Are you obligated to have insurance in California?

Car insurance sounds like something that should be your own personal choice, like life insurance. If you want to take the risk and drive without it, knowing you’ll have to cover the costs if you get into an accident, shouldn’t you be able to do that?

It is important to note that this is not how lawmakers see it at all. You have a legal obligation to carry insurance. It’s one of the main things that a police officer will ask you for after an accident or even if you get pulled over. You need to prove that you have valid coverage while showing that you have a license and that the car is properly registered in your name.

So, what if you decide to ignore this law and drive without insurance?

When you get caught, even for nothing more than a first offense, you’ll face stiff fines. They started between $100 and $200, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. You also need to pay a penalty assessment on top of that. For every $10 that you get fined, that assessment costs you another $26. Therefore, if you got a $100 fine, you’d also have to pay $260 in assessment fees, for a total of $360. You could end up paying as much as $720. If they want to, the court may also have the power to take your vehicle away and have it impounded.

As you can see, this is not something to take lightly. If you find yourself facing fines and fees, you need to know about all of the defense options you have.

Reasons people give for speeding

As soon as the police officer pulls you over for speeding, do you start thinking about what excuse you’re going to use? Do you start wondering if you can talk your way out of the ticket?

Most of us do, but it’s important to remember that the police have heard it all before. They get excuses with almost every single traffic stop. This is nothing new. Here are a few of the most common ones:

  • You actually thought it would be safer. For instance, maybe the car behind you was tailgating and you thought that speeding would help avoid a rear-end accident.
  • The flow of traffic was moving above the speed limit, and you were just following the example of the other cars. You thought that driving slowly would cause a traffic jam and may put people in more danger.
  • You are late for something important. It could be work, school, a doctor’s appointment, a court date or an interview, just to name a few examples.
  • You never saw a speed limit sign. Maybe you got pulled over doing 60 mph zone, but you thought it was a 55-mph zone.
  • You had a medical emergency of your own and needed to speed. Perhaps the most common example is a man saying that his pregnant wife is in labor, and he needs to get to the hospital.

Some of these excuses may work, but they may not. Rather than only focusing on how you can talk your way out of it, take the time to look into all of your legal options to fight the ticket.