Historically, license plates have been replaced every year, although the most common practice now is to issue new validation stickers/tags every year or two to indicate that the vehicle registration is still valid. The colors of plate stickers and windshield stickers are usually changed annually to support the enforcement of registration laws.
An expired validation ticket can attract the attention of law enforcement officers giving them probable cause to legally initiate a traffic stop. Usually, these tags expire on the driver’s date of birth, but the laws are different depending on the state and can expire on the date you registered the car.
In case you drive with expired tags and get caught, a law officer will issue you a citation. You should pay the fine as soon as possible because the longer you wait the higher it will be and there will even be a chance of impound.
How Much Does an Expired Tag Ticket Cost?
The cost of an expired tag ticket will be influenced by the individual scenario, the state, and the city where it is issued. However, you should expect to pay anywhere between $30 and $280. In the majority of states fines are anywhere between $110 and $210.
For example, California state applies a “penalty assessment”, which is a state tax/multiplier, that may be up to five times the base sum.
According to the Law Office of Scott Miller, the fine for an expired tag ticket in Georgia would be anywhere between $35 and $140, depending on the circumstances.
On the other hand, in the city of Walker, Michigan, you would have to pay around $110 for an expired tag ticket, without getting any point on your license.
A member of the Yelp forum asked if there is a grace period for expired tags in Washington state and another member responded that the fine would be around $40 if you were parked on a public street. Though, if you were pulled over, then the fine will increase to around $160.
Important things to consider
There are many possible punishments you may face in case you get caught with an expired tag. Depending on the situation, the officer may issue a citation, requiring you to renew within 30 days; offer a citation but not impound the car, even though it has been longer than six months; write a citation and impound the car in case the registration has been expired for longer than six months or simply let you off with just a warning.
If you have a registered tag for your vehicle, you will receive a renewal notice from the DMV around 45 days before the expiration of the car’s registration. You will be able to do this renewal at a local DMV office, online, or through the mail.
Even if you are not driving the car, you can still receive a ticket because this is considered a “non-moving” violation. However, in order to receive a citation, the vehicle must be parked on public property.
There are some states that have a grace period, so check your local laws. For example, in Texas, the grace period is five days, while in Iowa, Oklahoma, and Colorado the grace period is one month after the expiration date.
What are the extra costs?
Expect to pay more than $220 in case your vehicle has been impounded and you will have to recover it from a local impound yard.
When pulled over by an officer for an expired tag, other law violations may be discovered like driving with invalid insurance or an expired license. So, you will have to pay fines for these as well.
Even though it is rare and it isn’t worth it at all, in case you want to hire a lawyer to fight the ticket, you should plan on spending more than $210 per hour.
How can I save money?
In case you get a ticket for expired tags, make sure you schedule a court hearing to present and explain your situation. Even though in most cases you will still have to pay the fine and renew the tags, you may not get points on your license and this is a win.
There are states where the fines may be dropped significantly or the violation can be dismissed if you show proof that the problem has been solved. Get information from your local court about the possibility to waive this fee.
Set a reminder to renew your vehicle tags before expiration, so you will avoid the fines.