The Penalties for Driving without Insurance in Utah
To some, driving without insurance in Utah seems like a minor offense that is easily handled. However, operating an uninsured vehicle could cause a person to be involved in a significant amount of legal trouble. Not only can a person face jail time for this offense, but the fines they will have to pay will be extensive. If you or a family member was arrested for driving without car insurance, contact an experienced Salt Lake City traffic violations lawyer today. At Overson Law, PLLC, we understand the stress of being arrested for a crime, and we are here to help offer legal aid in your time of need. Darwin Overson is here to explain the penalties for driving without insurance in Utah.
Vehicle Insurance Laws in Utah
Before operating a motor vehicle on Utah roads, it is important to obtain insurance for the vehicle you seek to drive. Specifically, Utah requires that every motorist have no-fault insurance for as long as their vehicle is registered, whether they are driving a passenger car or a truck. While these insurance requirements apply to owners of a vehicle that live within the State of Utah, there are other circumstances where a motorist will require no-fault insurance:
- The owner or driver of the vehicle does not reside in Utah, but their vehicle has been inside the state for at least 90 days in the preceding 365 days
- A motor vehicle has owner and operator liability coverage
When a driver is pulled over, they must be able to present proof of their vehicle insurance on demand. However, Utah allows motorists to provide physical or electronic proof of insurance.
Utah also performs insurance verification for every vehicle that is registered to a resident of the state. All motor vehicle registrations are compared to a database that lists the vehicle insurance policies purchased by Utah residents. If a resident of Utah has a registered vehicle but does not have insurance, the state will send the resident a letter requesting proof of insurance.
When the owner of the vehicle fails to provide proof of insurance after receiving a request for insurance, Utah’s Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and law enforcement will be alerted to the motorist’s lack of insurance. If this happens, a motorist could be stopped and arrested the next time they commit a traffic offense. In some cases, the state may institute criminal offenses without needing to pull the driver over.
To learn more about the penalties for failing to have vehicle insurance in Utah, you should continue reading and consult with an experienced Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer.
Penalties for Failure to Insure a Vehicle
There are multiple penalties and consequences for failure to insure a vehicle in the State of Utah. For example, if a motorist is found to be operating a vehicle without no-fault insurance, Utah’s DMV may institute a hearing that could result in the DMV suspending the registration of the uninsured vehicle.
Another possibility is that the State of Utah will charge the uninsured motorist with a Class B misdemeanor. While a misdemeanor is not as serious as a felony, a misdemeanor can still result in jail time and a hefty fine. In Utah, a Class B misdemeanor carries a maximum jail term of six months in jail and typically a $400 fine for a first offense. Subsequent offenses within three years of the previous offense will result in higher fines.
Additionally, if a defendant is convicted for failure to have car insurance, Utah’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) has the authority to suspend the driver’s license of the defendant. A suspended driver’s license in Utah may not be reinstated by the DPS until the driver provides proof of insurance and pays a $100 reinstatement fee.
Once a defendant is convicted for driving without insurance, the DPS can supervise the defendant for a period of three years. If a defendant does not maintain their car insurance during this three-year span, they will have to surrender their license to DPS when their insurance lapses.
It is important to note that Utah also offers compensatory service for Class B misdemeanors. This means that if given the option, a defendant can work for a state agency, nonprofit organization, or another approved organization in order to pay off their criminal fine. Alternative programs like this are typically offered to first- or second-time offenders.
Work with an Experienced Salt Lake City Attorney for Driving Without Insurance You Can Trust
If you or a family member was arrested for multiple traffic violations in Utah, including the failure to obtain vehicle insurance, contact an experienced Park City, UT traffic violation defense attorney. Criminal defense lawyer Darwin Overson has nearly two decades of legal experience litigating various complex criminal cases, and he is ready to fight for you. To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss your case, contact Overson Law, PLLC, at (801) 758-2287.