Can You Be Arrested for Driving Without Insurance in Utah?
Many people may let their insurance lapse by accident or to save money, but driving without insurance in Utah can land you in serious legal trouble. The penalties and fines for being caught driving a vehicle without insurance will certainly not help you save money. Jail time and driver’s license suspensions are just some of the possible consequences of driving without insurance. If you or a family member was arrested for driving without insurance in Utah, you should speak with an experienced Salt Lake City traffic ticket lawyer. With extensive criminal law experience, Utah criminal lawyer Darwin Overson can help you fight your case. Overson Law explains when you can be arrested for driving without insurance in Utah.
Utah’s Vehicle Insurance Laws
It is illegal to operate a vehicle without insurance on Utah’s roads. Utah requires that every passenger vehicle or truck maintain no-fault auto insurance. Section 41-12a-301 of Utah’s Motor Vehicles Traffic Code deals with Utah’s insurance requirements, otherwise known as “owner’s or operator’s security.” The Utah Code also states that every resident of Utah that owns a vehicle must have a valid insurance policy whenever they drive “on a highway or on a quasi-public road or parking area within the state.”
If you are not a resident of Utah, but your vehicle is physically present in the state for at least 90 days out of the past year, you must also meet these requirements. Otherwise, you must meet your home state’s requirements.
The following vehicles do not require insurance to drive in Utah:
- “Off-highway vehicles” used legally on Utah’s roads
- Tractors and farm equipment
- Motorized bicycles
- Motorized scooters
- Mobility scooters and motorized wheelchairs
- Authorized school buses
Penalties for Breaking Utah’s Insurance Regulations
If you break Utah’s insurance regulations, you will likely be charged with a class C misdemeanor. Class C misdemeanors carry a possible jail term of up to 90 days and a maximum of $1,000 in fines. It does not matter if you were operating the vehicle personally or you allowed the vehicle to be operated by another person; you will still be charged with a misdemeanor. When you are found breaking this law, you can be arrested, taken to jail, booked, and released on bail. You will have to appear in court for any scheduled court dates. Especially if you are charged with additional traffic offenses like reckless driving or drunk driving, the results could be extremely serious.
Additionally, if you were operating another person’s vehicle and you knew that person did not have insurance, you will be charged with a class C misdemeanor. A second or subsequent offense for this crime will result in additional penalties. For example, you will be fined $1,000 for another violation of this law occurring “within three years of a previous conviction.”
Utah also regularly checks their motor vehicle registration listings against a list of registered insurance policies for Utah residents. If you have registered your vehicle but do not have active insurance, the state will send you a letter to verify proof of insurance. If you do not provide proof of insurance to Utah’s Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or law enforcement, you may be charged with a class B misdemeanor. Class B misdemeanors carry a possible jail sentence of up to six months and a maximum of $1,000 in fines.
Utah’s DMV may also suspend your vehicle’s registration if you are convicted of driving without insurance, making it illegal to drive the unregistered vehicle. Additionally, Utah’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) must suspend your driver’s license if you are convicted of this offense. Your suspended license and registration may not be reinstated until you show proof of insurance and handle any other penalties.
DPS may also monitor your actions for a period of time after being convicted of driving without insurance. This ensures that you do not turn around and cancel your insurance policy once you get your license and registration restored.
To learn more about the consequences of driving without insurance in Utah, you should speak with an experienced traffic violations defense attorney.
Community Service for Class B & C Misdemeanors
“Compensatory service” is an alternative to paying a criminal fine. The offender performs unpaid community service work instead of paying a fine, and every hour of work is worth $10. There are various organizations that an offender can perform work for:
- State or local government agencies
- Nonprofit organizations
- Any entity or organization approved the court
Salt Lake City Criminal Defense Attorneys Will Help You Litigate Your Insurance Case
If you or a family member was caught driving without insurance, you should consult with an experienced Salt Lake City criminal defense attorney. Darwin Overson is prepared to fight your case and help you reclaim your freedom and driving privileges. Darwin knows how difficult it can be to face hundreds of dollars in fines for a traffic offense and will help you pursue the legal outcome you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, call us at (801) 733-1308, or reach us online.