It is mandatory for car owners to have liability motor vehicle insurance in the state of New Jersey. Failure to have valid insurance while operating a MV may subject you to heavy fines, penalties, potential loss of license and community service and/or imprisonment
What penalties may I encounter?
1st Offense – A fine of not less than $300.00 and not more than $1000.00, community service, three year $250.00 MV insurance surcharge, and a mandatory 1 year loss of license.
2nd and Subsequent offenses- A fine up to $5,000.00, mandatory 14 day jail sentence and 30 days of community service.
*Anyone who violates the statute, who is involved in a MV accident, is prohibited from filing a personal injury claim regardless of whether or not they are at fault for the accident.
What defenses might I have?
A driver must be aware that their insurance was canceled. This means that their insurance carrier has to send them a notice advising them that if they do not pay the policy by a date certain the policy will be canceled. If you are not properly advised of your policy cancellation you may have a defense to the charge.
If you are not the owner of the vehicle and are driving a borrowed car and had no reason to know that the insurance was canceled, you may have a defense.