New Alabama Law: Electronic Proof of Registration and Insurance
Effective August 1, 2017, drivers of motor vehicles in Alabama will be allowed to show their proof of registration and insurance to law enforcement officers on their cell phones during a traffic stop. Almost every other state already has a similar statute in place.
Alabama has had a law in existence for many years requiring every operator of a motor vehicle carry evidence of liability insurance and vehicle registration within the vehicle. The purpose of the new law is two-fold: 1) to enhance safety for law enforcement officers; and 2) to provide convenience to the drivers of vehicles. A driver reaching for a phone is not quite as alarming as someone digging around in a console or glove compartment trying to locate the registration and insurance documents. Phones are usually on the seat or cup holder and not as likely to be in the driver’s pocket. The ability of a driver to show officers an electronic version of the required documents will alleviate concerns the officers may have that a driver is trying to locate a weapon.
Drivers who do not have an electronic version of their insurance and registration will still be allowed to provide proof of the existence of these requirements by presenting the paper documents to officers.
Failure or refusal of a driver to provide evidence of insurance and registration is a traffic violation in Alabama. However, failure to obtain liability insurance is a Class C misdemeanor. A driver’s vehicle may be towed and impounded at the discretion of law enforcement officers if the operator fails to provide evidence of insurance and registration. If a vehicle is towed and impounded, officers may perform an inventory search of the vehicle, subjecting the operator to criminal charges if any unlawful substances or weapons are found.
If you or a friend or family member have been issued a traffic citation, or charged with a misdemeanor or a more serious felony, the criminal defense attorneys at Revill Law Firm can help you. We have years of experience representing drivers who have been ticketed and/or charged with more serious traffic-related crimes. We will advocate for the best resolution of your case and work hard to get your charges dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense.