What You Need to Know About the Grace Period for Expired Tags – Keeping up with all the traffic laws can feel a bit daunting, especially if you are a new driver or just bought a new car. Though traffic laws may differ from state to state, it is illegal in all American states to drive with an expired car tag.
Having your vehicle information at your fingertips may not always be possible since there is a lot you need to remember.
Thankfully, most states offer the option of using an online service to confirm your vehicle registration details.
You also have the option to use an online reputable VIN decoder to get the information needed.
In this article, we have curated a guide on everything you need to know about vehicle tags, whether there is a grace period for expired tags, and how to ensure you register or renew your tag before it expires.
What is a car tag?
A car tag is a registration sticker you get every year when you renew your vehicle’s registration. Though usually confused for the license plate, a car tag has the state where you registered your vehicle and the period it is valid for.
You should always have your car tag, car insurance, and vehicle registration details with you at all times when using your vehicle. This applies even when your vehicle is being used by someone else.
The car tag is usually placed on the license plate or windshield. Simply put, it has to be visible to a policeman. It should not be hidden in your wallet or inside the car as this can also lead to a fine.
How do I know if my car tag is expired?
The most obvious way to know your tag is expired is to check it. As mentioned above, the tag contains the date through which it is valid.
The transportation or vehicle department in some states has an autorenewal registration service that alerts vehicle owners several weeks before the tag is due for registration.
Is there a grace period for expired car tags?
Some states like Texas give their residents some time to drive their vehicles as they wait to renew their tags. However, you are required to renew your car tag before its expiration date. Driving with an expired tag is a violation that can result in the following.
- Being pulled over and fined. The amount and nature of the fine you receive will be determined by your state laws. Some states require you to go to court for a fine with proof that you have already paid for the car tag.
- Jail time. If you receive a warning about your car tag and continue to use your vehicle anyway, the state may recommend jail time.
- The vehicle may be impounded. Your car may be impounded and towed if the tag has expired by more than six months. You will not be able to get back your car until the initial fine and impound fees are paid. However, this changes from state to state, and you should find out what applies to you.
Only new vehicles have an extended period (between 10 and 30 days depending on the state) to complete the vehicle’s registration process.
How can I renew my car tag?
You can renew your car tag through your State’s Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV). Each state may have a different process allowing you to renew in different ways.
- Online. States like Florida offer you the option to renew or replace motor vehicle tags online. It also gives you the option to do it using the mobile app.
- Through email. In some states, you can send the details and proof of payment to the transportation department through email.
- Through mail. Depending on your state, you can also mail your payment to the DMV. Some states accept cash, while others only accept checks.
- By visiting the DMV office. Visiting your DMV is usually the last option for many because there are usually long lines. However, some states have decentralized the DMV by creating DMV kiosks in different areas where you can pay and print your car tag.
- Automatic renewal. Some states have the option of an automatic renewal you can tie to your bank account, and you will only need to print the car tag.
- Through your insurance company. Several insurance companies provide vehicle registration and renewal services. This will probably come at an extra cost to your insurance. You could ask your insurer if it is a service they offer.
Most states offer more than one of the above options when renewing your tag. What is common among all the states is you will have to pay your renewal fee. This fee may differ from state to state.
You must always know when your car tag is expiring, and even add it to your calendar if you easily forget dates. If you have already renewed your tag and need to drive, consider express shipping. Furthermore, understanding the traffic laws in your state will help you avoid unnecessary traffic offenses.
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