Have You Been Charged with No Proof of Insurance or Driving Without Insurance in Georgia?
O.C.G.A. § 40-6-10 - Insurance requirements for operation of motor vehicles generally explained in detail:
The owner or operator of a motor vehicle in Georgia must have adequate minimum insurance coverage. The key words in the statute are owner or operator. That means that someone borrowing the car of another cannot use the lack of ownership as a defense if the automobile is not insured.
Any person who fails to comply with the requirements of this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be subject to a fine of not less than $200.00 nor more than $1,000.00 or imprisonment for not more than 12 months, or both.
One Statute O.C.G.A. § 40-6-10 – Two Different Offenses:
Driving Without Valid Insurance:
If a person does not have valid insurance or a vehicle is not insured by its owner, they will be charged with Driving without insurance and subject to the full misdemeanor consequences mentioned above. This includes imprisonment for up to 12 months, $1000 in fines, and the loss of their privilege to drive for at least 60 days to 90 days.
Because of the severe consequences of this offense, we suggest that a person hires a qualified Georgia Traffic Ticket Attorney if charged. If this charge is in association with a DUI Offense, then a person should most certainly hire a qualified Georgia DUI Lawyer.
No Proof of Insurance:
When a person has insurance but does not provide proof to a police officer, they will be charged with No Proof of Insurance. The maximum fine, in this situation, cannot exceed $25. When a person attends court, the prosecutor (solicitor) will ask the accused if they had valid insurance when they were ticketed.
It is important to bring the insurance card or binder in effect as of the date of the charge. Keep in mind that court appearances can be weeks or months after a person is charged. Bring the correct insurance card to court. You will not need a lawyer if this is the only offense, and the court will reduce the fine to $25 or less. Many courts will simply dismiss the charge if you had insurance at the time of the ticket.
In the event the ticket is reduced from No Insurance to No Proof of Insurance, the court clerk will NOT report the conviction to the Department of Driver Services or your insurance company. Other than the payment of the $25 fine, it will be like it never happened.
Insurance Lapse – Consequences:
Many people do not realize that their insurance company will send a notice of insurance lapse to the State of Georgia for failure to pay insurance premiums. This can lead to a person having their license suspended. Driving with a suspended license has severe consequences, such as time in jail, fines of $500 - $1000, and a further suspension of your license for at least 6 months. Do not allow this to happen!
Your insurance company will give you a 30-day grace period. If your insurance does lapse more than 30 days, you will have to pay a $25 lapse fee and a $60 license reinstatement fee. Remember, like all drivers' license suspensions, your license will Not reinstate itself. You have to take active steps to reinstate your license, or it will remain suspended indefinitely.
Practical tips when a client is charged with No Insurance in Georgia:
Many people charged with Driving Without Insurance quickly go and get coverage. They were not insured at time they were ticketed, but they quickly get coverage. They are technically guilty but quickly rectified the problem. This is where having a skilled negotiator on your side can help. Our Georgia Traffic Ticket Lawyers help people with No Insurance charges by arguing for a reduction of the offense to no proof of insurance. This can happen even in situations where a person is technically guilty. The sooner you get coverage, the better.
Further, an alternative is to enter a Nolo (no contest) plea to the charge. Once every 5 years, a person can plead nolo. This will save the 60-day license suspension that would go with the charge of Driving Without Insurance. It effectively gives someone one chance to make things right with the State. However, there is not reduction in fines when a person pleads no contest.
- A driver must show acceptable proof insurance regardless of who owns the vehicle. There is no exception to this rule, and your good faith belief that a vehicle is covered is not a defense.
- If you are driving someone else's car, your own insurance may cover you depending on your individual policy. This would be a complete defense to the charge of Driving Without Insurance in Georgia.
- Your insurance company will report insurance coverage to the State of Georgia and associate it with your V.I.N. Make sure your insurance company has the correct vehicle identification number. The police will check the vehicle for coverage and may still cite you for No Proof of Insurance if your car's V.I.N. does not show coverage at time the police check it.
- If you did not have insurance and are involved in an accident, you will have a major problem. The victim's insurance company will cover their vehicle damage under their un-insured motorist coverage. Then their insurance company will attempt to collect from you. If you cannot pay, they can suspend your driver's license. They will also file a lawsuit for damages and subrogation. The traffic court judge will not look kindly upon you in this situation as well. Your only chance is the pay the claim yourself. (Which for most people would very difficult). That being said, if you can pay the claim, you still have a chance to enter a nolo plea and keep your license.
We Can Help:
If you are charged with Driving Without Insurance or No Proof of Insurance, call now. Our Georgia Traffic Ticket Attorneys are here 24/7 to help. No case is hopeless. No situation is impossible. We can help save your license get your back on the road as soon as possible. Act now. Your case will not defense itself.