In MA, drivers are required to carry liability insurance. The minimum requirements are $20,000 per person for bodily injury, $40,000 per accident for bodily injury, $8,000 for personal injury protection, and $5,000 to cover property damages and a portion of uninsured/underinsured motorist protection. Driving without insurance, or with a policy that doesn’t meet these minimum requirements, is a civil motor vehicle infraction (CMVI) in MA.
Is Driving Without Insurance a Crime?
It depends. If this is your first offense, chances are you won’t see jail time. However, if this is a second or subsequent offense, or someone was injured, it might be a different story entirely. Even if you are not criminally charged, a first offense does carry fines and a license suspension. In addition to a $500 fine, you are likely to lose your license for 60 days and pay an additional $500 to get it reinstated.
At first glance, jail time and hefty fines may seem a harsh punishment for neglecting to purchase auto insurance. But there’s a reason why motor vehicle insurance is so important. If you are involved in a collision, people could be seriously injured or killed. What if you are the at-fault driver? Who will pay the medical expenses and lost wages for those who are injured? Who will cover funeral expenses if someone is killed?
Generally, these expenses are at least partially covered by the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. If you drive without insurance, accident victims could be facing more than injuries; they could also be facing a financial catastrophe. For this reason, it is required by law to carry auto insurance before you take to the open road. A MA defense lawyer can help you protect your rights if you are facing penalties for driving without insurance.
Penalties for Operating an Uninsured Vehicle
MA is tough on drivers who hit the roadways without insurance. Even for a first offense. But what about second and subsequent offenses?
If a second offense occurs within six years of your first offense, you are looking at a fine of up to $5,000, a one-year license suspension, one year in jail, and a $500 license reinstatement fee. That’s a lot of money and time behind bars. The moral to this story? Don’t drive without insurance. But if you made a mistake, an experienced Boston defense attorney can help you determine how to proceed.
Disputing a Citation for Driving an Uninsured Vehicle
If you have received a CMVI citation, it’s in your best interest to contact an attorney immediately. You have 20 days in which to request a hearing, and pay the corresponding fee to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles. But you have to do it right. Failure to pay your fine, or file a dispute in a timely manner, can result in additional fines and the suspension of your license.
Altman & Altman, LLP – Boston’s Top Criminal Defense Law Firm
If you are facing civil or criminal penalties for driving without insurance, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We will look at the unique details of your case to determine how to position you for the most favorable outcome. Our experienced, knowledgeable attorneys have an impressive track record of getting clients’ charges reduced, or dismissed altogether. At Altman & Altman, LLP, we understand that good people sometimes find themselves in a situation where they see no option but to drive without insurance, or even on a suspended license. Life happens. If you drove without insurance and are now facing the consequences, we can help. Don’t go through this difficult time alone. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.