If you’re caught driving without insurance in Arizona, serious penalties can occur, varying based on the circumstances. You could lose your driving privileges for an entire year, be forced to pay a $1,000 fine and be required to file an SR-22 certificate of financial responsibility for two years. The Financial Responsibility Law in Arizona requires drivers to carry the following minimum amounts of liability insurance: a minimum of $15,000 for bodily injury per person, $30,000 bodily injury per accident and $10,000 of property damage.
Penalties for Driving Without Insurance
The Arizona Department of Transportation (DOT) requires all drivers to carry and verify proof of financial responsibility when requested by law enforcements. Failure to show proof can result in a traffic citation. If you can prove you had proper coverage at the time of the citation on or before the court appearance, the issue can be dismissed. Not having appropriate insurance coverage can result in a suspension of your driver’s license, registration and license plates for a full year. To reinstate your driving privileges you’ll pay a $35 fee and fines from $500-$1,000, depending on the number of previous offenses.
Here is a table that illustrates the penalties under a 1st and subsequent offenses, followed by explanation in more detail (these penalties are in addition to any fines or penalties imposed by a court of law):
|$500||Driver's license, registration and license plates suspended for three months; $35 total to reinstate.||SR-22 certificate for two years.|
|$750||Driver's license, registration and license plates suspended for six months; $35 total to reinstate.||SR-22 certificate for two years.|
Third and Subsequent Offenses
|$1,000||Driver's license, registration and license plates suspended for one year; $35 total to reinstate.||SR-22 certificate for two years.|
Penalties for 1st Offense
If you fail to present valid proof of active insurance when requested by Arizona law enforcement, such as at traffic stops or at the scene of an accident, you’re hit with a $500 fine. For the 1st offense, your driver’s license, registration and license plates are suspended for three months.
In order to get them reinstated, you’ll pay a $10 fee for your driver’s license and a $25 fee for the registration and license plates. If you’re found to be driving uninsured, you may also be required to provide proof of future financial responsibility (SR-22 certificate) for two years from the date your driving privileges suspension ends.
Penalties for 2nd Offense
If the 2nd offense occurs within three years of a previous insurance citation, the fine jumps up to $750. Your driver’s license, registration and license plates are suspended for six months. As with the first offense, a $10 fee and proof of insurance is required to get your driver’s license back. You’ll pay a $25 fee to get your registration and license plates returned. And you may be required to file an SR-22 certificate for two years after reinstatement.
Penalties for 3rd and Subsequent Offenses
If the 3rd offense occurs within three years of two previous violations, you’ll pay a $1,000 fine. Your suspension period now doubles to one year: you won't be able to use your driver’s license, registration and license plates during this period. As with the first and second offenses, you'll pay a total of $35 to reactivate them: a $10 fee and proof of insurance is required to get your driver’s license back, and $25 fee to get your registration and license plates returned. You may also be required to file an SR-22 certificate for two years after reinstatement.
Reducing or Eliminating the Fine
If you’ve been convicted of driving without insurance as your first offense in three years, you may be able to plead to reduce or waive the penalty and conviction. In order to have the penalty reduced or waived, try presenting to the court at least one of two proofs: 1) you either have no previous conviction for driving without insurance in the last two years, or not more than one violation record on your driving record within the past three years, and 2) you have purchased at least a six-month policy of insurance that meets the Arizona minimum liability requirements.
The court only has the power to waive your fine, so if your license or registration was already suspended, you will still need to pay reinstatement fees to get those back. However, if that suspension was still pending at the time of court, you may also be able to avoid driver’s license and license plate reinstatement fees if the court waives your fine and suspension all together – since then there would not be anything to reinstate at that point.