Driving Without Insurance
There are over 250 millions cars on American roads and highways. And when there are so many vehicles on the road, it means that motor vehicle accidents are common. So common, in fact, that most states require that all drivers have minimum liability insurance coverage to make sure that those injured aren’t responsible for someone else’s negligence. New Jersey is one of these states. Here is a guide to the laws covering minimum liability insurance and the penalties for breaking them.
New Jersey Statute 39:6B-2 requires that drivers carry insurance that covers injuries, deaths, and property damage.
- Injuries: The law requires that the policy has at least $15,000 to cover injuries to another person. For more than one person, the requirement is a minimum of $30,000 in insurance coverage.
- Death. The same numbers apply in the case that a person (or more than one) person dies in an accident.
- Property Damage. The last category that the law requires coverage on is for property damage, such as other vehicles. The state minimum is $5,000.
If you are caught driving on New Jersey roads without the minimum insurance coverage, there are a number of possible consequences. As a policy, the state takes driving without insurance seriously, and the penalties often exceed those for a first-time DUI. Offenders are brought in front of a municipal court judge to determine which punishment is necessary.
- Fines. New Jersey law says that a first-time offense earns the driver a minimum fine of $300, and can even be bumped up to $1,000 depending on the circumstances. For each subsequent conviction, a driver can earn up to $5,000.
- Community Service. The judge in charge of the case will take the circumstances of the offense into consideration and can order the convicted person to serve community service. The amount of time, type of service, and time period to complete the service vary based on the offense and the judge. Repeat offenders often are ordered to complete 30 days of community service.
- License Suspension. An additional punishment that New Jersey law dictates for not having insurance is the suspension of a person’s driver’s’ license. The suspension time for a first offense is one year, with each subsequent conviction receiving a two-year suspension.
- Jail Time. Repeat offenders can face a period of 14 days in jail for a conviction.
- Other Penalties. Whether a first time or repeat offender, in addition to any fines the defendant is responsible for court costs related to their case. The state of New Jersey also requires these individuals to pay what is known as a “surcharge,” a $250 payment to the Department of Motor Vehicles that go into the Uninsured Motorist Prevention Fund along with interest. This “surcharge” must be paid for three years and goes towards enforcement of uninsured motorist laws.
In order to reinstate your driver’s license after a suspension, you need to apply for an entirely new one with the Director of the Division of Motor Vehicles. It is then the director’s job to assess the situation and judge whether or not you are likely to offend again. He or she can refuse to reinstate it permanently if they see fit. Multiple convictions of violating these laws can also negatively affect your ability to get affordable insurance in the future.
There are a few defenses to consider with driving without insurance. If you are driving a friend or family member’s car and are unaware they don’t carry insurance on the vehicle, you may escape charges and fines. Be sure to consult an attorney to determine if any of these defenses apply.
Contact A Criminal Defense Lawyer to Discuss Your Case Today
Were you arrested or charged with driving without insurance in New Jersey? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The skilled attorneys at Rudnick, Addonizio, Pappa & Casazza represent clients in Hazlet, Middletown, Red Bank, Matawan, Marlboro and throughout New Jersey. Call 866-567-0135 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at in East Brunswick at 197 State Route 18 South Suite 3000, East Brunswick, NJ 08816, and one at Park Village, 25 Village Court Highway #35, Hazlet, NJ 07730.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.