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What To Do When You've Been Pulled Over With Expired Registration

Friday, July 03, 2020

Keeping your vehicle registration up to date must be done every year, but for obvious reasons, cannot be fully automated. This means that car owners are responsible for getting their vehicles inspected and re-registered every year, and attaching the tags when they come in the mail. But if you forgot this year or something happened to your vehicle tags, you could find yourself getting pulled over for expired registration.

The usual result is a warning, a fine, and the possibility that your car may be towed or impounded. The penalties you face will depend on how out-of-date your registration is or how unsafe your vehicle appears to be. The good news is that there are several things you can do to avoid the penalties of an expired registration ticket or reduce them.  

Expired Registration Penalties

If an officer pulls you over for expired registration tags, the most likely results are a simple warning and a ticket.  

Warnings and Tickets

Police officers see slightly out-of-date tags all the time. If the violation is very minor and your tags are only recently expired, you may get away just with a verbal warning. However, the police officer is within their right to write you a ticket for the expired tags as well. The severity of this ticket will usually depend on how long out of date your tags really are.

Fines for Expired Tags

The fines for driving a vehicle with expired registration range between $100 and $200 including surcharges. The longer your vehicle has been unregistered, the larger your fine is likely to be. 

 

Impound or Tow

If your vehicle appears to be incapable of passing inspection, or if you do not correct your registration quickly, your vehicle may be impounded or towed rather than allowing you to keep driving it. 

Court Hearing

You may be required to show up for a day in court, even if you take care of the registration. This is not optional and you will need to attend. Your day in court can be an opportunity to turn the ticket around.

Jail Time

It is possible for drivers with expired registrations to spend up to 15 days in jail.

 

What to Do if You're Pulled Over with Expired Registration Tags

If you are pulled over with expired registration tags, don't panic. You may be able to skate clean from the situation and, if not, you can almost definitely mitigate the costs by acting responsibly. Use the following techniques to reduce the penalties a vehicle registration ticket.

Prove Your Registration is Current

If your registration really is current, but you don't have the tags on our car, you can prove it! The ticket won't stick if your car really is registered. Even if you were driving with expired tags, the law is specifically about unregistered vehicles. As long as your vehicle is registered, you won't have to pay the ticket.

  • Show Online Registration During Police Stop

If you've got a phone and data signal, you can show a police officer your current registration through your online DOL account or an email receipt. The officer doesn't have to accept this as proof, but many are tech-savvy and know digital proof when they see it. This is a good way to avoid even having the ticket written in the first place.

  • Provide Proof of Correction Later

If you can't prove your current registration in the moment, you can submit a Proof of Correction form which will cause the courts to look up your current registration and dismiss the ticket. You may still have to appear in court if summoned.

 

Register Your Vehicle Immediately

Assuming your registration is genuinely expired, you'll need to remedy this immediately. Doing so shows the court that you are a responsible driver (and that your vehicle passes inspection) and your fine can be significantly reduced. There are two ways to get your vehicle registered depending on your circumstances, budget, and the car's condition.

  • Renew Registration

The most common option is to simply renew the vehicle's Minnesota registration. This may or may not involve an inspection. If you recently moved into the state, you have 30 days to get your vehicle inspected and registered.

  • Non-Operational Registration

If your vehicle will be parked for most of the year and/or is below inspection standards, you can get a non-operational registration instead. These are very common in large cities, as many people own vehicles but don't drive them while living in the city. It is also a very affordable option.

 

Get the Tags On Your Car

Being registered isn't enough to solve all your problems. You will also need to get new tags on your car or every third police officer will be stopping you about that registration.

  • Expedite Shipping

Whether you just renewed your registration or got one for the first time, expedite shipping if you need to drive. Alternately, keep your expired vehicle in the garage until the tags arrive via standard shipping.

  • Replace Lost or Stolen Tags

If you had current tags that have been lost or stolen, get them replaced immediately. There will be a small replacement fee that is ultimately worth not being hassled about your registration.

 

Appear in Court if Required

If you have been given a court date, you should make plans to appear. A set court date is mandatory and you can be charged with a misdemeanor for failing to appear. Even if you do everything else right.

