How to Deal with Proof of Insurance Violations

One of the most common and most expensive traffic tickets a driver can get is a failure to have proof of insurance while when asked by a police officer. In California, the violation is technically known as a Vehicle Code section 16028 infraction, and nearly all states have a very similar law. The typical fine for a Veh Code 16028 violation is about $1200 once court costs and “penalty assessments” are added. But there is a way to save big $$.

The best way to save money on an auto insurance violation is to show up in court in person with proof of insurance. Even if you get it late.

If you received one of these citations, you are probably very interested in reducing or getting out of the fine. After 12 years of handling these violations for clients, I have some good tips for saving money, and here is what you need to know.

I. The Violation is for “Not Having Proof” of Liability Insurance With You While Driving, Not for a “Lack of an Insurance Policy”.

Nearly every day I get emails from drivers stating something to the effect of:

“I have a VC16028 violation, but I had insurance at the time.!”

Well, the bad news is that having insurance is not a complete defense to the charge. If you did not show proof to the officer when he / she asked for it, you are guilty. So a trial is rarely a good idea. The better option is to talk the judge into dismissing or reducing the fine without a trial.

II. If You Had Valid Insurance at the Time of the Citation, Show Proof in Court.

The ideal way to get an insurance ticket dismissed is to appear in court with your proof of insurance (covering the date of the violation), show it to the judge, and ask for a dismissal. If you want to sound really smart, ask for the dismissal in the interests of justice under authority of Penal Code section 1385. Technically, the court does not have to accept proof of insurance in court, but almost all judges will. The best way to ask for a dismissal is to say “I just could not find the paper before the officer wrote the citation.”

To get the insurance violation dismissed correctly, you need to appear in court prior to the date listed on the bottom of the citation next to your signature. Do not wait for the court to send you anything!! They are not required to send you a courtesy notice. Go to court and ask for an “Arraignment” prior to the date on the ticket. You may have to go in at 8 am and ask for a walk in court appearance.

In most courts you cannot get an insurance violation dismissed by mail without unreasonable difficulty. The best way to do it without frustration and wasted time is to appear in court in person. At some courts, it can be done at the court clerks window, but either way, you have to go in person to get it done right.

There may be a “dismissal fee” that you have to pay in person. See California Vehicle Code section 16029(e), and VC40611 for more details on the dismissal of insurance violations.

III. If You Did Not Have Insurance at the Time of the Ticket, Get It ASAP!

If you did not have insurance at the time of the citation, but got it before the date on your citation, you are eligible for the minimum fine. [See California Vehicle Code section 16029(e)(1)]

But to get that minimum fine, you must appear in court and ask for it.  You cannot do it by mail.  The correct what to get the minimum fine on an insurance violation is to appear at the courthouse prior to the date on the traffic ticket (by your signature) and ask for an Arraignment.  Once in the courtroom, and your case is called, tell the judge “I have proof of valid insurance that I got after the citation and I would like to ask the court to accept it and give me the minimum fine in accordance with CA Vehicle Code section 16029(e)(1).

By following this procedure this procedure, even if you are fully guilty, you will save yourself about $900 – which is far more than the cost of insurance.  So get insurance!  I recommend using the insurance link above to get a quality set of quotes for auto insurance within 2 minutes.

And aside form saving money on the fine, auto liability insurance is always worth the money (See my article on What Happens If You Get Into An Accident Without Auto Insurance.

(See also: )

And it never hurts to ask for a dismissal under penal code section 1385 even if you got an auto liability policy late – all they judge can say is no.

IV.  If The Court Gives You a Hard Time, There May Be a Good Issue for a Trial.

In my 12 years as a defense Attorney, I have noticed that over and over again, police officers give out traffic tickets with only one violation listed – the insurance violation.  But the law actually states that it is illegal for an officer to stop someone solely for the purpose of checking your insurance.

If the only violation on the traffic ticket is listed as a VC 16028, and you want a trial, your best defense if that the officer pulled you over illegally just to check your insurance.

Once in court, the officer is bound to make up a reason for the stop, such as “I saw her speeding”.  But you can effectively counter this statement by simply asking the officer:  “You did not note a [speeding] violation on the ticket, did you?

But whatever you do, do not ask the officer why he pulled you over (and thereby give the officer a chance to explain he gave you a warning).

Then in your final argument, tell the judge there is no reliable evidence the stop was legal. The law requires that the office observe a Vehicle Code violation prior to detaining a motorist. And if he sees a violation, and stops a car for that violation, there needs to be some documentation of that fact. The only reliable evidence is the ticket, and the officer’s writing from teh time of the stop – which mentions only a VC16028 violation. No legal justification for the stop.


If there is no way you can get auto liability insurance before the date on your citation, go to court anyway and ask for more time.

The court will almost always give you more time to fix an insurance issue. The trick to staying out of trouble is to show up on time to ask for more time.

The worst thing you can do is to blow off your court date – that will only increase the severity of the problem.

Questions?  Leave a Comment, we try to answer them all.

About Attorney Christopher Dort

Public Interest Attorney. CA State Bar #196832. Licensed to practice law in California 1998, and then the US Federal District Court in 2000. Civil Litigation Trial Attorney (Insurance Defense Firms) 2000-2003. Private practice 2003 - present. First Solo Criminal Jury Trial 1998 (Santa Cruz County). First Civil Jury Trial 2002 (Orange County). Santa Cruz County Public Defenders Office 1996-1999 (law clerk). BA in Politics from UC Santa Cruz, 1995. JD, University of California, Hastings, 1998.
This entry was posted in Auto Accidents, Auto Liability Insurance, Correctable Violations, Going to Court, Traffic Court Fines, Traffic Court Trials, Vehicle Code and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

48 Responses to How to Deal with Proof of Insurance Violations

  1. Jerri says:


    Thank you for your services!
    I got pulled over in Los angeles for not making a right turn only and going straight thru in order to get to the other side.. I apologized profusely as I didn’t even see the arrow on the pavement.. Anyway, when the officer asked me for my “proof of insurance” I of course , stupid me, didn’t have it on me.. I must of caught him in a good mood because he proceeds to offer me a choice.. would I rather take a ticket for the non right turn violation and a point on my record OR a citation for not having a copy of my insurance on me.. I took the citation for the insurance (and fries w/that).. However, when I got home I noticed that he circled non correctable, then a few days later I got a letter stating a bail amount of $900. very confusing! thought he was giving me a choice and I didn’t know it wasn’t correctable?! The letter states if you have coverage during the time of being pulled over to mail a copy of your policy and a check for $25. DONE… I guess I want to know if I will get something in the mail stating my citation has been dismissed or not dismissed, and should also I keep my arraignment appointment for 9/19 just in case? (I panicked and scheduled this), but because these citations appear to be so wordy I just want to make sure I do the right thing.. Is the $900 for ppl who simply can not prove they had/have insurance? $900 seems quit steep for someone who does have coverage and can prove it. Please know he noted on my ticket that I didn’t make the right turn.. (I read some of the other comments that officers can’t just write tickets for the non proof of insurance)
    Thank you again and Cheers!

    • Jerri,

      I cannot tell you what your notice says. But I can say it is probably telling you that you can either:

      1) pay the bail, plead not guilty by mail and have a trial date; or
      2) pay the bail, plead guilty by mail, and thereby forfeit the bail as the punishment.

      I always tell people to go to the court to deal with it in person. Get proof you paid if you do pay. Get proof of your trial date if you get one. Go before the date on your citation.

      At least you picked the one that is not a moving violation!

      If you have proof of coverage on the date of the alleged violation, demand a trial. Take the proof of coverage (on the date of the violation) to the trial.

      Maybe demand an in person arraignment – and try to use it there.

      The officer probably does have discretion on that violation.

      If you do not have perfect proof of correction, maybe you have proof of innocence?

  2. Christina says:

    I was recently ticketed for no proof of insurance in Illinois (and speeding), for which I now have to appear in court. The officer didn’t seem to think that the rental car was proof enough that it was insured. I had the rental car contract with me, but they gave me a duplicate copy of it that didn’t contain my original signature. Officer was adamant that there was no proof of insurance. My own auto insurance cards were in my actual car miles away. Is this officer confused about how rental cars are insured? Or am I? What’s my best course of action. Court date is in a couple weeks 250 miles away.

  3. Noam Rubin says:

    On 6/26/13 I was pulled over for not having current registration tabs on my vehicle. At this time I unknowingly did not have car insurance. I did however pay for my new registration but hadn’t received tabs in the mail. I took care of my car insurance immediately and have proof that my insurance policy went into affect at 12:01am on 6/27. What should I do now? Will I have to pay the full $925 bail amount? What should my next move be? I would obviously really like to avoid paying the $925 fine.

