License and proof of insurance please? Even if you haven’t been stopped in Michigan, you are likely familiar with these requests made by officers during a traffic stop. Until the end of 2014, your proof of insurance was the only easy proof of insurance readily available during a traffic stop. Now, an in-car computer in police cars throughout the State of Michigan gives officers access to fairly up-to-date information on your insurance just by running your license plate.
How does it work?
Insurance companies in Michigan are required to submit reports twice a month, on the 1st and the 15th of the month, to the Secretary of State detailing who is insured. While this is not all that new, the fact that officers can now immediately access this information just by running a license plate is new. The information is made available to the police through LEIN or the Law Enforcement Information Network, a statewide computerized information network which was established in 1967.
What does it mean?
This new simple way of determining whether or not you are insured, means there will likely be more tickets issued for this infraction however, it could still pose problems. The fact that the information is only updated twice a month means that information is not always current. For example, if you are stopped on April 14th and your insurance was not put in place until April 5th, it may incorrectly say that your insurance is not current. For this reason, officers are encouraged not to rely on this information alone but to rely also on proof on insurance, which a driver is required to carry with them in their vehicle at all times in Michigan.
In Michigan, you are required to have no-fault car insurance. This most basic insurance is meant to cover injuries and damages caused in a car accident no matter who is at fault. This no-fault insurance offers personal injury, property and residual bodily injury/property protection. If you are caught driving in Michigan without insurance, you may be convicted of a misdemeanor infraction which may lead to penalties including:
- Fines of $200-$500
- Up to 1 year in jail
- 30 day suspension of your driver’s license or suspension until you can show proof of valid insurance
- The responsibility of paying for damages if involved in an accident while not insured
This new software is not considered a primary reason for a traffic stop however, it is considered a first step, and may eventually lead to real-time information being available in cars throughout the state.
Collis & Griffor, PC is an affordable and experience Ypsilanti attorney serving primary the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti areas.