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Haven’t Had Time To Renew Your Expired License Plate Sticker At The DMV? Here’s What You Need To Know.

Stephanie Cortes
Stephanie Cortes Graduate of California State Polytechnic University of Pomona
Stephanie studied Political Science and Management in Human Resources at Cal Poly Pomona and is currently pursuing a career in public service and law.
Haven't had time to renew your plate sticker
If you own a vehicle, you are required to pay registration fees. 

It is important to know when your state requires you to renew and pay it on time. For example, the California DMV requires drives to renew their car registration annually. 

If you are a vehicle owner in the U.S. concerned and have not been able to go to your state or county’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to renew your tag because of the Coronavirus, know that you are not alone. Here are some car-registration answers.

What can happen if I have expired tags?

Not paying your fees on time, may result in getting pulled over by law enforcement and receiving a ticket for driving with expired tags. However, your vehicle does not have to be moving or in usage to receive a ticket for expired tags. 

It is important to know that if you have renewed your license plate tag, it must be clearly and properly displayed to avoid a fine.

You may also be ticketed multiple times for not renewing your tags or not displaying them.  Additionally, if your registration is a couple of months late, law enforcement may impound your vehicle.

Are there grace periods?

DMV’s do not offer grace periods to pay your car registration after the due date. However, you can still pay with a late fee penalty.

If you get pulled over for expired tags, the exact consequences will depend. You may receive a warning from an officer or a grace period on your citation.

If you recently moved states, you generally have 30 days or less to register your vehicle and pay any associated fees.

It is important to pay your vehicle registration as soon as possible.

Can I fight a ticket?


If you receive a ticket you will be required to attend your court hearing or pay your fee.

At your hearing, you may present proof of your car registration renewal.  You can also argue that DMVs were closed during the Coronavirus, or that you couldn't get a vehicle emissions test during the pandemic, which delayed your ability to get new tags.

Court Buddy may help you find a traffic lawyer that will best represent your interest.

If you do not appear to your hearing you may be required to pay additional fees and receive a misdemeanor that will show up on a criminal background check.

If you decide to not fight the ticket, you may pay your fee at the traffic court window and avoid appearing in front of a judge.

How can I avoid getting a ticket for expired tags if I cannot go into the DMV? 

Drivers receive renewal notices in advance that notifies them of the car registration’s date of expirations. You may contact your local DMV for information on your renewal date if you have not received it. 

There are several ways you may renew your car registration on-time if you are unable to go to the DMV:
  • By mail. 
  • Over the phone. However, this option may only be available for individuals who have their current home address on their registration notice and do not have unpaid ticket fees.
  • Online. You will need to find your state or county’s website to pay in this way. There may be an extra fee associated with this form of payment however, it will save you time and avoid in-person payments.
Visit your state’s department of motor vehicle website for additional information on registration renewal services and requirements below:

Court Buddy is here to connect you with an experienced and trusted lawyer who can help you at an affordable rate. The company assists with the management of your case and lawyer relationship. Your lawyer will assess your legal issue in a timely and confidential manner, explain why you need or do not need a lawyer, and only charge you for the legal services performed and associated out of pocket fees. This article is intended to convey general information and does not constitute legal advice.

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