  4. Adam says:

    My wife and I have swapped cars from time to time and our cars are on separate policy’s and companies. I got pulled over for tags, paid for but we’d moved and they’ve gotten lost in the mail. I couldn’t find the POI, I know I’m insured as I have the card in my car. I’d discovered my wife had put her policy on non op and I’m not listed as a driver.
    Would my insurance cover it since I myself was covered on the infraction date?
    Also I started my wife’s car on my policy on the same day of the infraction.

    Should I take all this and see the court clerk or ask to see the judge?

    • Adam,

      Good question, EZ solution.

      If you had insurance at the time of the violation, but did not have proof with you, you should be able to get the violation dismissed.

      Here is how I would do it if it were my ticket:

      I would take my proof of insurance to the courthouse tomorrow in person. I would also bring at least $50 cash. US money. And the citation. Tell the court clerk at the window you have proof of correction for an insurance violation. Ask if you can resolve it there at the counter (Counter disposition). Many courts will let you do it right there at the clerk’s office without a court appearance.

      They are going to charge you to park. They are going to charge you to dismiss your case. They are going to threaten to tow away your car, and increase your penalties.

      Dont make any jokes about bombs.

      If you can do it at the counter, they will take your dismissal fee right then and there. Get a receipt. If you are in one of these efficient courts, it is best to go at 10:30 am, or 2:30 pm.

      If they tell you that you need to make a court appearance to get the proof of correction accepted, ask for a walk in appearance. If you are at one of these courts, it is best to go at 8 am.

      If you are in a county with money problems, call first to make sure: 1) the courthouse is still open (no joke); 2) they have a record of your case/citation; 3) what days they are open with a clerk working.

      Some courts only have traffic court clerks available on a couple days a week. If you go on a Monday, and they are only open on Wed, Thursday, and Friday, you will be pissed off.

      OK – that’s it. How to solve the problem forever in one day.

      Other options?

      In many courts you can deal with a correctable citation by mail. But you have to anticipate problems, and keep copies of everything. Dont wait for the court to send you anything. They wont. They dont have the money. The law does not require it. They hope you dont show up – or at least that is what you should expect.

      In some counties, this case would get you a courtesy notice that gives you instructions on how to submit your proof of correction and dismissal fee by mail.

      If you have that problem, after submitting the proof and payment by mail (no personal checks because they bounce – money order is better), you have to follow up with a real human being to make sure the transaction was posted, correctly, on time. Then you need to some how get proof that is what happened, so that later when they accuse you of not showing up you have proof.

      Ultimately, if you try to take care of it by mail you actually have to go to the courthouse in person to get proof you took care of it by mail.

      Therefore, I would just go in person and pay in person, and get proof of payment in person right from the beginning.

      What if you cant go to court in person?
      What if you dont have $50 cash?
      What if you were drunk and lost the citation, so you dont know what court it is in?
      What if the citation was 4 years ago, and you have moved 23 times since then?
      What if you never had a CA drivers license can cannot get one, and therefore have no insurance?

      What if you have proof of insurance, but it is hidden in your employer’s safe and your employer refuses to admit you used the vehicle?


      To be continued on next page.

  5. Sabrina says:


    I haven’t received any violations, but I just wanted to make sure I understand the law correctly. The proof of insurance documents I have list only my parents’ names but on another page it includes my name as one of the operators. Is that enough proof that I’m included in the insurance policy? Thanks for your help.

  6. Jay says:

    I live in Ohio and I was pulled over for speeding and at the time I did not have insurance,on the ticket it does not require me to go to court but the box that ask if the driver has insurance was left blank. I purchased insurance since then and I feel that I am not guilty of speeding but I do admit that I am guilty of driving without insurance. Any advice?

  7. Leo says:

    Trying to figure out if the officer who pulled me over misunderstands the law or if I do. I was pulled over for speeding about a week ago. During the course of the stop the officer asked for my driver license, insurance and registration. I provided all of these. He then came back to me noting that my name is not listed on the insurance card (my parents are listed as the 2 names), and claimed that this means I don’t have proof of insurance. I am actually on the policy (didn’t have the copy with me), the car is registered in my name, and the insurance card includes the car VIN. He wrote me a 16028(a) violation for this. As I have always understood the law, what he is saying is wrong.

    • Leo,

      The officer needed to see proof that you were covered with a valid liability policy in that car at that time. Unless you showed the officer something that said you were insured while driving that car, you did not comply with the law.

      But if you have proof that you were in fact covered (the declarations page from the policy which either lists you or lists all permissive drivers) present it at arraignment and trial if necessary, ask for dismissal.

