Recently, a friend received a ticket while driving in Illinois for not having sufficient proof of insurance, or what is often also referred to as a ticket for no valid insurance or a no insurance ticket. This friend had been going through a rough time in her life, so I decided that I would do her a favor and not charge her for taking care of it for her. The thing of it was that she borrowed a friend’s car, and that friend had not renewed the insurance on that particular vehicle. The fact that this vehicle was uninsured was unknown to her at the time she borrowed it.
While the vehicle my friend was driving at the time of the traffic stop did not have insurance, she did have insurance on her own vehicle. And, her coverage, like most policies issued in the State of Illinois, covered her when driving a borrowed vehicle in the event of a car accident for which she was liable.
While the first offense often results in a disposition of Supervision, a conviction for a violation of this Class A misdemeanor is a $500 fine. A conviction will also result in a 90 day suspension. In addition, the offender is required to carry more costly insurance, known as SR-22 insurance. To avoid a conviction on this first offense, the individual can simply obtain insurance after the date of the offense and provide proof of this to the court. In this instance, the fine is reduced to $100. Penalties increase for each offense; another good reason to avoid the first.
Typically what has happened in McLean County, and throughout the State of Illinois I am guessing, is that the State’s attorney would offer supervision (meaning a non-conviction) in this instance to the misdemeanor offense of no valid insurance. This is true despite there being coverage on the vehicle in the event of a motor vehicle accident. Maybe as attorneys here in Bloomington, Illinois we have just gone along with this program. I am not certain if that is the case, but it just didn’t sit well with me in this instance. The Illinois statute reads : “No person shall operate a motor vehicle unless the motor vehicle is covered by a liability insurance policy . . . .”
My argument was that she had liability insurance covering the vehicle. Clearly the legislature’s intent was to provide a remedial source for other drivers who either suffered property damage or who were hurt in the event of a motor vehicle accident. Her own coverage provided this on a borrowed vehicle. Legal research I conducted didn’t reveal anything contradictory to my position, so I reached out to legal counsel at the Secretary of State’s office. Legal counsel there also would not denounce my theory, so we stuck to our guns. Thankfully, the State’s Attorney did not feel compelled to test my thought process , and the case was dismissed. While I wouldn’t have minded testing the waters with the Appellate Court, I was glad it wasn’t necessary in this instance.
Yet another reason to hire a good Illinois Lawyer.
- Imagine That
- I think it’s required under Illinois Law, but I could not confirm this during my research
- 625 ILCS 5/3-707 (a)
- Yes, I know my mind can be a scary place, even for me, but every now and again it churns out something useful
- We can leave that appeal to some other sorry soul – a victory in of itself