A rumor going around in 2010 stated that the law in the state of Illinois had changed and that the penalty for driving without insurance had increased from a misdemeanor to a felony. While driving without proof of insurance is against the law in most states, it is not a felony offense in any state as of September of 2010.
Insurance regulations are determined by each state. In some cases, you may have to pay a fine and other states may increase the penalty to paying a fine and losing your driving privilege for a period of time, varying from only until proof is presented to 90 days suspension. Additionally, your vehicle registration and tags may be suspended as well. Fine amounts range from around $100 to as much as $1000 for the first offense. Each additional offense after the first will generally have a higher fine amount.
What should be noted is that the penalty goes up with each successive offense. If you are convicted of driving without insurance several times, you may become listed as a habitual offender. At that point, the habitual offender label is usually a felony under law, which means that it is possible for the offense to be a felony, but only as a result of a repeated display of contempt for the law. Habitual offenders must pay higher fines associated with the offense, and may sentenced to anywhere from 10 day to 5 years in jail.
Additionally, if you are involved in an accident involving serious injury or death and do not have insurance, you may be subject to felony charges that are related to your lack of insurance, but not specifically due to that charge. In this situation, you may be charged with felony reckless driving, vehicular homocide or some other offense, with the penalty escalated due to your failure to carry insurance but not because of that alone. In all cases, the most affordable solution is to keep your insurance coverage up to date, bypassing inflated fine and penalties altogether.