61-6-302. Proof of compliance. (1) The registration receipt required by 61-3-322 must contain a statement that unless the vehicle is eligible for an exemption under 61-6-303, it is unlawful to operate the vehicle without a valid motor vehicle liability insurance policy, a certificate of self-insurance, or a posted indemnity bond, as required by 61-6-301.
(2) (a) Each owner or operator of a motor vehicle shall carry in the motor vehicle as proof of compliance with 61-6-301 either:
(i) an insurance card approved by the department but issued by the insurance carrier to the motor vehicle owner; or
(ii) an electronic device on which an electronic document issued by the insurance carrier showing proof of compliance with 61-6-301 may be displayed.
(b) If the insurance card or electronic document is issued under a commercial automobile insurance policy or a self-insured fleet, the insurance card or electronic document must indicate the status as "commercially insured" or "fleet".
(c) A motor vehicle owner or operator shall exhibit the insurance card or display the electronic document on demand of a justice of the peace, a city or municipal judge, a peace officer, a highway patrol officer, or a field deputy or inspector of the department.
(d) A person commits an offense under this subsection if the person fails to carry in the motor vehicle the insurance card or an electronic device on which the electronic document may be displayed or fails to exhibit the insurance card or display the electronic document on demand of a person specified in subsection (2)(c).
(e) For the purposes of this subsection (2), "insurance card" includes an electronic representation or equivalent of a documentary insurance card that the insurer delivers by electronic means, as defined in 33-15-601, to satisfy the requirements of this subsection (2).
(3) In lieu of charging an operator who is not the owner of a vehicle with violating subsection (2), the officer may issue a complaint and notice to appear charging the owner with a violation of 61-6-301 and serve the complaint and notice to appear on the owner of the vehicle:
(a) personally; or
(b) by certified mail, return receipt requested, at the address for the owner listed on the registration receipt for the vehicle or, following query through available law enforcement systems, at the address maintained for the vehicle's owner by the jurisdiction in which the vehicle is titled and registered, or both.
(4) An owner or operator charged with violating subsection (2) may not be convicted if:
(a) the arresting officer or another person authorized to access information from the online motor vehicle liability insurance verification system under 61-6-309 submits to the system, when implemented, a request that provides proof of insurance valid at the time of arrest; or
(b) when the system under 61-6-157 is not available, the person produces in court or the office of the arresting officer proof of insurance valid at the time of arrest.
History: En. Sec. 2, Ch. 592, L. 1979; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 409, L. 1981; amd. Sec. 36, Ch. 614, L. 1981; amd. Sec. 5, Ch. 348, L. 1985; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 503, L. 1985; amd. Sec. 35, Ch. 611, L. 1987; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 217, L. 1989; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 278, L. 1993; amd. Sec. 4, Ch. 365, L. 1993; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 393, L. 1995; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 203, L. 2009; amd. Sec. 24, Ch. 413, L. 2009; amd. Sec. 5, Ch. 73, L. 2011; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 146, L. 2015; amd. Sec. 9, Ch. 369, L. 2015.