Illinois Traffic & Criminal Law Blog

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It is illegal to drive a car in Illinois without liability insurance. Whether it is your car or someone else’s, you will end up paying heavy fines and a suspension of your driving privileges. Let’s say you borrow someone’s car to run a quick errand and you get pulled over. The officer asks you for your driver’s license and proof of insurance. You hand over your license and tell the officer, “this isn’t my car, it’s my friend’s, I’m just borrowing it to run an errand.” The officer tells you they will be right back after they run your license and the plates on the car. The officer comes back and tells you that the car you’re driving has no liability insurance and unless you produce proof, you will get a ticket for driving the car with no insurance. You’re shocked to hear this because it’s not your car and don’t understand why you will get the no insurance ticket. You ask your friend for a copy of the insurance for the car to show the judge and your friend tells you they never had insurance. At your court date you plead with the judge that 1) it wasn’t your car and 2) you didn’t know that the car was not insured or else you would not have driven it. Unfortunately, that is not a defense and you will be held responsible.

Illinois law requires you to carry liability insurance on a vehicle under 625 ILCS 5/3-707(a). If you are pulled over driving someone else’s car that is not insured, you are getting the ticket. The legal name for this violation is “Operating an Uninsured Motor Vehicle.”

I’ve seen this happen too many times and want you to be aware of the penalties you may face as they will be costly and affect your driving privileges. If you borrowed someone’s car and got pulled over and ticketed for no insurance, you will have to appear in court for the ticket, not the vehicle’s owner. In addition, depending on the status of your driver’s license, your license will be suspended for a period of time and you will have to pay mandatory high fines. As unfair as this may be, you have an affirmative duty to make sure any car you drive has valid liability insurance and valid registration.

Let’s say you get into a car accident in the borrowed car and you find out the car had no insurance and get a ticket for no insurance. The passengers in the other car sustained injuries and were rushed to the hospital. Illinois is an “at fault” state and now you could potentially be sued personally by the other driver and their insurance company. Your future wages may be garnished to pay for their damages and let’s not forget the cost to repair any damages to your car.

The consequences you may face for driving someone else’s car with no liability insurance can be extremely costly and have a detrimental effect on your driving privileges. A first offense is a petty offense with a mandatory fine between $500 to $1000. If you are convicted, your license will be suspended for three (3) months. After your suspension period is over, you must pay a $100 reinstatement fee to the Illinois Secretary of State to lift the suspension. This means you cannot drive until you received confirmation from the Secretary of State. Now, let’s say your own driver’s license was suspended at the time you were ticketed for no insurance, be prepared for your driving privileges to be suspended for an additional six (6) months, for a total of nine (9) months suspension. Don’t forget you’ll have to pay a $100 reinstatement fee for the suspension to lift.

If you have not been previously convicted of this offense or received court supervision and are granted court supervision, you or your friend must obtain liability insurance on the vehicle and show the judge proof of coverage on your final report date that you in fact obtained liability insurance and had it throughout the supervision period. If you show proof of coverage and pay a $100 fine, you will keep your court supervision. See 625 ILCS 5/3-707(c-5)

A third or subsequent conviction of driving with no insurance requires you to obtain SR-22 insurance and maintain it for three (3) years through the Secretary of State. If you don’t show proof of SR-22 to the Secretary of State, fail to provide if for the mandatory three (3) year period or don’t update your address with the Secretary of State, your license will be suspended.

See 625 ILCS 5/3-707(d).

The point is that you better think twice before you drive someone else’s car and don’t know if there is liability insurance on the car. If you’re not sure, always call your insurance company about obtaining non-owner coverage for your driver’s license to cover yourself in anyone’s car you may drive.

Don’t take on a no insurance ticket alone as the results can be damaging to your ability to drive and your life. Talk to an experienced attorney about your options on how to resolve your matter with the least implications on your driving privileges and your wallet.

See 625 ILCS 5/3-707; 730 ILCS 5/5-6-1(g)

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