In Maine, driving without proof of financial responsibility is a traffic infraction that can cost a registered motorist $500 in fines and the indefinite suspension of driving privileges. Reinstating these privileges will cost you even more, especially if you're caught driving uninsured after an accident.
Penalties for driving uninsured in Maine
Failure to present such proof when you're pulled over or when you're involved in an unfortunate road mishap can result in monetary and suspension penalties. While Maine does not escalate the penalties with subsequent offenses, the difficulty arises when it comes to restoring your lost driving privileges, as you will see here.
Type of penalty
Failure to surrender registration and license after suspension
|Fine||Not less than $100 and not more than $500||$2,000|
|Driving privilege||Suspended until valid proof provided||Suspended until valid proof provided|
|Reinstatement requirements||$50 reinstatement fee; $20 to $30 license fee; $35 registration fee||$50 reinstatement fee; $20 to $30 license fee; $35 registration fee|
|SR-22||Maintained for three years||Maintained for three years|
|Others||N/A||Up to six months imprisonment|
First and subsequent offenses
When you're caught speeding, running a red light or committing any other moving violation on the roads of Maine, you will be pulled over and asked to present your proof of insurance. Acceptable proof can be a current insurance identification card, your official policy binder or a digital copy of your policy saved on any portable electronic device.
If you do not have one of these ready in your car, you will be considered uninsured and charged a fine between $100 and $500. You will also be served a Violations Summons and Complaint stating the suspension of your license and registration, which will take effect in 30 days. This is an indefinite suspension that will continue until you submit valid proof of insurance to the court.
The good news is that this penalty can be waived. If you are able to secure satisfactory evidence of liability insurance within 30 days and prove that your policy was active at the time of the alleged violation, the court will dismiss the citation.
Offense in an accident
As soon as an accident report is filed, the court will demand all drivers involved in the accident produce appropriate evidence of liability coverage within 30 days. If your 30-day grace period is up and you are not able to show proof of insurance by way of a current policy or an SR-22 filed by your insurer (more on that here), your driving privileges will be suspended.
The court will order you to surrender your driver's license, registration receipt and license plates. Failure to do so is considered a Class E crime punishable with fines amounting to $2,000 and imprisonment for as long as six months. Your driving privileges will stay suspended until such time you are able to present valid proof of insurance.
Reinstating your driving privileges
The state offers you two ways to reinstate your suspended driving privileges.
One: Your suspension can be lifted and your driving privileges restored once you've paid all you owe by the court's judgment in full. After that, you need to submit a valid auto insurance policy, and an SR-22 filed by your insurer must be maintained for three years. You will have to pay a $50 reinstatement fee for your suspended license on top of a license fee worth $20 to $30 and a registration renewal fee worth $35.
Two: Your license, registration and plates can be restored immediately if the court grants you permission to pay, in installments, the liability amounts you owe the other party involved in the crash. This installment payment agreement order is valid provided that you have an SR-22 filed and maintained for three years. The reinstatement fees still apply for option two.
Reapplying for auto insurance in Maine
Maine auto insurance companies have the right to deny you a policy if they feel that you are too risky to cover. Convictions, such as violating the state's insurance law, make you a prime candidate for high-risk driver status and, therefore, a bad policyholder choice for insurers. Here is where the state's assigned risk pool can extend assistance. Through the Maine Automobile Insurance Plan, you can purchase the insurance required in the state.