Your court date is also a chance to dispute the ticket or prove that you have taken corrective steps to renew your registration. This can lead to a reduction in fines and other consequences if argued well.

  • Pay the Fine and Move On

If your court date is optional and money is no object, you can often choose to simply pay the fine just to leave the issue behind you. But be absolutely certain the court date is optional before taking this route. If you are required to show up in court, you might as well work to reduce your fine and other penalties.

  • Hire a Lawyer and Go to Court

Should you find yourself attending court, it's best to have a lawyer who knows how to handle the Minnesota traffic court. Hire a lawyer to make sure all your paperwork and proof is in order and to speak on your behalf for the best possible result.

 

Contact us for more legal advice!

Injured Rideshare Drivers: Who Is Responsible?

Monday, June 22, 2020

Injured Rideshare Drivers: Who Is Responsible?

Americans are increasingly relying on drivers for rideshare companies like Uber or Lyft to get them to their destination. While these drivers serve an important function, they also put themselves at high risk of injury. In 2018, there were over 3,000 fatalities due to motor vehicle crashes in California.

The results of a rideshare accident can be devastating to the driver. Injuries will mean lost wages, and damage to a vehicle could take away their only means of providing support for themselves or family. Rideshare drivers need to understand their rights for recovery if they are injured while driving for a company like Uber or Lyft.

Determining Fault

When there is a car accident, a party is considered at fault if they acted negligently in a way that caused injury to another person or property. Common actions that can lead to a finding of fault include any violation of a traffic ordinance, such as speeding or running a red light. If a driver received a traffic citation from the police, this is compelling evidence that they acted negligently.

Insurance companies will also use fault as a basis for determining which driver's insurance should pay any claims. In order to limit coverage obligations, insurance companies are strongly incentivized to demonstrate that their insured was not at fault.

To make sure you can establish a strong case against the other party, be sure to secure a police report, document the scene of the accident, and secure contact information for any witnesses.

Seeking Recovery

Rideshare drivers face a complicated web or responsibility when determining how to recover for their injuries after an accident. While the driver might feel that they are employed by Uber or Lyft, they will considered an independent contractor.

Independent Contractors

Whether an individual is an employee or an independent contractor is a determination made by analyzing the relationship between the individual and the company for which they are providing services. The following factors indicate that an individual is an independent contractor rather than an employee:

  • They control the work that is performed and how it is done;
  • They manage the business components of their job;
  • They do not receive any employee benefits; and
  • There is no formal employee contract

The National Labor Relations Board has advised that rideshare drivers are independent contractors. This finding excludes Uber and Lyft drivers from pursuing a workers' compensation claim. This finding, however, could be up for debate in California where recent legislation looks to limit the use of independent contractors in the state's gig economy.

Because an independent contractor cannot recover under workers' compensation, they will need to depend on insurance providers to compensate them for their injuries.

Navigating Insurance Policies

There are several insurance policies that might come into play after a rideshare accident:

  • The driver's personal policy;
  • The rideshare company's insurance policy; and
  • The policy of the other driver

Your first step should be to review the rideshare company's protocol when an accident occurs. Both Uber and Lyft require drivers to submit a report to access the company's insurance policies. The Uber crash report is here, and the Lyft crash report is here. If it is unclear whether you were operating in the course of your duties at the time of the accident, this will serve to complicate recovery even further and may require you to involve your personal insurance company.

If you are a rideshare driver who has been involved in an accident, you may be overwhelmed with the stress of managing injuries while considering the financial impacts. Navigating the complexities of determining fault and contacting insurance companies is an unnecessary additional stress.  Contact our firm today to understand the strength of your case and your options for recovery.

Money Management Tips for Uber and Lyft Drivers

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Individuals who chose to embark on a rideshare driver journey are becoming an increasingly important part of the workforce. Society is relying more and more on rideshare programs for doing things like making appointments, getting home safely after a wild night out, and for navigating a strange town.

