Defenses to Driving Without Insurance

If you have been charged with driving without insurance in Newark NJ, contact a Newark traffic violation lawyer immediately to determine the defenses you may have to this serious motor vehicle offense.

The penalties for driving without insurance are as follows:

  1. For a first offense, one years loss of license, fine between $300 and $1000, community service.
  2. For subsequent offenses, a fine of up to $5000, subject to 14 days in jail, 30 days community service, 2 years loss of license.

If, at the time of trial, the defendants fails to provide a valid insurance card or policy, it creates a rebuttable presumption that the defendant is uninsured. To be clear, this means that the state, at least initially, does not have to prove that you had no insurance. It is the burden of the defense to prove that the defendant either had a valid policy or show that the policy was not validly canceled. Both the owner of the vehicle and the operator can be issued a summons for no insurance if either “caused” the vehicle to be operated

The last two sentences of the preceding paragraph address two of the most important defenses. As indicated, the registered owner of the vehicle will typically be the operator. If someone other than the owner is operating the vehicle at ticket for no insurance can still be issued. Yet if someone other than the owner is issued a ticket for no insurance the state must show that the operator knew or should of known by the attendant circumstances that the vehicle was uninsured. The case law that has examined this issue appears to apply a sliding scale analysis. The closer the relationship between parties, the more likely the finder of fact to impart that knowledge onto the defendant. Nonetheless, these are fact specific cases. In my experience, I have successfully defended members of the same household by showing that it was virtually impossible for the operator to know that the vehicle was uninsured. But this is a difficult and technical defense to assert and must be carefully crafted.

The most frequently asserted defense in no insurance cases is the failure of the insurance company to properly cancel the insurance policy. Title 17 of the New Jersey Statutes lays out the necessary steps that an insurance company must follow in order to properly cancel insurance. Proving that the insurance company failed to follow procedure is also an involved and technical defense. The process of shifting the burden back to the state is challenging. No insurance cases often must be tried and require multiple court appearances.

I have extensive experience defending those charged with this serious traffic violation all over the state. The stakes are too high. If charged with this offense,  I would urge you to seek counsel. I can be reached 24 hrs a day at the number to the right.