  8. Laura says:

    Last month my oldest daughter (28) was driving her sister’s car (age 20) and was pulled over in a check point. When asked for her license and proof of insurance (POI) she provided her license but could not find the POI – the officer said “just bring POI and you will be okay. She went to court on her day off (1/22/13) to show proof of delivery at the time of the citation. and was told by the clerk, you have to appear on the 5th and has since then received a request for payment of $900.00. My daughter is extremely upset and I am trying to help her find some thing that may help her in this situation. What advice can you offer? I thank you for your time and your expertise in this situation. Oh, this occurred in Los Angeles, California.

    • Laura,

      Your daughter is guilty. If she did not have proof of valid auto liability insurance at the time the officer asked for it – she is guilty. She did not have her proof when the law requires she have it.

      Her age is not relevant. The registered owner of the car is not relevant. What the officer told her verbally is not relevant.

      What if she were to have the bad luck of causing an accident? The other driver was hurt. The police and other driver need her insurance info immediately. But she cant find it because she is not organized. What then? Just tell the dude “I’ll have to get back with you with that. I’ll call you at the hospital.” ???

      Having said that, judges do have the power in CA to dismiss a “no proof of insurance” violation upon showing of valid insurance covering that date time and vehicle. But they do not have to dismiss it.

      Maybe show up on time and try to talk the judge into it. Or just pay.

  9. Dani says:

    I got a ticket for not having my insurance on me, it was in my car but couldn’t find it at the time. I missed the date to show that I had insurance in court. I live in Orange County and the fine was $900. I’m a full time student and that amount of money is way more than I can afford. My own stupid mistake for missing the date but any way to get them to dismiss it at my now scheduled date to appear? Any info to help would be greatly appreciated for this broke student!

  10. ALEX says:

    Hi, I receive a citation for failure to show insurance when officer asked me, I do have insurance but it was cancel at the time for non-payment, should I still show the judge that prove of insurance, that was cancel

    • Alex,

      Great question.

      If your insurance policy was canceled on the date of the citation, the proof of insurance card you have is garbage, useless.

      What the court needs to see is Proof that you had a Current, Valid Liability Insurance Policy in effect on the date of the citation.

      If you try to show proof with an expired, fake, or cancelled card, you rick big problems, real criminal charges.

      If your insurance policy was cancelled on that day, you’re screwed. Get valid insurance now. Try to use new insurance to talk judge into minimum fine.

  11. Jennifer says:

    I just bought a car from a relative in Illinois and later that day I got pulled over for speeding in my home state of Indiana. I received my citation for speeding and was on my way. About 2-3 weeks later I got a paper in the mail from the BMV saying I needed to show proof of insurance for the date of the citation or my license will be suspended. I didn’t have insurance at the time of the citation but I have it now. I just don’t know what to do or what is going to happen.

  12. Arturo says:


    I was driving home from work (in Arizona) and I didn’t notice one of my headlights was out, so I got pulled over. When the officer asked me for proof of insurance, I couldn’t find it! But, seeing as we live in the 21st century, I asked the officer if I could look it up and show it to him on my phone. He said no, I must have it, and wrote me a ticket. Then I got home, looked up the ARS 28-4235 and it says proof shown on a wireless communication device is acceptable! Any chance I can get this dismissed?


    • Arturo,

      Holly crap! Does the law actually say that?

      Demand a trial. Save a tree. Bring a picture of you huggin a tree to the trial.

      And remind the judge that the AZ governor is totally insane. Embarrassingly insane. Opinion

      • Arturo says:

        I’m pretty sure her insanity is a fact.. Anyway, yes, here’s the government website. I’ve quoted the relevant section below.

        “B. A person operating a motor vehicle on a highway in this state shall have evidence within the motor vehicle of current financial responsibility applicable to the motor vehicle. The evidence may be displayed on a wireless communication device that is in the motor vehicle. If a person displays the evidence on a wireless communication device pursuant to this subsection, the person is not consenting for law enforcement to access other contents of the wireless communication device.”

        Thanks for the quick reply, but if I demand a trial, doesn’t that mean getting a lawyer and all associated fees, plus the court time? How can you judge if your effort will be worth getting a ticket dismissed?

        • Arturo,

          Thanks for the comment. This case is way too small for free. I write about going to court like it’s fun and EZ – but truth is there is no way I am going for less than $1000 nowadays.

          But you can go! You can handle your own traffic ticket trial. You obviously got the research.

