Friday, November 4, 2011

Driving Without Insurance: What do I do if I'm pulled over or I am in an accident and I dont have insurance?

There are two common scenarios that play out when people call me with tickets for driving without insurance.  One is an easy fix and one is not an easy fix.

1.  You got pulled over and you HAVE insurance but you didn't have the insurance card or you didn't have the current card.

This is an easy fix and you don't need an attorney to take care of it for you.  Take the insurance card that you should of had with you, (the card showing that you had valid coverage on the date you were pulled over) and fax it or drop it off at the court that issued you the ticket.  Most of the time the court clerk will have authorization to dismiss the ticket from the prosecutor.  If not then take it with you and go to court and they will nearly always dismiss the ticket for driving without insuranceBut remember, the insurance actually had to be valid.  It can not just be the card that the insurance company sent you in the mail before you paid your premium.  The premium actually had to have been paid!  The State will confirm that you actually had valid insurance on the date you got pulled overIf you didn't pay your premium then the coverage will not check out and the state will suspend your license!

2.  The second scenario is not an easy fix.  You got pulled over and you DID NOT HAVE insurance.

If you drive in the state of Kansas without insurance you are taking big risks.  You are risking your financial assets if you get in an accident and you are risking your privilege to drive also.  Driving without insurance is a very quick way to get your driver's license suspended and have to pay a hefty fine.  Here are the state mandated punishments for Driving without insurance. (Notice the Highlighted Sections)

(g) (1)   Any person violating any provision of this section shall be guilty of a class B misdemeanor and shall be subject to a fine of not less than $300 nor more than $1,000 or confinement in the county jail for a term of not more than six months, or both such fine and confinement.
      (2)   Any person convicted of violating any provision of this section within three years of any such prior conviction shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor and shall be subject to a fine of not less than $800 nor more than $2,500.
      (h)   In addition to any other penalties provided by this act for failure to have or maintain financial security in effect, the director, upon receipt of a report required by K.S.A. 8-1607 or 8-1611, and amendments thereto, or a denial of such insurance by the insurance company listed on the form prescribed by the secretary of revenue pursuant to subsection (d) of this section, shall, upon notice and hearing as provided by K.S.A. 40-3118, and amendments thereto:
      (1)   Suspend:
      (A)   The license of each driver in any manner involved in the accident;
      (B)   the license of the owner of each motor vehicle involved in such accident, unless the vehicle was stolen at the time of the accident, proof of which must be established by the owner of the motor vehicle. Theft by a member of the vehicle owner's immediate family under the age of 18 years shall not constitute a stolen vehicle for the purposes of this section;
      (C)   if the driver is a nonresident, the privilege of operating a motor vehicle within this state; or
      (D)   if such owner is a nonresident, the privilege of such owner to operate or permit the operation within this state of any motor vehicle owned by such owner; and
      (2)   revoke the registration of all vehicles owned by the owner of each motor vehicle involved in such accident.
      (i)   The suspension or revocation requirements in subsection (h) shall not apply:
      (1)   To the driver or owner if the owner had in effect at the time of the accident an automobile liability policy as required by K.S.A. 40-3107, and amendments thereto, with respect to the vehicle involved in the accident;
      (2)   to the driver, if not the owner of the vehicle involved in the accident, if there was in effect at the time of the accident an automobile liability policy with respect to such driver's driving of vehicles not owned by such driver;
      (3)   to any self-insurer as defined by subsection (u) of K.S.A. 40-3103, and amendments thereto;
      (4)   to the driver or owner of any vehicle involved in the accident which was exempt from the provisions of this act pursuant to K.S.A. 40-3105, and amendments thereto;
      (5)   to the owner of a vehicle described in subsection (a)(2).
      (j) (1)   For the purposes of provisions (1) and (2) of subsection (i) of this section, the director may require verification by an owner's or driver's insurance company or agent thereof that there was in effect at the time of the accident an automobile liability policy as required in this act.
      (2)   Subject to the provisions of subsection (k), any suspension or revocation effected hereunder shall remain in effect until such person:
      (A)   Has filed satisfactory proof of financial security with the director as required by subsection (d) of K.S.A. 40-3118 and amendments thereto;
      (B)   has paid the reinstatement fee herein prescribed; and
      (C) (i)   has been released from liability;
      (ii)   is a party to an action to determine liability pursuant to which the court temporarily stays such suspension pending final disposition of such action;
      (iii)   has entered into an agreement for the payment of damages; or
      (iv)   has been finally adjudicated not to be liable in respect to such accident and evidence of any such fact has been filed with the director.
      (3)   The reinstatement fee shall be $100 except that if the registration of a motor vehicle of any owner is revoked within one year following a prior revocation of the registration of a motor vehicle of such owner under the provisions of this act such fee shall be $300.

