The penalties under New Jersey law for driving without auto insurance are severe, approaching those levied for DUI convictions. The monetary fine can be set anywhere from $300 to $1000, there is a mandatory one year license suspension, and community service is ordered as determined by the court. This year-long suspension can seem particularly harsh, given the relative leniency of other states in this regard (Connecticut has a 6 month suspension, Pennsylvania has 3 months, and Massachusetts has only 60 days). The penalties for a second conviction include 14 days of imprisonment, a fine of up to $5000, and 2 years of license suspension.
That year-long suspension can seem Draconian, especially since a DUI conviction (of BAC greater than .08% but less than .1%) carries a suspension of only 3 months. Remember, though, that the law requiring all cars to be insured is a matter of public safety. Even if you are a flawless driver, not everyone else is. If you let your insurance lapse and someone else hits you, it will be very difficult to be able to get the compensation you need to pay for damage to your vehicle or medical bills.
The court does not have to prove that a driver knowingly operated a motor vehicle without insurance: it is enough that the driver “should know from the attendant circumstances” that the vehicle has no liability coverage. An affirmative defense against this charge would be to provide documentation in court that the vehicle did actually have liability coverage at the time of the ticket.
If you believe you have been ticketed for driving without insurance in error or you need legal representation for this offense, don’t delay: seek legal representation as soon as possible to protect your rights and mount a defense against these penalties! Contact The Morano Law Firm at 201-598-5019 or firstname.lastname@example.org today!