          You can also shop around for an attorney. Attorneys make up their own prices. Some are cheaper than others.

          One thing I would warn against: Do not hire a person or company that is not an attorney, not licensed to practice law, to help you with this problem. There are a lot of those “traffic ticket” service companies out there that are really just unlicensed hacks copying other attorney’s hard work and pretending like they can help. Beware of traffic ticket service scams.

          And dont hire an unlicensed dentist in Tiajuana to do your dental implants. And dont eat yellow snow.

  13. Linda Eaton says:

    Our son, who is a full-time college student in Seattle and earns 100% of his income throughout the year in Washington, owns a motorcycle that is registered in Washington. Washington State does not require motorcyclists to carry liability insurance. Please see RCW 46.30.020(3)(b).

    While traveling to Oregon to visit us for a few days, he was cited for speeding in a work zone and driving uninsured. He explained to the officer that motorcycle insurance was not required in Washington, but the officer stated she did not believe him. I completely understand giving him a speeding ticket but the uninsured citation is disconcerting. He has no plans to move to Oregon and was just passing through.

    Oregon clearly posts signs as you enter the state that motorcyclists must wear helmets and drivers must buckle up. Is there any way to get the insurance citation dismissed?

    • Linda,

      You did not tell use where he got the citation.

      But I will assume it was in Oregon.

      The fact that insurance is not required in OR is not a defense to a citation in OR. Not knowing the law is not a defense. It does not matter where he lives or works.

      But is there a way to get it dismissed? Probably. I’d say (not advice for anyone there b/c I am not licensed there) I’d say show up in person for court, try to talk the judge into dismissing it.

      It may not be worth the effort if it is a long trip.

      Anyway to get it dismissed without going to court? Maybe. Hire an attorney to go to court for him.

      It may not be worth the money.

      But he has to take care of it, because if he does not, they will probably suspend his driving privilege in OR, which may follow to WA and cause a suspension of his WA drivers license. Watch out for that danger.

      Hum. I opine that he is guilty.

  14. Taylor says:

    Hi, I was pulled over yesterday because one of my headlights went out on my way home. I was written up for not having a headlight, not having up to date registration, and not having up to date insurance with me. The headlight and registration are marked as correctable, but the insurance is not. I have them up to date, but having paid them before I left for school (which is 6 hours away) I haven’t had my parents mail them to me yet. What should I do? And do you think a judge will waive the violations and just have me pay $5-$20 processing fees?

    • Taylor,

      The point of my article is to tell people that you are guilty (in CA) of a violation of vehicle code 16028 if you do not have proof of insurance with you when the officer wants to see it.

      But if you have valid insurance on that date, you may be able to go to court in person and talk the judge (in person) into granting you some relief in the interests of justice.

      Side tip: Dont blame this on your parents or a head light. If you did not have proof of insurance with you when you were driving it is your own fault.

  15. Adam says:

    I need some advice. I was pulled over in a national park (lake powell) but only charged with no proof of insurance in the vehicle (cfr.2(b) ars28-4135 B. ). It is marked CFR and State code. We don’t know if that means it is a federal ticket or Arizona state ticket. We had current insurance but the card wasn’t in the car. We live 5 hours away, do you have any suggestion on how to get the fine(965.00) reduced or dismissed without going back to Lake Powell. Any advice would be appreciated!

  16. Jessica says:

    What if the officer never asked for my insurance at the time that I was pulled over? I was actually pulling into the parking lot of my job when I was pulled over. I was waiting for the officer to finish writing up the ticket when he asked me for my insurance. I was not near my car and before I even opened my mouth, he just wrote me up for not having any. The law does state that the officer has to request for my insurance, so if they did not request for my insurance prior to writing the ticket, is there any way that I could fight the ticket?

    • Jessica,

      I dont understand, because your comment states: “I was waiting for the officer to finish writing up the ticket when he asked me for my insurance.”

      Hello! Earth to Jessica . .. . Houston . . . we have a problem. . .. . Jessica’s marbles are a little loose this am.

      He did ask you! You told me he asked you! Hello! anyone home?

      Did you show him proof of insurance when he asked you? That is the question. Yes or No. No=guilty. Yes=innocent & demand a trial.

      Or is it that you meant to write sometime totally different and what I am reading is really just a Freudian slip from your bluetooth keyboard?

