If you want to drive legally in Minnesota, you have to have three main items – a valid driver’s license, automobile insurance, and proof that you hold both a license and insurance. Most people have their driver’s license on them whenever they get in the car, but insurance is another issue. Today, we take a closer look at what happens if you’re caught driving without insurance or without proof of insurance in Minnesota.
Minnesota Automobile Insurance Law
Minnesota Statute 169.791 states that every driver must have proof of current automobile insurance at all times when they are driving a vehicle. This means not only do you have to have valid insurance, but you also need to be able to prove to the police officer that you in fact have valid insurance. If you don’t have insurance or any way to prove that you do, you’ll be cited for a misdemeanor offense of driving without insurance.
The advent of the smartphone has made it easier for people to show proof of insurance. Some insurance companies e-mail you a digital copy of your automobile insurance, while others allow you to let up a login and password so you can access your account if you are ever stopped by an officer. However, if you have a smartphone, there’s an even easier way to prove you have insurance. Minnesota law states that proving insurance through electronic means is legal, so when you get your insurance cards, simply take a picture of the card and ensure all necessary information is visible, and this will be considered valid proof of insurance so long as your coverage period is still in effect.
Ticketed For Driving Without Insurance In Minnesota
Let’s imagine that you have valid insurance, but you can’t find you insurance card and you can’t access proof through your smartphone. You may think you’re out of luck, but Minnesota has actually adopted a policy that benefits the driver in this situation. Under Minnesota law, if you can prove that you had valid coverage at the time of the incident, and you submit this proof to the court prior to the time and date listed for your first court appearance, the court will drop the charge. An attorney can help you with this process if you’d like, but most times drivers can send in the information and get the charge dropped on their own.
To follow up that point, you need to prove that you had valid insurance at the time you were pulled over. If you were pulled over on September 2nd without insurance, purchased insurance on September 3rd and attended your first appearance on October 4th with proof of insurance, the court would not automatically drop the charge because you were not insured at the time of the original offense. They may drop the charge as a sign of good faith, but they are not legally required to do so.
Driving without insurance in Minnesota is considered a misdemeanor offense, and all misdemeanor offenses carry the potential of up to 90 days in jail and fines up to $1,000. Unless you have a lengthy citation history or injured another party, odds are you’re not going to see jail time or even a fine nearing that maximum amount, but the courts also state that the fine will not be less than $200, so you can expect to pay at least $200 if you are caught driving without insurance. There’s also the possibility of losing your driver’s license.
If you want to contest your citation for driving without insurance or you need help retaining your license after a recent traffic offense, reach out to Appelman Law Firm today. Avery has helped countless people in your same situation, and he’d be more than happy to lend his services to you. Call him today at (952) 224-2277 for more information.