Driving without auto insurance can lead to the suspension of your license. The minimum insurance coverage required by Georgia law must be maintained continuously, without gaps or lapses.
You could be charged with a misdemeanor if you are pulled over, and you could be fined as well. Police officers may request that you take a blood, urine, or breath test if they suspect you are impaired by alcohol or drugs. In addition, you may have to pay a high out-of-pocket expense if you are involved in an accident.
A driver’s license and license plate(s) can be lost if you do not have the required insurance, and you might have to spend a lot of money to replace them if you do not have the necessary insurance.
What Are the Penalties for Driving Without Insurance?
Driving without insurance carries penalties ranging from a fine of up to six months in jail and/or a driver’s license suspension. If you are convicted of driving without insurance, it is important to know what happens next. Here are some things to consider:
If you are found guilty of driving without insurance, there are several possible outcomes depending on the type of offense. These include:
- A summary conviction – This is the most common outcome for drivers caught driving without insurance. You will receive a citation, which includes a warning about how many points you will lose on your driving record if you fail to pay fines within 30 days. Your license will remain suspended until you complete the required number of hours of traffic school.
- A criminal conviction – Depending on whether you plead guilty or not guilty, you may receive a sentence of probation, court supervision, or jail time.
- Driver improvement classes – Drivers who successfully complete a driver improvement class may avoid a criminal conviction and still receive a ticket. However, you must attend the course within 60 days of receiving a notice of violation.
- Suspension of your driver’s license – A judge may suspend your license if he or she finds that you willfully failed to maintain auto insurance.
- Probation – A judge may impose a period of probation if he or she believes that you do not pose a significant risk to public safety.
You May Have Limited Transportation Options
If you’re caught driving without a valid driver’s license, there are many ways you’ll face penalties. First, you’ll lose your vehicle registration. Second, you’ll be subject to fines and fees, including court costs, administrative fees, and surcharges. Third, you might even lose your ability to drive altogether.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) lists three types of violations you can receive for failing to maintain a valid license. A first violation—the most common type—is punishable by a fine of up to $100 and 30 days’ suspension of your license. A second offense within a five-year period is punished with a $250 fine and six months suspension. And third offenses within five years carry a $500 fine and one year’s suspension.
Multiple violations will result in a different suspension, revocation, reinstatement fee, and reinstatement requirement.
You can avoid these penalties by getting licensed again. If you’ve been convicted of DUI, you must wait 10 years before applying for reinstatement. But if you haven’t had a conviction within the last 10 years, you can apply immediately. In either case, you’ll have to provide proof that you’ve completed a driver safety course, taken a vision test, passed a road test, and paid any applicable fees.
In addition to the above penalties, you’ll also have to deal with the hassle of finding alternative forms of transportation. Depending on where you live, you might be able to use public transit, ride shares, taxis, or a friend’s car.
What is the Grace Period for Coverage Lapses?
Georgia law requires drivers to maintain liability insurance coverage throughout the state. However, it doesn’t specify whether lapses in coverage are treated differently than periods where no insurance is maintained. In fact, it appears that the law isn’t very clear on the subject. “The statute says ‘continuous,’ but I don’t know what that means,” says Mike Pritchard, spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. “If you’re driving without insurance for three months, that’s continuous.”
But he adds that even if you’ve had lapses in coverage, you still have 30 days to rectify the situation. “You can go out and buy another policy within those 30 days,” he explains. “There’s nothing saying you have to wait until the next renewal date.”
In addition, if you fail to purchase insurance within 30 days, you’ll likely face fines and a suspension period of your driver’s license. But if you don’t pay up, you won’t necessarily end up paying much more than you would for a lapse in coverage. Under current regulations, a person must pay a $25 reinstatement fee plus court costs to restore his or her driving privilege to operate a vehicle. A traffic violation carries a maximum penalty of six points against a driver’s record.
Driving Without Insurance Carries Additional Risks
When it comes to driving without insurance, there are plenty of risks involved. For example, if you’re pulled over by police for speeding, having no insurance puts you at risk of being cited for a moving violation. This can lead to fines, points on your record, and even suspension of driving privileges of your license.
If you’re in an accident while uninsured, you’ll likely face additional costs. In addition to paying out of pocket for medical bills, you might have to file claims against both drivers’ policies. If the other party isn’t insured, you’ll have to prove negligence to recover damages.
In some cases, you may also have legal recourse if the other driver was at least partially responsible for the accident. For instance, if the other driver ran a red light or struck you head-on, he or she could be held liable for your injuries.
How Much Will a Crash Cost You?
If you are involved in a car crash in Georgia, it could cost you thousands of dollars in medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and even compensation for the loss of your vehicle. In addition to paying for medical care, you must cover the costs of replacing your vehicle. Even if you do not sustain injuries, you may still face legal fees related to the incident.
In some cases, the person driving without insurance may be held financially liable for the damage caused by the driver who does carry insurance. This liability extends beyond the amount of coverage purchased. For example, if a driver without insurance causes $10,000 worth of property damage, he or she may be sued for up to $20,000. However, drivers who have insurance may be able to recover the full value of his or her vehicle.
Learn About Penalties and Get Covered
An at-fault party who causes property damage or bodily injury in a motor vehicle accident suffers a judgment when sued in a civil court.
Georgia law requires drivers to carry proof of insurance while operating a motor vehicle. Failure to do so can lead to a suspension period of one’s driver’s license. This requirement applies even if the driver does not have auto insurance. However, there are exceptions. For example, if someone is convicted of DUI or DWI, he or she cannot legally operate a vehicle unless his or her license is reinstated. Under certain circumstances, it is possible for people to avoid having their licenses suspended altogether.
The following are some of the most common reasons why someone might fail to maintain insurance coverage:
- Not paying premiums – Many drivers don’t realize that they must pay insurance premiums every month. They simply assume that their current policy covers everything because they haven’t had to make any changes. But if they miss a payment, they risk losing coverage entirely.
- Ignoring notices – Insurance companies send out numerous reminders via mail and email. These notifications include due dates for payments and deadlines for renewing policies. Unfortunately, many people ignore such messages. As a result, they lose coverage and become ineligible to obtain insurance again.
- Failing to file claims – Some drivers choose to skip filing claims for damage to their vehicles. Others wait too long to report accidents or incidents involving their cars. Either way, they run the risk of being uninsured during the period in question.
If you believe that you may be facing penalties under Georgia’s insurance laws, contact Singleton Law Firm, LLC immediately for a free consultation. Our Atlanta car accident attorneys can help you determine whether you qualify for an exemption and what steps you need to take to avoid getting caught up in the legal system.
In conclusion, if you have been cited for driving without insurance, you may be wondering if your license will be suspended. This depends on many factors such as the type of citation you received, where you were stopped, and even the court system itself. However, most states require drivers to maintain liability coverage, which includes auto insurance. If you are unable to pay your fines or penalties, you might be able to request a suspension of your driver’s license. To find out more information, contact your local DMV office.