  17. shawn says:

    I got pulled over today for driving a truck that I recently bought but had to cancel the plates and registration on due to extensive and expensive repairs that I had to make to the truck I had to change the engine. I was test driving the vehicle when being pulled over. My intention is to put the truck on the road tomorrow however I was sited for no insurance and no registration. And attaching plates. I had my old plates on that I was going to transfer but it did not work out that way. I do have another vehicle on the road that I drive every day and I explained to the officer my situation and that I wasn’t going to drive the truck again until I got plates however he gave me the ticket. Drove me home and allowed the truck to be towed to my house. I am from massachusetts. And I in a really bad situation here?

    • Shawn,

      Looks like UR guilty. I would call this a BOAT problem.

      What is a “BOAT” problem?

      “Bust Out Another Thousand”

  18. Erika says:


    First off, I truly appreciate your site and all the helpful information you have provided for us; thank you.

    I just received a ticket for “no proof of insurance” Vehicle Code section 16028. The officer checked the “No” box under “Correctable.” Quite honestly he was giving me a really hard time. The thing is I HAVE insurance and I HAD it with me but couldn’t find the paper proof in my car, but it was in my car indeed. Can this be dismissed inspite of him checking off the no correctable box?

    The same officer also cited me a ticket for driving the wrong way in an alley that was by the beach. But I honestly didn’t notice any signs whatsoever. He was giving me a really hard time.

    • Erica,

      Sounds like you were guilty of driving the wrong way on that one.

      The insurance question is a super common one. I dont mind answering again though, because I finally (after 10 years) figured out how to add ads to these comments. 0.03$ here and there might add up one day.

      There is a big difference between a “correctable” violation and one that is “dismissed”. Any violation can be dismissed prior to entry of a plea or guilty verdict. There are many reasons a violation may be “dismissed”. Not enough evidence to proceed, Lack of actual notice of case, in the interests of justice, etc.

      A correctable violation is a charge that by statute (law) is one that can be fixed by the defendant. If the statute does not say correctable, its not correctable, even though it seems like you can fix it.

      But with that violation, in general, you are guilty if you do not have the proof to show the officer. You have to show the officer your proof of insurance, if you cannot – you are guilty. Generally.

      California Vehicle Code section 16028 states:

      16028. (a) Upon the demand of a peace officer pursuant to subdivision (b) or upon the demand of a peace officer or traffic collision investigator pursuant to subdivision (c), every person who drives a motor vehicle upon a highway shall provide evidence of financial responsibility for the vehicle that is in effect at the time the demand is made.

      It’s not a violation for not having insurance. It is a violation for not showing the officer proof at the right time.

      The reason for the law is to ensure that all drivers can immediately provide proof of insurance to another driver(s) and investigators if there is a collision. Immediately. Not 3 days later. Immediately after the collision – so that injured “dude” can show the Attorney your insurance info at the hospital. !!!++!! I just made that part up.

      So maybe no “correctable” violation for you. But you do have a good argument to ask the court for a dismissal – in the interests of justice (penal code 1385) based upon your showing of proof of insurance on that date in court in person. In most courts I would suspect that you would get some relief.

      My own personal experience has shown that some courts will actually treat that violation as correctable – and try to charge you a $25 dismissal fee that applies to correctable violations by code – even though by code the VC16028 is not correctable. How? Je ne sais pas.

      If you wanted to make a written motion to dismiss by mail and try to get the case dismissed before your court date listed on the citation – you could try my form for a Motion to Dismiss. May or may not work. If it would save you a trip to barstow – or that godaweful place in Kern County where I almost died of heatstroke in the court parking lot???????>>….TAFT!!! Watch out for that place.

  19. matthew says:

    Hello, I received a ticket today for both speeding and having no proof of insurance. Right after receiving the citation i went online and got my car insured, therefor i now have proof of insurance as of the same date as receiving the citation.

    My question is, can i use the fact that my proof of insurance shows effective coverage as of the same date as the violation?

    what do you recommend i do?

    • DortLaw says:


      Well, generally, the violation is committed by failing to have the proof with you. It is not a violation for not having insurance (in CA). Rather, it is a violation for not having proof with you while driving.

      So you are guilty, even if you had insurance the day before.

      But the proof of insurance may help you. Take it with you, ask for dismissal.

      Dont try to convince the judge you bought insurance that day before the citation and just left the brand new proof of insurance at home. It wont work, you’ll get hammered for being caught in a lie. In court.

  20. Mariah says:

    I was pulled over and had no proof of insurance but had insurance on the car. I’m still waiting for my insurance card to come in the mail. My court date is next week and I still haven’t received my insurance card, what will happen if I don’t show proof of insurance when I go to court?

