Some of us practically live in our cars. We personalize our cars with things we feel we can’t live without, like purses, umbrellas, and that well-loved pair of hiking boots in the trunk. Most of the items we keep in our cars are optional. However, automobile drivers should be aware of the following three things every driver must have in their car.
Every Driver Must Have a Driver’s License …
Washington law requires drivers to have a valid driver’s license and carry their driver’s license with them when they are behind the wheel. You may be charged with a nonmoving violation if the police stop you and they find you don’t have your license with you.
The penalties usually are greater if you’re not carrying your license because you don’t have a license. In Washington, driving without a valid driver’s license is a misdemeanor. You could face a fine up to $1,000 and spend up to 90 days in jail.
And Automobile Registration …
According to Washington law, all vehicles must be registered with the state and comply with regulations regarding license plates and decals. In fact:
“(2) It is unlawful for a person to operate any vehicle on a public highway of this state without having in full force and effect a current and proper vehicle registration and displaying license plates on the vehicle.” [RCW 46.16A.030]
Driving a car without proper registration can lead to fines. Make sure your car is properly registered, and you have all your paperwork, driver’s licenses, and decals in place.
And Proof of Automobile Insurance
Washington drivers are required to buy liability insurance or have other means of being financially responsible for car accidents. By law, drivers must also carry some form of proof of insurance in their car. In the past, proof of insurance usually was a card you received from your insurer. Now, drivers are permitted to show electronic proof of insurance. For example, you may show a police officer proof of insurance on your smartphone. By the way, if you choose to do this, remember that the law prohibits the police officer from viewing any other content on your electronic device.
Even though electronic copies of insurance are allowed, it is advised that a physical copy is kept in a Ziploc bag in your glove compartment. Why? Because fumbling around on your phone while an officer is staring down at you is stressful, and your anxiety may be misread as signs of impairment.
Another Thing Every Driver Must Have
If the police stop you for any reason, make sure you have contact information for a criminal defense attorney with you. That way you will be prepared if the officers decide to arrest you.
Call (425) 747-0582 for a free consultation with lawyer Sarah Cho. Her traffic citation, DUI, and criminal defense experience have helped many clients. From her office located in Bellevue, Washington, Ms. Cho represents clients throughout the Seattle area.
The sooner you call, the faster we can help!