Vehicle & Traffic Law 319-1 “Driving Without Insurance”

Written By: Benjamin Goldman, Esq.

Motorists driving through New York State are subject to the rules of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. Their rules require motorists to ensure the vehicle they are driving is properly insured. Convictions for failure to maintain insurance are catastrophic and have a myriad of collateral consequences. You can be convicted of this charge even if it is not your car and even if you had no way of knowing if the car is insured.

The relevant text of the statute is as follows:

Any owner of a motor vehicle registered in this state, or an unregistered motor vehicle, who shall operate such motor vehicle or permit it to be operated in this state without having in full force and effect the financial security required by the provisions of this chapter and any other person who shall operate in this state any motor vehicle registered in this state, or an unregistered motor vehicle, with the knowledge that the owner thereof does not have in full force and effect such proof of financial security, except a person who, at the time of operation of such motor vehicle, had in effect an operator’s policy of liability insurance, as defined in section three hundred eighteen, with respect to his operation of such vehicle shall be guilty of a traffic infraction and upon conviction may be fined not less than one hundred fifty dollars or more than one thousand five hundred dollars or may be imprisoned for not more than fifteen days or both.  In addition to the penalties herein set forth, such person, upon conviction, shall also become liable for payment to the department of the civil penalty provided in subdivision five of this section.

If you plead guilty or are found guilty of driving without insurance, your privileges to drive in New York State will be revoked for a year, minimum. Nobody has the discretion to change that (unless you appeal the conviction). After the year, you will have to re-apply for a license and then be subject to the probationary rules of a new driver. The fines are very high. The judge has the discretion to impose a fine of up to $1500. There is an additional $750 Driver Assessment Fee that must be paid to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles.

Another factor to consider is personal liability in accidents. If a motorist is uninsured and is involved in an accident, they can be held personally accountable for any injuries or property damage. Ultimately, it is wise to always maintain insurance on any vehicle you own or operate.

In the event that you are charged with VTL 319-1, you can contact our office today. The Benjamin Goldman Law Office has helped hundreds of motorists facing this violation. Our lawyers are typically able to get them reduced or modified to a violation that will not cause a year revocation. Due to various procedural advantages, it is best if we are involved from day one. So if you received a ticket for driving without insurance, the earlier you get in touch with us, the better your prognosis.

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