In 2015 it was estimated that 14.6 million Americans were self-employed and that number is constantly increasing. The mantle of self-employment covers business owners, ride-share drivers, farmers, freelance writers, Etsy shop owners, and more.

 Self-employment as a rideshare driver isn't for the faint of heart. While many enjoy the freedom of being their own boss, most who consider themselves self-employed also admit that they face many challenges. For most, the biggest challenge is figuring out how to manage their money. 

 Why Money Management is so Difficult When You're a Rideshare Driver

The biggest financial headache you'll face as a member of the self-employed workforce is not knowing how much money you can expect to make from one week to the next. It doesn't matter if you own a restaurant, are part of a rideshare program, work as a freelance consultant, or are an author, it's difficult to calculate how much money you'll generate each time you sit down and work. Not knowing how much money you can count on coming in from one day to the next makes putting a budget together difficult.

The second biggest financial challenge you'll likely face during your self-employment as a rideshare driver is taxes, or more specifically, not being properly prepared when the government demands their share of your income.

The good news is that there are some self-employment money management tips that will help you weather the financial storm and keep your head above water while you enjoy all the perks of being your own boss.

 Rideshare Driver Money Management Tip #1-Don't Leap Into Self-Employment Without Creating a Savings 

If you're contemplating becoming a driver for Uber or Lyft, you want to do everything in your power to build up a decent amount of savings first. Carefully track your personal expenses for a month and determine how much money you need to have so you can survive approximately six months without any viable income. 

The good news is that you don't necessarily have to put off your self-employment as a rideshare driver dreams while you save money. While you're building your savings, start putting your self-employment plans into action. This gives you a worry-free time period to build your brand, gauge what your expected income will be once you're self-employed full time, and an opportunity to add even more money to your savings account.

Once you are ready to leave your day job and chase your self-employment and rideshare driver dreams, don't tap into the money you've saved. It's for emergencies only.  

Ride-Share Driver Money Management Tip #2-Keep Setting Aside Money for the IRS  

Don't assume that just because you're self-employed as a ride-share driver that the IRS won't want their share of your income. They do and it's a big share. The self-employed money management rule of thumb is that you should set aside 35% of everything you make for taxes. That doesn't mean you'll have to pay all 35% to the IRS, it's likely that your accountant will find deductions that lower the amount, but if you set aside 35% you'll be covered. Make sure you put the money you're saving for taxes in a separate account so you don't accidentally spend it.

Another IRS issue to keep in mind when you're self-employed as a rideshare driver is that you'll likely be expected to pay your taxes quarterly instead of all at once.

Ride-Share Driver Money Management Tip #3-Create a Budget and Stick to it 

Sit down every six months or so and create a budget, both for yourself and your rideshare driver business. The budget needs to include any expected big one time expenses, your household expenses, and routine expenses such as watercraft insurance. Make sure you create enough room in the budget for emergency expenses. Stick to the budget no matter what. If, at the end of the period, you have additional money left over because you earned more, add it to your emergency or retirement fund.

Ride-Share Driver Money Management Tip #4-Keep Setting Aside Money for the IRS '

Keep a record of your expenses, particularly your rideshare driver business expenses. Not only does this record allow you to stick to the budget you've created for yourself and see how your business is doing, but it will also come in handy if you're ever audited. In addition to keeping a written record, you should also keep all of your receipts handy.

These four money management tips for rideshare drivers  are just the tip of the money management iceberg. Other self-employed money management practices you should embrace include:

  • Actively reducing your debt load
  • Maximizing tax-deductions
  • Keeping business and personal expenses separate
  • Investing in your retirement

Smart money management is just one of the things you need to think about before becoming a rideshare driver. You also need to know all of your legal rights, which is why it's important to contact us for information about your relationship with the company you're driving for, how to handle clients, and every other legal issue that crops up while you're earning a living as a rideshare driver. We're the legal team that knows everything there is to know about th legal rights of rideshare drivers.

Resources: 

https://www.fool.com/the-ascent/banks/articles/4-financial-challenges-being-self-employed-how-overcome-them/

https://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2015/04/17/5-ways-to-avoid-raiding-your-emergency-fund


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