Friday, April 18, 2014

New York Traffic Misdemeanors: No Valid Registration, No Valid Insurance, and No Valid Driver's License

There is a world of difference between criminal and non-criminal charges. Criminal charges generally involve an arrest, booking, fingerprints and then they require court appearances, and lawyers.

In a word, the paper documents we call our car insurance, our driver's license, and our car registration are merely SYMBOLS. If there is nothing beneath them, no real validity to there physical presence and representation they are worthless.

The penalties can be huge:

Persons driving a car without valid insurance under NYS VTL section 319 face up to a one year license revocation. Fines between $150 and $1500 plus DMV fees of $750.

Persons driving without a valid registration under NYS VTL section 512 face jail time.

DO You Need to KNOW? 

I recently had a phone call. Grandson borrowed grandpa's car. He was arrested following a stop for speeding. How does that happen you ask? Well Grandpa had not kept up with the registration, ie. he didn't pay, and then let the insurance lapse.

He spent the night in jail because of this, and wanted to know WHY?

Why was he being held accountable for grandpa?
Why was he arrested for this?
Why was he now facing misdemeanor charges?
Why if he truly didn't KNOW, why was he at fault?
Why isn't grandpa being arrested?
I'm just the driver NOT the owner. What if the owner doesn't know and the driver doesn't know?

The Key: Some Crimes require KNOWLEDGE but NOT these.

Well Bob (not his real name), it works like this, you don't have to have KNOWLEDGE about the car not being valid, or insured. It is your responsibility to make sure that any car you drive is actively registered, insured, and that your license is valid. Just like you must make sure the headlights work and the car is safe.

So make sure that the car you borrow, even from family is fully up to date on it's coverages and obligations or else you may be the one paying the price for their irresponsibility.

Always consult with an attorney about any criminal or non-criminal charges you have pending to discuss your options and/or defenses.

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Chosen as a 2013 Rising Star in DWI/DUI in Upstate New York by Super Lawyers