicle Without Insurance 

New Jersey Law Statute N.J.S.A 39:6B-1 states the following: “Every owner or registered owner of a motor vehicle registered or principally garaged in this State shall maintain motor vehicle liability insurance coverage.” The statute goes on to precisely define how much insurance each driver needs to obtain. The policy must cover the driver for the following amounts:

  • $15,000 to account for the injury or death of one person in an accident
  • $30,000 to account for the injury or death of more than one person in an accident
  • $5,000 to account for property damage in an accident

Every person who has a car registered or primarily garaged in the state of New Jersey needs to make sure that their insurance covers them for the above amounts. If an uninsured driver gets into an accident, they will face driving without insurance charges. As a result, they will also have to face the associated consequences.

Driving Without Insurance: Consequences

The next statute shows the penalties associated with driving without insurance. New Jersey Law Statute N.J.S.A 39:6B-2 describes the different penalties based on the offense.

  • First Offense: Fine between $300 and $1,000, a period of community service assigned by the court, forfeit right to drive for a year.
  • Subsequent Offense: Fine up to $5,000, jail time of 14 days, community service for 30 days, forfeit right to drive for two years. After the two years, the driver can apply to the director of the DMV for a license. The decision to grant the license is at the discretion of the director. 

As you can see, driving without insurance comes with some steep penalties, especially when it is a subsequent offense. High fines, jail time, and a suspended license are all things that can be very disruptive to one’s life. Without a license, it can be hard to hold down a job. The fines can place a financial burden on the driver. Jail time goes on a permanent record. It can affect your ability to get a job or apply for college in the future. In addition to the legal penalties, there are other consequences as well. If you were driving without insurance and got into an accident, you would have to pay the fees typically covered by insurance out of your own pocket. Additionally, when you get car insurance in the future, you could face higher rates due to your past violations.

Working with an Attorney 

An attorney like Leon Matchin can help defendants who drove without insurance have charges completely dropped or at least downgraded. It all depends on the situation. Here are some potential defenses:

  • Insurance Cancelled Without Driver Knowing: Sometimes, an insurance policy will be canceled without the knowledge of the driver. This means the driver thinks that they have insurance when they don’t. 
  • Recent Move: Did you know that different states have different insurance requirements? For example, in the state of Virginia, you can opt-out of having to carry car insurance if you pay the DMV a fee of $500. If you just moved to New Jersey, you may think you are following insurance laws based on what was allowed in your previous state. This can be a defense in court. 
  • You Didn’t Have Your Insurance Card on You: Perhaps you are insured but you didn’t have your insurance card on you at the time. In this case, the charge can be downgraded to a “failing to exhibit documents” charge.
  • Vehicle Not Registered or Principally Garaged in New Jersey: Another way to have the charge dismissed is if the car being driven is not registered or principally garaged in the state of New Jersey. This means the driver doesn’t have to meet the insurance requirements set by New Jersey as they are insured in another state.

When you meet with your attorney, share with them all the details of your situation. By collecting the facts and evidence, an experienced attorney can create a case with a good defense.

How an Attorney Can Help You With New Jersey Traffic Law

A driving without insurance charge is scary. Upon learning of the consequences, many drivers fear the harsh penalties. These can be expensive fines, community service, license suspension, and jail time if it’s a subsequent offense. Before you panic, though, contact a lawyer to help you with your case. A good attorney can comb through the facts surrounding your case. They will create a defense to potentially have charges dropped or downgraded. With a good lawyer on your side, you can rest assured that your case is in good hands. If you’re facing driving without isnsurance charges, don’t wait another minute! Contact New Jersey attorney Leon Matchin right away by phone at 732-887-2479, or email him at [email protected]