Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Arkansas

According to the Arkansas Code § 27-19-713 under the Motor Vehicle Safety Responsibility Act, a valid proof of insurance is an essential condition to owning and operating a car in the state. Not complying can result in serious penalties, including heavy financial sentences and jail time.

Type of PenaltyFirst OffenseSecond OffenseThird and Subsequent Offenses
Fine $50 to $250 unless proof of insurance is presented within 10 days of arrest $250 to $500 and the minimum fine will be mandatory Mandatory $500 to $1,000
Imprisonment N/A N/A 1 year in jail or a combination of fine and jail time
Driving Privilege
License plate removal; Registration suspension; Vehicle impoundment if involved in an accident
Reinstatement Requirements
Proof of insurance or SR-22; $20.00 resintatement fee; Towing and storage fees if involved in an accident 

Penalties for Driving Uninsured in Arkansas

Arkansas mandates that all of its motorists have liability coverage for every vehicle registered in their names, at least for the minimum limits of 25/50/25. There are two ways the Arkansas Office of Motor Vehicle (OMV) can learn who might be violating this law: when you’re caught driving without insurance, or when you’re verified as a negligent policyholder through the state’s insurance reporting system.

Caught Uninsured on the Road

You can receive a citation on the road if you are unable to produce an auto insurance ID card or the policy itself at a roadblock. This can happen for any number of reasons, including being halted for a minor road infraction, or during an accident you may or may not have caused. 

First Offense

If you are caught driving without coverage for the first time, you can be charged with a fine anywhere between $50 and $250. Furthermore, the traffic enforcer at the scene may remove your license plates. He will give you a temporary bumper sticker that will allow you to use your car for the next 10 days. If you manage to submit proper proof of insurance within those allotted 10 days, your fine will be waived and your tags will be returned at no cost. However, if you fail to do so, the Arkansas’ Office of Driver Services will suspend your registration.

To restore your driving privileges, you will need to provide the Arkansas DMV with a new Arkansas auto insurance policy or an SR-22 prepared by your insurer. You will also have to pay the $20 reinstatement fee.

Second Offense

A repeat of the same violation will subject you to graver financial distress. Your second offense to the insurance law will cost you not less than $250 and not more than $500 in fines. Like before, your license plates will be recalled and the same 10-day sticker will be attached to your car’s rear in lieu of your confiscated tags. If you can present proof of insurance within 10 days, you can save your registration from being suspended. Unfortunately, this will not save you from paying the mandatory minimum fine. 

In the event that you do not meet the required deadline for a renewed policy or an SR-22 submission, you will lose your driving privileges. At this point, the same reinstatement requirements mentioned above will apply.

Third and Subsequent Offenses

Going up against Arkansas’ insurance law for the third time is categorized as a Class C misdemeanor. This means, as a habitual offender, you stand to be penalized with a large fine that ranges from $500 to $1,000, plus, imprisonment for one full year. 

Even if you show proof of insurance within 10 days of your citation, this does not exempt you from paying the mandatory fine assigned to you. What’s more, you cannot begin the reinstatement process of your driving privileges unless you’ve completed your jail term.

In an Accident

Without a doubt, the biggest monetary upset you can be faced with when driving uninsured is when you’re caught in the middle of a collision. Arkansas is a fault-based State. If you are at fault for causing a crash and lack the protection of liability coverage, you will be deemed guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. On top of paying for the other party’s personal injuries and property damages out of pocket, you will suffer the penalties attached to your traffic violation – say, reckless driving - which led to the accident. The insurance penalties will also apply here, inclusive of your car being impounded, and you paying for its towing and storage fees.

Verified Uninsured on the Database

The Arkansas OMV also has a program that requires all licensed insurance companies to report the status of every auto insurance policy purchased through them. This is a strict regulation that fines carriers $250 for every day they fail to submit monthly reports to the state. If your policy has lapsed for 3 months and this information appears on the database, the OMV will send you a non-compliance notice. You will need to respond to this notice with proof of insurance within 30 days. If you cannot, your registration will be suspended.

You can only reclaim your driving privileges by submitting a valid insurance policy or an SR-22 filed by your insurer. Along with this, you will need to pay the $50 reinstatement fee; $17 to $30 registration fee (it differs by your car size); and $3 for every 10 days you have not accomplished the requirements for registration renewal.

Penalty for Insurance Lapse
Driving Privilege Registration suspension unless proof of insurance is presented within 30 days of non-compliance notice
Reinstatement Requirements Proof of renewed or new financial coverage or SR-22; $50 reinstatement fee; $17 to $30 registration fee; $3 for every 10 days you do not complete your registration

Re-applying for Auto Insurance in Arkansas

While all drivers in Arkansas must be insured, Arkansas auto insurance companies do have the right to refuse coverage to those considered to be high-risk drivers. You are tagged ‘high-risk’ when a major traffic violation is found on your driving record – records of insurance lapses being one of them.

If you are having trouble finding a car insurance carrier, you may apply for insurance through the Arkansas Automobile Insurance Plan.

Sources:
Arkansas Office of Motor Vehicles: Registration Fees
Arkansas Motor Vehicle Liability Policy requirements

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