Driving without insurance is a traffic offense in California, and is punishable under Vehicle Code 16028. You are guilty of driving without insurance if:
- you were driving a vehicle, and
- the officer asks you for proof of “financial responsibility” (aka proof of insurance), and
- you fail to provide proof of financial responsibility for the vehicle.
“Proof of financial responsibility” is fancy for: you are insured + you are insured for this vehicle. For example, if you’re driving someone else’s car and they are insured but that insurance policy doesn’t extend to cover other drivers (i.e. YOU), unfortunately, you would be guilty under this code section.
A true defense to driving without insurance under VC 16028 is being able to show an insurance policy to the officer at the time of being pulled over and the policy shows that you are a person covered by this policy and this vehicle is also covered by the policy.
Driving Without Insurance – What if I was actually insured, but I just didn’t have proof?
If you were actually insured at the time you received your citation for driving without insurance, but you simply couldn’t show the officer proof of insurance, then there is still hope for you.
By showing proof of valid insurance to the court, or by having a traffic defense attorney show proof for you, the court will dismiss the charge for a $25 dismissal fee.
Driving Without Insurance – How much is this traffic ticket?
Driving without insurance is one of the most expensive types of traffic tickets – it usually costs over $800! But as discussed above, you won’t be found guilty of this offense if you can show the court you were actually insured at the time of driving.
Driving Without Insurance with a Failure to Appear
Sometimes people forget to deal with a traffic ticket received for driving without insurance, due to financial or personal stresses, or because once getting valid insurance they didn’t realize they still had to deal with the underlying traffic ticket.
If you get a failure to appear in Los Angeles County, you’ll be sent to GC Services, a collections agency tasked with collecting money from you for your traffic ticket for driving without insurance.
I recommend against paying GC Services, due to the several negative consequences associated with doing so, whether or not you actually had valid insurance at the time the citation was received.
Get Help with Your Driving Without Insurance Traffic Ticket
If your ticket is in Los Angeles County or Orange County, and you need help handling this ticket in traffic court, you can reach me (Attorney Paul Denni) for help by calling 888-250-8450 or by using the Contact Form below.