Speak Up! - View Question #70
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Question: While driving an intoxicated friend home in her car I was stopped for speeding and no proof of ins. I was cited for no proof of ins. Shouldn't the no proof of ins. be the owner's fault? She was in the car.
Answer: Although it sometimes does not seem fair, Arizona law (ARS §28-4135) makes the 'operator' of a vehicle responsible for making sure the vehicle is properly insured. The purpose of insurance is to pay for damages if there is an accident. If a car is not insured, it is not supposed to be driven on the streets where an accident could occur. Therefore, the law puts the responsibility on anybody who 'operates' a vehicle to make certain it is properly insured before it is taken onto the street.
There have been many cases in which an 'operator' is cited for operating a vehicle without insurance but the owner of the vehicle agrees to pay the fine for them.
The 'No Insurance' citation will be dismissed if you can show the judge proof that the vehicle did have insurance at the time the citation was issued.
If you were insured through your own insurance at the time you were cited, and if your insurance covers you in any vehicle you are driving, you can show proof of that policy to the judge and the charge must also then be dismissed.
If a person obtains insurance after the date of the citation the fine can be reduced or totally waived. Often judges will reduce or waive the fine for a person who was being a 'Good Samaritan' and did not know the car did not have insurance. All of these circumstances should be explained to the judge.