Operating without Insurance Charges

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Are You Facing a NY VTL § 319, Operating without Insurance Charges in NY?

Our New York State traffic ticket defense lawyers have extensive experience in defending New York and out of state Motorists against the charge of operating without insurance, NY VTL § 319, also known as operating without financial security or uninsured motorist. If you have been arrested, charged with, or given a ticket or summons for operating without insurance in NY, call our NY auto insurance defense lawyers for a free consultation to find out how we can help.

What is NY VTL § 319?

Under the Motor Vehicle Financial Security Act all motorists must ensure that their vehicle has liability insurance upon it at all times while registered. In the event a vehicle’s insurance lapses, the registered owner’s driver’s license is immediately suspended. Moreover, anyone caught operating a vehicle which is uninsured is subject to being charged with uninsured motorist operation. Moreover, there is no defense in the fact that a guest operator did not have knowledge of the lack of insurance.

While violation of NY VTL § 319 is an infraction, the court penalties are severe. They include:

  • Fines up to $1,500.00
  • imprisonment up to 15 days (not mandatory)
  • In addition to the court penalties and fines, the NYS DMV tacks on the following civil penalties:
  • A fine, called an assessment, of $750.00; and
  • A license or driving privilege revocation for out of state drivers for a minimum of 1 year.
  • Both of these penalties from the DMV are mandatory and unwaivable, unless the motorist demands a hearing regarding the veracity of the civil penalty. Upon timely demand the civil penalty (assessment and revocation) is stayed, unless the person was both the owner and the operator. At the hearing the motorist has the burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence. If the operator but not the owner, the operator must prove that he or she had no knowledge of the lack of insurance. If the person was the owner but not the operator, the owner must prove that they did not give consent and permission for the operator to drive the vehicle.

Proof of uninsured status

It is required that every motor vehicle operator or driver have on his possession a valid insurance card. The card must be displayed to a police officer upon demand. An insurance card indicating valid automobile liability must be produced, and failure to produce same is prima facie evidence that the vehicle is uninsured. See, NY VTL § 319(3). Moreover, producing an invalid or expired insurance card is illegal, and producing such a card upon demand is not an infraction but a crime. See, NY VTL § 319(2).

Defending your NY uninsured motorist ticket

Uninsured motorist tickets are challenging not only because of the license revocation, but also because usually there are other charges as well. Usually a moving violation is the predicate for the stop, and only after stopping the motorist do the police realize that the vehicle is uninsured. Often times the other charges that the motorist faces are criminal such as NY VTL § 511, aggravated unlicensed operation. So often with an uninsured motorist charge the service is 2 fold – 1) avoid the conviction of the insurance charge, and 2) avoid the criminal conviction and / or the moving violation to keep your license as clean as possible.

When charged with uninsured motorist, often times the motorist just did not have their insurance card with them. Whether we are in the NYC DMV TVB or a City, Town or Village Court, our office has great success in getting those tickets dismissed. However, it is not as simple as producing an insurance card. Our office can obtain from the NYS DMV the proper proofs and records for the court to have your ticket dismissed.

If our client really did not have insurance on the vehicle at the time of the stop, all is not lost. We are likewise successful in obtaining a reduction or dismissal of those tickets as well. However, there is a lot more work we have to put into it for our clients. Nonetheless, it must be done to avoid the 1 year license revocation upon conviction.

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