CA Vehicle Code (CVC) 16020, Compulsory Financial Responsibility, requires a driver or the owner of a vehicle to carry proof of financial responsibility or insurance while the vehicle is in operation. A conviction for the first offense of a failure to provide proof of insurance is a base fine of $100. With state and county surcharges, fees, and assessments that fine is between $450 and $500, depending on the county or court bringing the conviction. A second or subsequent offense is between $900 and $2500. Additionally, the driver or owner faces vehicle impoundment and a one year driver’s license (DL) suspension.
If your vehicle gets impounded due to a no proof of insurance ticket, you will not get it out of impoundment without proof of financial responsibility/insurance and you will pay the towing and storage fees. According to the Official Police Garage website, towing fees start at $125.00 and $7.00 a mile for a small or standard-sized vehicle. Storage for the first fraction of an hour can cost between $240 and $543 and then, $39 and up per day depending on the vehicle size. You will also pay a $115 release fee to the CA State Treasury.
No Proof of Insurance Ticket Costs Vs. a No Insurance Accident
Although the average Californian pays $1960 annually for auto insurance, the minimum 15/30/5 compulsory liability insurance is much cheaper. Liability insurance only provides coverage for the other car’s damage and medical expenses, up to $15,000 per person, $30,000 total medical, and $5000 damage. The at-fault driver is responsible for any expenses above that amount. That is why CA also has a mandatory Uninsured Motorist law, and you should consider an Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) rider with your coverage.
If a person can only afford the minimum or has no insurance, and many drivers do not have insurance, suing them will likely only incur more cost for you. Even if you win a civil court claim, getting them to pay restitution will be almost impossible.
If you have an accident without insurance, a proof of insurance ticket will be the least of your worries because the other costs will be significant. Your DL will get suspended for one to four years (however, you can request a DMV Hearing, and have legal representation during the hearing). See the DMV pamphlet SR-104 for details. Your car will get impounded by law enforcement regardless of damages, and you will have to pay towing and storage.
After your suspension is complete, you will need to provide proof of insurance, plus carry an additional, more expensive SR-22 insurance policy. Also, you will need to have paid all damages and pay the DL re-issue fee, usually $55.
The civil costs could be astronomical if you are at-fault, as you are responsible for all property damage, including the other vehicle and private and public property, like electrical poles, etc., and the medical costs of everyone involved.
Before taking any action or making an official statement to law enforcement about a proof of insurance ticket, consult with a traffic ticket defender.
Traffic Ticket Defenders For Riverside County Drivers
Call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300, if you have a no proof of insurance ticket. Bigger & Harman frequently represent California drivers in Riverside County Traffic Court. They practice only traffic law and charge a flat fee based on the ticket or hearing scheduled. Unlike many lawyers, Bigger & Harman do not charge by the hour, so you always know how much you will pay no matter how much effort or hours are involved in resolving your issue.
Send emails to email@example.com and include a photocopy of your no proof of insurance ticket, plus a brief explanation of facts. We will send a reply as soon as possible.
Se habla Español 661.349.9755.
The 2018 CA Driver Handbook .pdf
The 2018 California Superior Court Bail Schedule for Infractions and Misdemeanors.pdf
DMV.CA.GOV pamphlet SR-104, Important Facts about the Compulsory Insurance Laws .pdf
CVC 16020-15078, Compulsory Financial Responsibility