Failure to Maintain Financial Responsibility
Pursuant to §601.051 of the Texas Transportation Code, no person may operate a motor vehicle in this state unless financial responsibility is established for that vehicle. §601.051 also lists the various methods of establishing financial responsibility, however, proof of liability insurance is the most common.
A citation for failure to present proof of insurance or maintain financial responsibility (FMFR) can have serious consequences. A second or subsequent conviction for FMFR will result in the suspension of your driver's license. Furthermore, failure to have liability insurance makes you personally responsible for any and all costs associated with an accident for which you are shown to be at fault. Therefore, it is important to maintain insurance on your vehicle at all times.
Getting The Citation Dismissed
If you were issued a citation for no insurance or failure to present proof of financial responsibility and you had valid insurance at the time of the citation, you must present proof of the insurance coverage to the court within the 15 days appearance in order to have the citation dismissed by the Judge. Any other dismissal required an appearance in court. The following items must be provided so that the Court can verify your coverage:
- Date the policy became effective and expiration date
- Make, model and year of each covered vehicle
- Name and address of each person on that policy
- Name, address and telephone number of the insurance company
- Policy limits or a statement from the insurance company that complies with the minimum amounts of liability insurance required for that particular vehicle
- Policy number
If the proof presented to the Court does not contain all six requirements, your proof will not be accepted without judicial approval. The best document is the declaration page of your auto insurance policy. If that is not available, then an insurance card will be accepted if it includes the above six items. A letter from your insurance carrier with all of the above information will also be accepted if the declaration page or card is unavailable.
Operating Another Person's Car
Citations received while operating another person's car will require you to show proof that the other person permitted you to drive that vehicle, and that you are not an excluded driver under that insurance policy. A letter signed and dated by the registered owner stating you had his or her permission to drive the car is sufficient.
Be advised that few, if any, insurance companies will assume liability if an unlicensed driver is operating the vehicle. Therefore, unlicensed drivers are almost always excluded from an insurance policy.
Failure to Verify Valid Coverage
Once the Court receives proof of liability insurance, the Clerk will verify coverage with the insurance company. If the insurance on the vehicle and the driver is valid, no additional appearance or fees will be required. If you did not have valid insurance at the time of the citation, you will be responsible for paying the fines and costs assessed for that violation.
However, you may still request deferred disposition/probation to avoid a conviction on your driving record to ensure affordable insurance in the future. A defendant will not be eligible for deferred disposition/probation unless he or she has acquired valid liability insurance.