Section 3-707 of the Illinois Vehicle Code defines the charge of operation of an uninsured motor vehicle. A conviction for this charge will lead to a three month driver’s license suspension and require payment of a $100.00 reinstatement fee. First and second convictions for this offense carry a minimum fine of more than $500.00 but not more than $1,000.00 plus court costs. Third and subsequent convictions for this offense carry mandatory fines of $1,000.00 plus court costs and will require the driver to file a proof of financial responsibility certificate (“SR-22 certificate”) with the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State for a minimum of 3 years. Anyone who violates the vehicle insurance coverage requirement while suspended due to a prior conviction for driving an uninsured vehicle will lose their driver’s license or driving privileges for an additional 6 months.

Convictions for driving uninsured vehicles carry other penalties as well. Not only will a conviction lead to a driver’s license suspension, but it will cause the license plates of the vehicle that was driven to be suspended as well. For the first violation, the license plates will remain suspended until the owner of the vehicle pays a $100.00 reinstatement fee and submits proof of insurance to the Secretary of State. For a second or subsequent violation within a 4 year period, the license plates will be suspended for 4 months and until the vehicle owner pays a $100 reinstatement fee to the Secretary of State and submits proof of insurance.

A conviction for driving a vehicle with license plates that have been suspended for non-insurance carries a mandatory fine of between $1,000.00 and $2,000.00 plus court costs. A second or subsequent such conviction is punishable as a Class B misdemeanor offense.

The HoffmanLaw Office defends drivers charged with operating uninsured motor vehicles at all of the Lake County, Illinois traffic courts. Attorney Matt Hoffman has helped many clients avoid the high costs, loss of driving privileges, and vehicle registration suspensions that come from convictions for driving without insurance. Most frequently, tickets for not having insurance are written by police in conjunction with other charges. The HoffmanLaw Office routinely defends drivers facing multiple traffic violations, in addition to charges relating to non-insurance, and offers a free consultation on every case.

The multifaceted and negative ramifications of a conviction for operating an uninsured motor vehicle were discussed above. High costs, driver’s license suspensions, and license plate suspensions all are outcomes of convictions for an Illinois driving without insurance charge. If, however, a driver is placed on court supervision for driving without insurance, as opposed to being convicted, the costs to the driver in court typically decrease and the mandatory driver’s license suspension does not apply. Different additional scenarios, where a charge of driving without insurance is dismissed, or where a driver is placed on court supervision for the offense, are discussed here.

Sometimes a driver is unable to produce proof of insurance at the time of a traffic stop, but the vehicle driven actually is covered by insurance. Illinois has a law that addresses this situation and allows the driver to produce proof of actual coverage in court. Specifically, the law states that no person charged with operating an uninsured motor vehicle shall be convicted if the person produces in court satisfactory evidence that at the time of the arrest the motor vehicle was covered by a liability insurance policy.

In 2013, Illinois added a new law that allows drivers to prove vehicular insurance coverage at the time of traffic stops by displaying to inquiring police officers proof of coverage via electronic images on cellular phones or other types of portable electronic devices.

In other situations, a person charged with driving without insurance acquires insurance on the vehicle that was being driven after the ticket was issued but before appearing in court. Illinois also has a law that addresses this situation.

Specifically, this law states that a person who has not previously been convicted of or received a disposition of court supervision for this offense but produces evidence of late but current coverage in court shall, for a violation, pay a $100.00 fine and receive a disposition of court supervision. However, under this law the person must, on the date that the period of court supervision is scheduled to terminate, produce satisfactory evidence that the vehicle was covered by the required liability insurance policy during the entire period of court supervision. This law does not apply to someone charged with operating an uninsured motor vehicle while also having caused bodily harm to someone else.

But being placed on court supervision triggers the SR-22 requirement with the Illinois Secretary of State. Under this law, anyone placed on court supervision for operating an uninsured motor vehicle must maintain proof of SR-22 insurance with the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State for at least 36 months.

SR-22 is a mechanism the Secretary of State uses to monitor drivers who previously have been found guilty of driving without liability insurance. Illinois refers to SR-22 insurance as “Financial Responsibility Insurance.” The insurance company of anyone required to obtain SR-22 insurance sends proof of coverage to the Secretary of State. If SR-22 insurance expires or is cancelled, the Secretary of State’s Office will immediately suspend that person’s driver’s license. This suspension will not be lifted until SR-22 insurance has been reinstated.

There is no requirement that anyone plead guilty to the charge of operation of an uninsured vehicle. Anyone charged with this offense has a fundamental right to a trial on the charge. At trial, the burden of proof is on the prosecution. If the prosecution proves the charge, then the judge would determine the sentence to be imposed. The judge could enter a conviction against you or place you on court supervision, depending on the judge's opinions of the case and the applicable law.

The HoffmanLaw Office represents clients charged with operating uninsured motor vehicles and all other moving violations in the Lake County, Illinois traffic courts. There are many different police departments that forward insurance related traffic tickets to the four Lake County courthouses located in Mundelein, Park City, Round Lake Beach and Waukegan. If you were ticketed for driving without insurance, or for any other alleged insurance related traffic violation, within the jurisdiction of any of these four court venues, it is likely that you were cited by one of the police departments listed below.