If you receive a ticket for no insurance you need to contact an Attorney that specializes in Traffic Law.  No Insurance tickets qualify for the Kansas Habitual Offender Act and have very serious implications on your licenseYou could lose your license for 3 years if you make the wrong decisions.

If you need help call our office for a free consultation.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Switched Tags: Taking the License plate off one car and putting it on another...NOT A GOOD IDEA!

Switched Tags:  Taking the license plate off one car and putting it on another car.  People contact our office often with this problem.  Here are the usual scenarios.

1.  I bought a used car and didn't have the money for sales tax so I took the plates off my old car and put them on the new car.

2.  I have two cars and one has current registration the other does not, the one with current registration broke down so I took the plates off it and put it on the other car.

3.  I have a lien on my car and can't get it registered in my name so I put my other plates on the new car.

4.  I just bought this car and it had plates on it so I just drove it.

5.  My friend gave me his plates to put on my car.

Now you have gotten pulled over and ticketed for the switched license plate.  You want to know how much trouble you’re in and what it is going to cost you to get out of it.  Before I get to the law , let me tell you right now if you are thinking of putting false license plates on your car DON'T! This can lead to all kinds of problems for you.  Not only are you looking at a fine and a misdemeanor charge, but it could get worse.  If the license plates are stolen or reported stolen you could be charged with theft or possession of stolen property.

If you have been ticketed for switched tags or false license plate here is the law. (This is not the complete statute, it is to long for a blog post, I included the probable relevant part)  Please see the highlighted section to determine the possible fine amount and charge.

8-142: Unlawful acts. It shall be unlawful for any person to commit any of the following acts and except as otherwise provided, violation is subject to penalties provided in K.S.A. 8-149, and amendments thereto:
      First: To operate, or for the owner thereof knowingly to permit the operation, upon a highway of any vehicle, as defined in K.S.A. 8-126, and amendments thereto, which is not registered, or for which a certificate of title has not been issued or which does not have attached thereto and displayed thereon the license plate or plates assigned thereto by the division for the current registration year, including any registration decal required to be affixed to any such license plate pursuant to K.S.A. 8-134, and amendments thereto, subject to the exemptions allowed in K.S.A. 8-135, 8-198 and 8-1751a, and amendments thereto. A violation of this First by a person unlawfully claiming that a motor vehicle is exempt from registration as a self-propelled crane under subsection (b) of K.S.A. 8-128, and amendments thereto, shall constitute an unclassified misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $500.
      Second: To display or cause or permit to be displayed, or to have in possession, any registration receipt, certificate of title, registration license plate, registration decal, accessible parking placard or accessible parking identification card knowing the same to be fictitious or to have been canceled, revoked, suspended or altered. A violation of this part Second shall constitute an unclassified misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $100 and forfeiture of the item. A mandatory court appearance shall be required of any person violating this part Second. This part Second shall not apply to the possession of: (a) Model year license plates displayed on antique vehicles as allowed under K.S.A. 8-172, and amendments thereto; or (b) distinctive license plates allowed under K.S.A. 8-1,147, and amendments thereto.