    • DortLaw says:


      This is a good question. Finally.

      Just go to court on time, and ask for more time. The court will almost certainly give you a 30 day continuance.

      But why cant you get your proof of insurance by email? From the web? By fax? On your cell phone? People dont really wait for insurance cards anymore.

      Hey, the 80s called. They want their VCR back.

      Browse Our Attorney Drafted CA Self Help Forms

      Free Attorney Case Review

  21. Todd says:

    Rare indeed my friend!
    Thanks for the advice…
    My Chico State educated mind knew the military base issue was huge (especially after 9/11).
    With my kids in the car I was far more “kinder” than usual once pen was to paper…my biggest issue was that this officer, once I was ticketed, was actually going to let me on the base…to which I refused.

    I may have to pay my fine and fight my battle in the letters to the editor!

    Thanks again

  22. Todd says:

    I received a no proof of insurance attempting to take my son to a baseball practice at Camp Parks (a military base in Dublin, CA).
    Camp Parks has a field and they allow teams to practice there.
    You must show ID at the gate and state your purpose.
    Upon entering the gate, I gave my ID…ID is valid.
    The officer at the gate then asked for Proof of Insurance and registration.
    I had the registration, but could only find three old insurance cards.
    The vehicle was my company car.
    I had an insurance card for a different vehicle in my wallet…same insurance, etc.
    I have been to this facility several times without ever being asked about POI.

    I could not believe he wrote me up for no POI…he then was going to let me on the base “this time”‘ but I refused.

    I have to see the US Magistrate this week…suggestions?

    I do have insurance…
    The citation was written on a Sunday, I went and obtained a POI on the following Monday from my insurance company.

    Not sure about the need to show POI…this was a military base so I am sure the rules may be different. But can the officer ask for POI…I am looking for an out as I am sure this is going to be an expensive fine.

    • Todd,

      Well, you have a super rare Federal Court Traffic Citation. Wow.

      All I can say is show up on time with proof of insurance and ask for dismissal.

      If you are trying to enter a military base, of course they can demand prof that you are in full compliance with the law prior to allowing you in. At least I think they can.

      You do not have a right to enter a military base. It’s a permission only type thing. No right to be there at all. They can strip search you if they want to at the entrance to a military base.

      Oh! This makes me remember the days of trying to get through the West Gate of Mather SAC base in the 80s! I had the magic card, but every time I went through I thought for sure I was going to get shot. And then there was the time I got caught with someone else’s military ID card at the Mexican Border in the 80s! I was so stupid. That drill sgt. asked me if I was active military- and I said “no.” Then handed him a military ID belonging to my drinking age friend. That sucked. Still hurts in my neck. No, actually, that never happened. False memory.

      To be honest, I do not know the law on bases well enough to say they cannot ask you for insurance. But I would not spend any time trying to fight it. Just show up, show proof, ask for dismissal, pay a fine if you have to, avoid getting shot. That is my best free, unqualified advice.

  23. Eric says:

    My case is similar to Vin’s with a few major differences. When I was pulled over, the car in which I was driving had just been purchased 29 days prior. I did not have proof of insurance on hand so I am guilty in that regard.

    Now, I have been sent a courtesy notice, and the due date is November 11th whereas the date on the ticket is October 28th. I plan to resolve the issue well before both dates. But I have discovered that resolving the issue is going rather costly; for I have recently discovered that I may not have had coverage those 29 days.

    You see, my father purchased the car for me, and as we live in California he had to furnish his car insurance before he could even purchase the vehicle. Having some foreknowledge about insurance companies I knew that this meant the car would automatically be covered by my father’s insurance company for 30 days. What I did not know is that even though the insurance company considered the vehicle insured the state of California did not. At least, that’s what the insurance representative said. Was he right?

    I am tying to get them to send me some paperwork saying the car was temporarily insured so I can pay the $25 dollar fine but it looks like that’s not going to happen. Luckily, I had to the good sense to purchase my own auto insurance 2 days after I received the citation. But with that being said, I don’t really want to pay the $880 dollar fine and after reading the page above I realize I may not have to.

    However, as this will be my first time appearing in court I want to make sure I get everything right. Firstly, my courtesy notice states that it is $880 to “appear” in court. Does this include the arraignment? Or is the arraignment free? And once at the arraignment do I say the whole “I have proof of valid insurance that I got after the citation and I would like to ask the court to accept it and give me the minimum fine in accordance with CA Vehicle Code section 16029(e)(1)” thing before or after the guilty plea. And lastly, is it necessary to recite the vehicle code for the judge. I don’t want to sound like an idiot. Nor do I want to annoy the judge. And should I get the minimum fine is it possible to arrange some sort of payment plan?

