Under Minnesota law, all drivers are required to have automobile insurance. Not only do they need to carry auto insurance, but drivers are required to have proof of coverage in their possession at all times when operating a vehicle. Failure to have automobile insurance coverage or have proof of insurance in their possession when driving constitutes a misdemeanor offense in Minnesota.
Driving Without Insurance Law In Minnesota
Here’s what Minnesota Statute 169.791 has to say about motor insurance.
Every driver shall have in possession at all times when operating a vehicle and shall produce on demand of a peace officer proof of insurance in force at the time of the demand covering the vehicle being operated. If the driver does not produce the required proof of insurance upon the demand of a peace officer, the driver is guilty of a misdemeanor.
So as you can see, even if you have automobile coverage, you can still be ticketed for failing to provide proof of coverage. Most people carry their proof of insurance card in their glove compartment, but we always recommend that you take a picture of your insurance card for all your vehicles and save it on your phone. In today’s world, most people have their phone on them at all times, and Minnesota law states that you can show proof of coverage through electronic means.
The law also states that giving the officer your phone to show proof of coverage does not give them consent to access your phone for other reasons. Essentially, if an officer pulled you over because he thought you were texting and driving, and you showed him a picture of your insurance card on your phone, he can’t then check your text messages to see if you were texting behind the wheel.
Driving With Insurance, But Without Proof
As we noted above, you can be ticketed for driving without insurance even if you have coverage, because the law states that you must be able to produce proof that you are insured. Surprisingly, Minnesota has actually adopted a reasonable option for drivers who are ticketed for not having proof of coverage to get out of paying for this ticket. According to the law, drivers can mail proof of insurance to the court administration listed on their citation and the citation will be dropped, so long as these two factors are met:
- You had insurance at the time you were pulled over.
- The court receives proof of insurance prior to the date and time listed on the citation for the driver’s first appearance in court.
We’ve also fielded this question before, so we’ll clarify it here. Sometimes people ask if they purchase insurance prior to their court date, will the court drop the citation? Unfortunately, if you weren’t covered on the date you were cited, than the ticket will likely not be dropped even if you purchased coverage prior to your first appearance.
Penalties For Driving Without Insurance in Minnesota
Driving without insurance in Minnesota is considered a misdemeanor offense, punishable by fines up to $1,000 and up to 90 days in jail. However, the law also states that “the court shall impose a fine of not less than $200,” meaning you can expect to pay at least $200 for a driving without insurance citation. Most times, a first offense for driving without insurance results in a $200 fine and no jail time.
If the $200 fine is too burdensome on the individual, the court may impose community service in lieu of a fine. The law also states that drivers with a number of previous driving citations may face the potential loss of their license or the revocation of their motor vehicle registration.
So if you are facing a citation for driving without insurance, know that the case is worth fighting. You can lose your driving privileges and face steep fines, so consider hiring a lawyer to help you fight your traffic ticket. At Appelman Law Firm, we offer a free citation evaluation where we’ll walk you through your options and let you know if we think it’s best that you hire an attorney, or if you can beat the charges by filing the right paperwork on your own. Our goal is to help you in any way possible. Contact us at (952) 224-2277 for more information.