Is the Penalty in New Jersey for Driving without Auto Insurance More Serious than Drunk Driving?

by Richard R. Uslan on Sep. 07, 2017

 General Practice 

Summary: Read on and you decide.

It is important that you know, especially because one in seven drivers in the United States has no automobile insurance, according to a report in USA Today.   Even more important to know is that Richard R. Uslan, Esquire, an experienced and knowledgeable New Jersey Municipal Court Trial Attorney, can effectively defend you if you have been charged with Driving without Auto Insurance.

There is no question that both No Insurance and DWI are extremely serious violations in NJ, and require the assistance of an attorney who is well-versed in the necessary statutory and case law on these subjects in order to defend against them.  Mr. Uslan has instructed attorneys and municipal court judges about these important subjects in legal seminars  throughout New Jersey on several occasions.  Attorney Uslan, with offices in Somerville, New Jersey, is equipped with an arsenal of statutory law, regulations and court decisions that are necessary to effectively represent you for this charge, just as he has successfully helped more than 10,000 others during the past 30 years.    A thousand or more of those clients have been charged with either of these traffic violations, or both. 

A motorist facing a first offense of Driving Without Automobile Insurance is, if convicted, facing a mandatory loss of driving privileges for one year, a fine of $300.00, and additional collateral consequences (penalties after you have been sentenced by the judge and left the courtroom), which include state-imposed surcharges of $250.00 for each of the next three years and nine insurance eligibility points, which will significantly increase auto insurance premiums in a State that is already universally regarded as having the highest auto insurance rates in the United States.

Compare those penalties with a first offense of either Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving under the Influence (DUI) in a non-school zone.  DWI, DUI and Drunk Driving are all the same thing in New Jersey, and if sentenced as a first offender, although the fines and surcharges are greater, and evaluation at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) is required, the mandatory minimum loss of driving privileges is 7 months, not one year as it is for the no insurance violation.   Based upon my thirty years of experience, the discretionary jail term of up to thirty days for a first DWI offense is rarely imposed, and a sentence to the minimum 7 month license suspension is more often the rule than the exception, so the  mandatory, one year loss of license for a first conviction of Driving without Auto Insurance conviction is one of the most serious penalties that New Jersey motorists can potentially face.  All the more reason to call upon Richard R. Uslan, Esquire to defend you.

OK, so a motorist faces a longer mandatory loss of driving privilege for a first offense of Driving without Auto Insurance than a first offense of DUI.  But what are the penalties for second conviction for Driving without Automobile Insurance compared to a second conviction for DUI?  Which is more serious?   

Although both offenses carry, upon a second offense, a mandatory two year loss of license,  for Driving without Auto Insurance a second time, the fine can be as high as $5,000.00.  Compare that to a second conviction for Driving While Intoxicated, which is a maximum $1,000.00 fine.    Additionally, the second no insurance conviction will also carry with it a mandatory 14 day jail term.   Compare that to a second DWI conviction, where the sentencing judge has the discretion to sentence a defendant to a minimum two day jail term and a maximum of 90 days.  All of that being said, when comparing the severity of the respective penalties for these to offenses a second time, you should also consider this:  many Drunk Driving defendants represented by Richard R. Uslan, even if convicted for a second DUI, have often avoided a “mandatory” jail  sentence entirely.   Additionally, Mr. Uslan has often obtained sentences for second DWI offenders as if was only their first conviction for DWI.

 Why is it that in some respects, a defendant convicted in NJ for Driving without Automobile Insurance a first or second time faces a greater penalty than a first or second conviction for Driving While Intoxicated?  My personal belief is that it is a reflection of the vast influence the Insurance Industry and its lobbyists have over the elected officials responsible for drafting the motor vehicle laws and penalties.  They wield much more influence because they have more financial resources than Mothers against Drunk Driving (MADD).  

Receiving a ticket for Driving without Automobile Insurance in New Jersey is the culmination of a “perfect storm”

New Jersey is one of the most densely populated States in our country, wedged between the New York and Philadelphia metropolises.  More urban residents in New Jersey drive cars than in New York City and the suburban and rural areas of New Jersey lack a public transportation network, requiring residents in those areas to rely heavily on driving their cars.  The fabled New Jersey Turnpike is just one example of the multitude of asphalt roads that cross the entire State, from Hackensack to Atlantic City, and from Hoboken to Phillipsburg, with Bridgewater, New Brunswick, Morristown, Union and Edison in between.   Such a small state has, in addition to several hundred, separate, local, municipal police forces, the New Jersey State Police, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police, the Rutgers University Police, several county police agencies, county sheriff’s officers, and the Norfolk and Southern Railroad Police.  They are patrolling all of those roadways en mass, using mobile data terminals to check the registration and insurance status of the automobiles merely by entering the license plate into an onboard computer.

Combine all the NJ roads, NJ police, the highest insurance premiums in the Nation, and one in seven persons driving a car without any auto insurance at all, and the end result is a penalty for a violation that in some respects, is more severe than a DWI conviction.

Mr. Uslan knows this, but he also knows that automobile insurance companies that do business inNew Jersey are subject to very strict, detailed and complex state regulation.  He also knows that often, the person driving the car wasn’t the one who was responsible for buying the insurance for it to begin with.

Frequently, deciphering the motor vehicle traffic laws, as well as the insurance regulations and statutes to make certain that the auto insurance company has complied with them, is the key to defending an individual whose auto insurance had been cancelled for late payment or non-payment of the premium, and is now left holding the ticket issued by the police for driving the car without having the insurance for that car that is required by law.   

 Don’t lose hope!  Defending you for Driving without Automobile Insurance is my business!


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