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 NJ 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 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. The penalties for driving uninsured are getting more severe in NJ, in addition to risking economic loss by not having insurance protection; you risk fines, suspension of driver's license or registration and even time in jail. A conviction of no proof of insurance or driving without insurance may result in fines, community service, license suspension and surcharges according to the NJ MVC.
Also, your car can also be impounded if you are caught behind the wheel without coverage.
NJSA 39:3-29.1a notes that upon the issuance of a summons for failing to possess or exhibit an insurance identification card in violation of 39:3-29, the violator or registrant shall have 24 hours from the time of the citation to provide the issuing law enforcement agency with the insurance identification card, or other satisfactory proof of insurance. Failure to provide the insurance identification card or other satisfactory proof of insurance within the 24-hour time frame shall result in the issuance of a warrant for the immediate impoundment of the vehicle that was being operated when the summons was issued. A motor vehicle impounded pursuant to the provisions of this subsection shall be removed to a storage space or garage. The registrant shall be responsible for the cost of the removal and storage of the impounded motor vehicle.
A first time infraction of NJSA 39:6B-2 (driving without liability insurance) includes a fine of at least $300 and up to $1000, 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 NJ 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, you just failed to have your insurance card with you but do now have proof that insurance was in effect, than 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. The maximum penalty for this violation of this law is a fine and court costs or there is the possibility that the judge could even dismiss the charge altogether.
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). Here it states that the driver's license, the registration certificate of a motor vehicle and an insurance identification card shall be in the possession of the driver or operator at all times when he is in charge of a motor vehicle on the highways of this State.
The statute goes on to say (paraphrasing the portions that apply to your situation) 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, such judge may dismiss the charge. However, the judge may impose court costs.
You should contact the NJ 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.
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