Question: If a person is pulled over in New Jersey and cannot find their proof of insurance and receives a ticket just for that, even though they are insured, if they go to court with the insurance card will the judge drop the ticket?
Answer: Yes, it may be possible for you to get the charge dismissed or at least dropped to a lower offense than driving without insurance if you can show to the New Jersey court that you did have auto insurance in effect at the time of the citation being written.
According to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC), all drivers in New Jersey must provide proof of insurance when operating any vehicle. Failure to do so can result in hefty fines and suspension. Having car insurance is just as important as having a title on your car or registering it with MVC.
In New Jersey, driving without insurance or not being able to show proof of auto insurance when requested is a serious offense with harsh penalties. A conviction of no proof of insurance or driving without insurance may result in fines, community service, license suspension and surcharges according to the MVC.
Also, your car can also be impounded if you are caught behind the wheel without coverage according to NJSA 39:3-29.1a. However, you can stop that if within 24 hours from the time of the citation you provide the issuing law enforcement agency with the insurance identification card, or other satisfactory proof of insurance.
A first time infraction of NJSA 39:6B-2 (driving without liability insurance) includes a fine of between $300 to $1,000, community service, MVC surcharges of $250 for 3 years, and the loss of license for up to one year. There are court costs and fees that are required to be paid as well as the penalties listed above. Part this NJSA 39:6B-2 notes that failure to produce at the time of trial an insurance identification card or an insurance policy which was in force for the time of operation for which the offense is charged creates a rebuttable presumption that the person was uninsured when charged with a violation of this section. So it appears that showing proof can help your case.
Also there is a different New Jersey statute that you may be able to get your offense changed to.
Failure to carry car insurance on your vehicle is different from failure to carry your insurance card (proof of insurance). If your court case involves a charge for failure to carry insurance, but you did in fact have insurance on the day you were pulled over, and just failed to have your insurance card with you, then you should be able to speak to the court about getting your citation revised.
The court may agree to plead your violation down to failure to carry or display an insurance card.
NJSA 39:3-29 is the portion of New Jersey law that discusses not having proof of insurance (compare to driving without insurance of NJSA 39:6B-2). Paraphrasing the portions that apply to your situation, the statue says that the driver or operator shall exhibit an insurance identification card when requested so to do by a police officer or judge. Any person violating this section shall be subject to a fine of $150.
However, if a person charged with a violation of this section can exhibit an insurance identification card which was valid on the day he was charged, to the judge of the municipal court before whom he is summoned to answer to the charge and the judge may dismiss the charge. However, the judge may impose court costs.
You should contact the New Jersey court listed on your ticket to see what proof of insurance they will accept and if you should speak to the prosecutor before the court date to see about reducing or dismissing the charge or just wait until your court date.
If this or another violation affects your car insurance premium, compare state car insurance rates for New Jersey here with us.