Steep Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in New York

Hundreds of thousands of motorists use New York’s roadways each day. In New York, each vehicle on its roads must be covered by an auto insurance policy to properly adhere to the traffic and insurance laws within the state. However, in 2015, there was an estimated 6.1% of motorists within the state that continued to drive without proper auto insurance in place. This can result in harsh penalties.

Operating a motor vehicle without auto insurance in New York is considered a criminal offense, as per Article 6 Section 319 of the New York Vehicle and Traffic code. All drivers in New York, including those that are from out of state, must have valid auto insurance when driving on all New York roadways, under the New York State financial responsibility law. If one does not have the proper insurance policy in place, they may be subject to steep fines, imprisonment, license revocation, and/or vehicle revocation for at least one year, especially if a traffic accident had occurred. Fines can be up to $1,500 and imprisonment can last up to fifteen days if one is prosecuted for operating a motor vehicle without auto insurance coverage. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can also impose an additional civil penalty of up to $750 for one to take possession of a previously-revoked driver’s license.

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles has outlined a few options to avoid problems when auto insurance has lapsed. The main rule is simply stated: “no insurance, no plates!” The Department of Motor Vehicles must always be notified of your current address and vehicle registration. Also, it is necessary to keep a valid New York State insurance policy on your vehicle as long as your vehicle is registered in New York, in which your insurance provider must be a company licensed by the New York State Department of Financial Services. Lastly, if your New York State auto insurance is going to expire for any reason, it is important to surrender your license plates to the Department of Motor Vehicles prior to the expiration of your coverage and to obtain a receipt of plate surrender.

Violating these laws can result in harsh penalties and plenty of headaches along the way. To avoid issues, it is imperative that you make sure your auto insurance policy is up-to-date and that the Department of Motor Vehicles has all of the proper information on file for you and your vehicle. If you have been ticketed, fined, imprisoned, and/or had your license and registration suspended for lack of insurance, it is best to consult an experienced New York and Long Island traffic law attorney to assist you with handling the charges against you.

The skilled Suffolk County traffic lawyers at McGuire, Peláez & Bennett, P.C. have experience in handing numerous traffic law cases, including those that involve a lack of insurance. The attorneys are available in Central Islip and throughout Suffolk County 24 hours a day, seven days a week to guide you through the process of regaining your license and/or vehicle. Call (631) 348-1702 for more information or to schedule a consultation.

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