    • Eric, you got it.

      They cannot charge you to arraign you. You are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.

      The money listed on the courtesy notice (I know those are horribly written and confusing, but the courts dont care) is the amount of the “bail”. You can post bail and set a trial date by mail if you want. Or you can post bail, plead guilty by mail and forfeit the bail as the penalty. But to do that right, you need to send the court written notice that you wish to plead guilty and forfeit bail.

      If you go to court in person and plead not guilty at the arraignment, you can get a trial date by law without posting bail.

      At the arraignment, you can ask for what you want. Remember, the violation is for not having proof of insurance with you when the cop asked for it – not a violation for not having in insurance. So you basically have to talk the judge into giving you relief. And, stating the code section, you are telling the judge (who may have no idea at all what the law says because they are a part time divorce attorney working for free) that they have the power to give you that reduced fine.

      THat reminds me, I should tell people how to structure an argument –

      1. Establish Facts;
      2. Present the question that needs to be resolved;
      3. tell the judge what power they have;
      4. tell the judge what you want;
      5. ask the judge to give you what you want because: 1) the facts; and 2) the court’s powers; applied to the question and the interests of justice = [insert statement of the a ruling in your favor you want the judge to repeat].

      Look at that. Legal math.

  24. Briana says:

    What happens if you receive a ticket for no proof on insurance but you DO have proof just now “on” you. Then you miss your court date. I received a ridiculous fine, can i still get the fine reduced or taken off even if i miss the court date?

    • Briana, this would be a good question, except for the answer is sitting in the article you commented on. But I will answer it anyway for free. I dont really need need to make any real money today. The less I earn, the less I have to pay in taxes and this is OK with me.

      If you did not have proof of insurance when the officer asked for it, (assuming CA), you are guilty.

      If you did not appear in court on the date and time listed on the bottom of your citation next to your signature, then you are guilty of a failure to appear misdemeanor (vehicle Code 40508).

      Your drivers license is probably suspended due to the is problem (Assuming CA – Veh Code 40509.5).

      If you can get into court in person, (or hire an attorney to do it for you), you may be able to talk the judge into accepting your proof of insurance late, and dismissing or reducing that part of the case.

      But as for the Failure to Appear – you are guilty. You may want to hire an attorney to help you try to get out of that one fast, without interfering with your daily life. You may also get lucky if you show up in court in person yourself and have the judge give you a break for your efforts.

      Every county traffic court in CA deals with the cases differently, and rarely do their procedures make sense. Since I do not know what county this is, I cannot give you more detail.

  25. Vin says:

    I was riding a friend’s motorcycle and got pulled over for expired tags. I was cited for expired registration and not having insurance (California Vehicle Code section 4000A1 and Veh Code 16028A). I bought the bike off my friend and the registration was renewed and the title was transferred under my name. I will be charged $25 for the registration violation, which I am not worried about.
    On the other hand, I have since purchased insurance under my name (after getting the ticket), but will still need to pay a reduced bail of $480 (original more than $1000) if I show them that I now have insurance. I am wondering if there is any way to reduce this amount. Also, my friend had insurance under his name, which I showed to the police officer, but he said it had to be under my name. Let me know if you have any advice or if you need me to provide any more information. Thanks.

    • Vin, unless you had proof of current liability insurance covering you at the time you were stopped, you are guilty.

      • Vin says:

        So, my friend’s insurance does not cover me at all even if I am just borrowing his vehicle? Also, is there any way the reduced bail of $480 can be further reduced? Thanks.

        • Vin, that is actually a good question. Sometimes an auto liability policy (the expensive ones) will cover all licensed drivers driving the named insured’s vehicle with permission.

          It’s called “all permissive drivers coverage”. But not all policies have it, because people dont like to pay for it. You have to read the “Declarations Page” of your fiend’s insurance policy to see if there is that type of coverage.

          However, it is secondary coverage – not primary coverage. If you did not have your own insurance naming you as the covered driver, and you happened to get into an accident, you can expect problems. You can expect your friend’s insurance company to deny coverage and force you to fight about it in court.

          And coverage under an “All permissive drivers” policy will not protect you from a citation for not having PROOF OF INSURANCE COVERAGE WITH YOU WHEN THE COP ASKED FOR IT!

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