Virginia drivers wrongly charged under insurance law

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia motorists are being ticketed and convicted of a violation that is not a crime under state law: driving without proof of insurance.

According to Virginia Lawyers Weekly, court records show that drivers in several localities have been hit with hefty fines and court costs for failing to produce an insurance card during a traffic stop.

State law requires motorists to either carry liability insurance or pay a $500 uninsured motor vehicle fee to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Anyone who fails to do so, or who lies to the DMV about having insurance, can be convicted of a misdemeanor punishable by a $500 fine — but the statute says nothing about driving without proof of insurance, according to several lawyers.

Some Virginia police officers, however, cite that statute in charging drivers with failure to have proof of insurance.

Court records show local police have written tickets for “no proof of insurance” in Colonial Heights and Prince William, Sussex and Dinwiddie counties. One driver was fined $100 plus $10 in court costs after being found guilty in Sussex County in May.

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