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What Happens if You’re Caught Driving Without Insurance
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What Happens if You’re Caught Driving Without Insurance

Auto insurance is one of the most commonly used types of personal insurance and is legally required for anyone who plans to drive a car. If you are caught driving without required insurance in South Carolina, you can be found guilty of a misdemeanor. Failure to present proof of insurance to law enforcement will result in a $100 - $200 fine and possible confiscation of your vehicle registration and license plates. Additionally, if you do not attain automobile insurance, and there is a lapse in your coverage, you will receive a $5 fine per day up to $200, in addition to a $550 uninsured motorist fee. Driving without insurance is dangerous and expensive.

South Carolina Insurance Requirements

South Carolina requires all drivers to purchase liability and uninsured motorist coverage to legally drive in the state. All drivers must carry a minimum level of automobile insurance coverage at all times. Currently, the minimum liability coverage is $25,000 for bodily injury or death per person, $50,000 total for bodily injury or death per accident, and $25,000 for property damage. Physical damage coverage, which insures against damage to the insured’s own vehicle, is optional to purchase. However, while not required by law, physical damage coverage may be required by your lender.

What Will Happen If I Cancel My Insurance Coverage?

South Carolina uses the Automobile Insurance Liability Reporting System (AILR). When you cancel your auto insurance, your former insurance company will immediately notify the DMV of the cancellation. The DMV will immediately send you a letter informing you that you have 20 days to provide verification of your new insurance coverage. If you fail to respond to the letter, your privilege to drive, license plate and vehicle registration will be suspended. You may have to pay up to $400 to reinstate your driving and registration privileges. While under suspension, you may not drive or register any vehicle without insurance. If you do not return your plate to the DMV, a law enforcement officer will take it from you.

What Will Happen If I am Found Guilty of Driving Without Insurance?

If you are found guilty and you were driving a vehicle you do not own, your driver's license will be suspended for 30 days and you will be required to pay a $100 reinstatement fee. If you were found guilty and you were driving a vehicle that you own, your license and registration will be suspended until the SCDMV receives the $550 uninsured motorist fee. You must get your insurance company to file a Certificate of Insurance (SR-22) for three years starting with the date of suspension.

If You Want to Challenge Your Citation, Contact an Attorney Today

If you have received a citation for driving without automobile insurance, an attorney can help you challenge the citation. Some traffic codes provide for affirmative defenses. Even if you do not qualify for a defense, you may still be able to dismiss or reduce the charges.

If you would like to discuss your legal options, The Law Offices of Lori S. Murray can assist you. Please call our office today at 803-779-4472 or schedule a consultation online.

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