Our office has a significant criminal and traffic ticket defense practice and we therefore come across many of the common mistakes made by both the police and the individuals who are ticketed by them.
For 10-15 years, many of the firm’s traffic court clients, who receive insurance card tickets, have reported that the police have told them to send the court a copy of their insurance card to obtain a dismissal of the ticket. This is incorrect.
Courts will not accept a photocopy of one’s insurance card, even if it appears to be valid on the day the ticket was received, because insurance may have lapsed on the day the ticket was received.
Courts therefore require an original letter from the home office of the individual’s insurance company. Photocopied letters will not suffice. This letter must contain the following elements:
- The letter must be on the insurance company’s letterhead.
- It must be typed, not handwritten.
- The letter must state the effective dates of the coverage period.
- It must also state that no lapse occurred during the effective dates of the coverage period. Or, that if a lapse occurred, state the dates of the lapse in coverage.
- The letter must specifically state that coverage was in full force and effect on ______________ (the date the ticket was received).
- The letter must give a description of the insured vehicle including the: a) Year b) Make c) Model d) Color e) License Plate Number and f) Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of the car.
- Insurance Cards are not acceptable!
If you find yourself in criminal or traffic trouble, the cost of increased insurance, fines and State surcharges often exceed the cost of the legal fees necessary to retain representation in traffic court. So give us a call.
Picture courtesy of nstsa.dot.gov.