If you are an uninsured driver in Hamilton, NJ, you will need to pay a ticket to their Municipal Court. Those found guilty will face up to $300 to $1,000 worth of fines, a designated amount of community service hours, and a year-long license suspension. Any subsequent charges following the first offense will increase these punishments considerably, with the addition of jail time. Most states enact this law to ensure that any potential victims have financial relief if a vehicle accident occurs. These are some of the ways New Jersey drivers can defend themselves from driving without insurance charges.
Know the Law
Understanding the parameters of the law and how to follow it will help protect individuals from facing arrest, to begin with. Under N.J.S.A. 39:6B-2, owners of registered motor vehicles must carry their proof of insurance with them. If they do not have it, then they violate N.J.S.A. 39:6B-1, which prohibits individuals from driving on New Jersey public roads or highways without insurance. The specific insurance that drivers must own in New Jersey is $5,000 for any property damage, $15,000 for the death or bodily injury of a person, and $30,000 for the death or injury of multiple people. Contact your insurance company for more details on how to acquire them so you can avoid becoming an uninsured driver.
Provide Proof of Insurance
If you are charged with driving without insurance, the New Jersey Municipal Court will ask you to provide an insurance policy or card that was active during the same time as the arrest: failure to present it will result in jail time. Keeping your insurance coverage on hand will ensure you have it ready to submit in a timely manner, in addition to your license and registration.
You Did Not Receive Notice of Cancellation
There are several past cases where uninsured drivers were not charged with driving without insurance due to various forces outside their control. In State v. Hochman, 188 N.J. 382, a conviction was overturned when it was proven the defendant’s insurance company mailed the letter of the cancellation notice to the wrong address. In another case, Matland v. United States Automobile Association, 174 N.J. Super. 499, an offender was let go because their husband canceled the insurance without their knowledge. In both instances, the defendants were let go because they were not informed of the cancellation of their auto insurance. If you find yourself in a similar circumstance, be sure to notify your attorney.
You Were Driving Someone Else’s Vehicle
Even if you are not an uninsured driver, it is still possible to face charges for driving uninsured if the vehicle you were operating belonged to someone else who did not have insurance. However, so long as you can prove that you did not own the uninsured vehicle you were driving at the time of arrest, you can defend against charges. Instead, the person who owned the car you drove will face charges. If you ever need to lend a friend or family member your vehicle, ensure you have insurance for it; you will be the one being fined, not them.
There Was a Lapse of Coverage
On some occasions, the state will charge an individual for driving without insurance when their coverage lapsed: this means that the driver failed to pay for the insurance in time, and it expired. However, it’s possible that the owner did not know of the lapse during their arrest. If they are able to pay their insurance once they are notified, they can avoid fines. Additionally, a lapse may occur if they transition to a new insurance company. To prevent either scenario from happening, always make sure to pay for your insurance on time.
If you ever need a DWI Lawyer in Hamilton, NJ, contact The Law Office of Zapicchi & Zeller LLC for assistance.