Driving without insurance is considered a misdemeanor in Minnesota. Penalties and fines are assessed after your first and second offense, and increase dramatically after. Upon your third offense within 10 years, you could be found guilty of a gross misdemeanor, which means losing your driver’s license and registration for an entire year and spending up to 90 days in jail. Fines could go as high as $3,000 in Minnesota for driving uninsured.
Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Minnesota
The Minnesota Financial Responsibility Law requires all drivers to show proof of financial responsibility when requested. If you fail to provide proof, the officer may issue you a citation. Within 10 days of the issuance, the Department of Public Safety will send you written notice that you’re required to produce proof of insurance. If you produce sufficient proof that you had insurance, no penalties will be assessed. If you fail to provide proof of insurance within ten days of the receipt of the notice, the Commissioner of Public Safety may revoke your driver’s license and registration for a period of time. To regain your driving privileges you’ll pay a reinstatement fee, and the Public Safety Commissioner may request your insurance company to file a SR-22 certificate. Penalties could be as severe as up to a year in jail and/or pay a fine ranging from $200-$3,000, depending on the offense.
Penalties for 1st and 2nd Offenses
If you fail to present valid proof of active insurance when requested by law enforcement, such as at traffic stops or at the scene of an accident, you’re hit with a fine of $200-$1,000. For the 1st and 2nd offenses, your driver’s license, registration and license plates are suspended for 30 days or more (and no more than 12 months). In order to regain driving privileges, you’ll be required to show proof of insurance and pay a $30 reinstatement fee. There is a chance you could spend up to one year in jail in addition to the fine, or the court could penalize you by one or the other. It is also up to the Minnesota courts to decide whether your vehicle will be impounded.
Penalties for 3rd and Subsequent Offenses
If the 3rd offense occurs within ten years of two prior convictions, you’ll be guilty of a gross misdemeanor. Your driver’s license, registration and license plates are now suspended for up to one year and you’ll pay a $30 reinstatement fee to get them back, in addition to providing proof of adequate insurance coverage. You face the possibility of up to one year in jail and/or a maximum fine of $3,000 (minimum $200). As with the first and second offenses, you face a possible vehicle impoundment.
Reducing or Eliminating the Fine
If you can provide proof that you had insurance coverage in Minnesota at the time you were pulled over, you may be able to have your citation dismissed. In addition, if you have been found guilty of driving without insurance and assessed a fine, the court may allow community service instead, if you can prove that you would have trouble paying the fine.