Operating an Uninsured Motor Vehicle
Automobile insurance is insurance purchased for cars, trucks, motorcycles, and other road vehicles to ensure financial responsibility in the event of a collision or accident. When a person or an automobile is involved in an accident, damage often occurs to the car, drivers, passengers, and sometimes by standing third parties, all of which must be compensated for their losses suffered. An automobile insurance policy usually covers the insured party (medical payments), the insured vehicle (physical damage), third parties (car and people, property damage and bodily injury), and third party, fire and theft. Automobile insurance plans and premiums vary in range based on the driver’s age, driving history, marital status, credit history and the type of vehicle insured. There are many competing insurance companies offering various types of plans and coverage. In order to protect those driving and those injured, states in America require drivers to have at least minimum coverage on their vehicles to protect against physical damage or bodily injury and personal liability resulting from traffic collisions. The RMV details the required state minimums for Massachusetts drivers:
- Part One: Bodily injury to others―Minimum $20,000 per person, $40,000 per accident
- Part Two: Personal injury protection―Pays up to $8,000 to you, passengers, pedestrians, or anyone you allow to drive your vehicle
- Part Three: Bodily injury caused by an uninsured auto―Minimum $20,000 per person, $40,000 per accident
- Part Four: Damage to someone else’s property―Minimum $5,000 for property damage
The Registry of Motor Vehicles in Massachusetts requires a minimum amount of liability insurance coverage for those who own or drive cars. Once a person has qualified for and purchased an automobile insurance policy, the insurance company will provide you with proof of insurance. In addition to displaying the names of the insurer and the insured, the proof of coverage provided by the insurance company should include details on: the effective and expiration dates of coverage, your vehicle’s description, including the identification number, and the limits of liability. In the event that you or someone else is involved in an accident or you are pulled over by the authorities, you will be required to provide the proof of insurance. If at any time you let your insurance coverage lapse or have no proof of insurance, you could face a traffic citation and if the police catch you, significant criminal charges may ensue.Operating an Uninsured Motor Vehicle
In Massachusetts, it is a crime to operate a motor vehicle without proper insurance under M.G.L. c. 90, § 34J. The law states that any individual who operates or permits to be operated a motor vehicle for which insurance has not been provided or maintained shall be punishable under the law. The penalties attached to a conviction under this section are as follows:
- A fine of not less than $500 (no more than $5,000), or
- Imprisonment for no more than 1 year in a house of correction, or
- Both such fine and imprisonment.
Furthermore, any person who is convicted of this crime shall have his or her license or right to operate a motor vehicle suspended for sixty days by the Registry of Motor Vehicles.Prosecution’s Burden of Proof
In order to prove the defendant guilty of this offense, the Commonwealth must prove three things beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant operated a motor vehicle or permitted someone else to operate a motor vehicle;
- The operation took place on a public highway, or on a private way laid out by statutory authority, or on a way dedicated to public use, or on a way under the control of park commissioners or a body with similar powers, or in a place to which the public has a right of access; and
- The vehicle being operated was not insured at the time.
Patrick J. Murphy, Esq. is a skilled criminal defense lawyer practicing in the greater-Boston area with nearly 20 years of experience defending clients accused of ordinary and serious motor vehicle crimes. If you have been charged with a motor vehicle offense such as Operating an Uninsured Motor Vehicle or Operating an Unregistered Motor Vehicle, you need an aggressive Boston, Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer with the experience and resources to avidly defend your rights and obtain the best possible outcome in your case. At the Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy we are fully prepared to fight any motor vehicle offense charge and we provide all clients with professional, expert legal representation. Call Attorney Patrick J. Murphy today for a free initial consultation at (617) 367-0450 or email him directly using our online contact form.