PENALTY FOR DRIVING WITHOUT INSURANCE NEEDS TO BE ENFORCED
Our car accident lawyers frequently get cases where there is no insurance for the other vehicle that caused the accident.
Driving without insurance is a misdemeanor in Minnesota. The statute that addresses this is Minn.Stat. Section 169.797. (There is also a separate law and penalty for not producing proof of insurance at the time requested by a police officer.) Penalties and fines are assessed for driving without insurance after your first and second offense, and increase dramatically after. Upon your third offense within 10 years, you could be found guilty of a gross misdemeanor, which means losing your driver’s license and registration for an entire year and spending up to 90 days in jail. Fines could go as high as $3,000 in Minnesota for driving uninsured. There is also a penalty to the owner for owning an uninsured vehicle even if someone else is driving it, and a separate penalty for the driver of an uninsured vehicle who does not own the car but knows that the car has no insurance.
|First & Second Offenses||Third Offense|
|Driving Privilege||Driver’s license, registration and license plates suspended for up to 30 days.||Driver’s license, registration and license plates suspended for up to one year.|
|Community Service & Imprisonment||Possible community service in lieu of fine.||Possible community service in lieu of fine, and no more than 90 days in jail.|
|Reinstatement fee||$30 fee, and SR-22 certificate.||$30, and SR-22 certificate.|
One of the frustrations that our car accident attorneys have is that these Minnesota penalties are rarely enforced against uninsured drivers and vehicle owners. The responding police officer often won’t issue a citation, even if the driver admits to driving without insurance. And when the other driver gives false insurance information, e.g. shows an insurance card but the insurance policy lapsed or is not in force, the police will only rarely follow up on that criminal act.
When an uninsured driver causes an auto accident, it results in a number of problems: The person that was hit can’t get their car repaired unless they have collision coverage, and then they still have to pay a deductible even though the accident was the other driver’s fault. Driving without auto insurance is also a problem for everyone because it makes the insured drivers’ cost of insurance go up — when you buy car insurance, part of what you are insuring against is the possibility that you will get hit by an uninsured driver. If there were fewer uninsured drivers, that risk would go down and the cost of your insurance would go down.
If you are in an auto accident and the other driver doesn’t have insurance, call us and speak with a lawyer for a free consultation. We will help you get the uninsured compensation you are entitled to from your auto insurance company, and we will work with the police to encourage them to prosecute the uninsured driver.