First Offense Penalties
Why is it that some people drive without car insurance? Some people may be living a carefree life and are careless about liability insurance. However, the consequences of such ignorance may be disastrous. Being in a position to pay the cost of damages incurred due to an unfortunate accident is something every person must have. What more if there is no insurance for damages on your part.
The consequences of driving without car insurance depend largely on your state. It varies from state to state. The penalty for driving without insurance basically ranges from fines and penalties from different entities to even jail time in some cases. You can easily see the penalty for driving without car insurance in your particular state below:
Alabama: Every person over the age of 18 must buy car insurance. Failure to do so will get one punished with a fine of up to $400 in Alabama. In addition, your driver’s license will be suspended for a year. You will also have to pay the costs of any possible damage that occurs in the accident. This means that you could have your license suspended or revoked for the full amount of the fine.
There are several other penalties that you can face if you are caught driving without car insurance. For instance, you will be charged with reckless driving. If this is the first offense, you will get a misdemeanor charge. The penalties increase by a few points, if the first offense occurs more than one time in a certain state.
In every state, all drivers are required to fulfill their financial responsibility in case of an accident. Each state has its own personal financial responsibility law. For instance, some states require drivers to purchase a minimum amount of auto insurance. Others require drivers to have a certain level of liability coverage as well. However, no matter what the state law requires, all drivers will be required to purchase car insurance before they can operate a vehicle on the roads.
What does this mean for you? If you are purchasing car insurance for the first time and are concerned about the cost, you should know that the cost can go up after you have been cited with a moving violation or a traffic citation. Some people have reported charges up to five times their yearly limit when they have a lapse in insurance. Even a single day without proof of insurance can make a huge difference in the price you pay for your premiums. That is why it is especially important that you take the time to purchase insurance before you are pulled over for suspicion of DUI or DWI. Once you have been cited, you can still attempt to prove your financial responsibility by showing that you have the proof to purchase auto insurance.
In addition to having a lapse in insurance, some drivers have been charged with a misdemeanor for the first offense. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, you can be sentenced to jail time, have your license suspended, and your vehicle may even be impounded. Some jurisdictions also have what are called “punishment” enhancements for repeat offenders. For example, a second DUI or DWI conviction can result in a seven-year probation, a hefty fine, or a suspended license.
As you can see, the penalties for first offenses can be very serious. For that reason, it is vital that you understand your rights, understand your options, and then exercise those options judiciously. If you are not sure that you can afford the minimal investment required to protect your vehicle and yourself by carrying a minimal amount of insurance, you should purchase the policy, wait until you are given your card, and drive your vehicle legally.