Driving With Expired Registration in New York

Posted on 
March 18, 2013

Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 401 covers the law in New York with respect to driving with an expired registration.  What drivers need to understand first is that if your vehicle is on the road or even parked on the street, a police officer can run your license plate and see if your car is properly registered.

There is plenty of information that a police officer can get by just running your license plates and it’s important to always check the status of your cars registration and to make sure that your inspections are up to date. Police officers have access to pull any and all citations, criminal history and information on the owner of the vehicle, including their address.

Every car on the road is required to be registered, and New York requires registration renewal once every two years.   If your car does not pass the annual safety inspection you will not be allowed to renew your cars registration.

What if I Get Pulled Over For Not Renewing My Registration?

Section 401 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law of New York (VTL § 401) outlines the fines and penalties associated with not having renewing your vehicle registration. Failure to renew your registration is a non-moving violation, which means that there are no points to be applied to your NY license. Here are the fines one can expect for not having their car properly registered.

  • If your registration has been expired for less than 60 days the fine is a minimum of $40 and can go up to $300 and an automatic $93 surcharge.
  • If your registration has been expired for over 60 Days the fine is a minimum of $70 and can go up to $300 along with the $93 surcharge.

What Steps Do I Need To Take To Register My Vehicle?

If you are a resident of NY and your name is attached to a vehicle as the owner whether it’s a used or new car then you must register the car with the State of New York. People who move to New York and become new residents are allowed 30 days to have their car registered with the state.

If you are purchasing your vehicle from another owner, be sure to have the owner provide you proof that they have legal ownership of the vehicle and that they are transferring ownership to you. To see the necessary paperwork needed to register your vehicle check here.

How Do I Renew My NY Vehicle Registration?

Generally about 45-60 days before your registration is set to expire, New York’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will send you a renewal notice. It’s a good idea to check the status of your registration on your car and be aware of when your vehicle’s registration is set to expire. There are several options to renew your registration including by phone, online, by mail or in person at your local DMV.  Visit here for more information and begin renewing your vehicle registration.

Do I Need To Hire An Attorney To Fight My Charges?

Speaking with a traffic defense attorney can provide you invaluable information about your legal driving status.  Many times police officers issue multiple tickets along with failing to renew registration.

For a free consultation about the consequences or to have an attorney handle your Unregistered Vehicle ticket or any other traffic violation, call 1-888-883-5529, or send us an e-mail to tell us about your case.

Author Bio

Adam H. Rosenblum

Founding Attorney Of Rosenblum Law

Adam H. Rosenblum is an experienced and skilled traffic violations and criminal defense attorney. Mr. Rosenblum provides expert and aggressive representation to those facing points on their drivers’ licenses and the associated fines and surcharges.

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  1. I had my brother drive me
    To an appointment for a test to see if I had cancer or not I was unable to drive due to pain /lack of sleep , it completely slipped my mind but had intended to pay my registration , my registration was two days expired I'm a single mom with a clean driving record I was in the passenger seat two minutes away from the hospital I was going to an officer pulled us over , he spoke only to my brother and ignored me completely ... I'm told now my brother owes 200$ in two days .... he brought his ticket to a traffic court in Hauppauge ... the officer also wrote the wrong driving class on his tickets he also forgot his license and received a ticket for that and a different mailing address on his licence . I feel this is way to extreme . Please help

  2. My registration has been expired for over a year ive just had bad times and couldnt renew it now that i can is already to late but i wanna know what can i do to re register the car

  3. I was under the assumption a person had until the end of the month to renew registration similar to an inspection. I have done it at the end of the month all my life with no penalty. I was pulled over and given a ticket. I went out the same day and got my registration renewed and I have proof. Is it in the power of the judge to dismiss my ticket all together. Or does the law compel him to give me a fine. Should I ask for a dismisal.

  4. I got a expire registration ticket on December 10. I had order a new registration a month prior to but I forgot to put it on my windshield. I asked for a dismissal but the online judge said guilty. Should I appeal this ticket. As evidence I sent in a copy of the new registration and a copy of the envelope postmarked November 10 that the registration came in. I know if I am found guilty of the speak there might be extra charges on the ticket. What shall I do?

  5. In Feb 2015 I transferred plates from a 1997 BMW to a 2005 Hyndai. I also had a 2004 Saturn which I then drove, but I lept the BMW . In April I sold the Saturn, and transferred those plates to the BMW. I had forgot to put the NEW registration sticker on the BMW. Needless to say there was confusion when I was pulled over and the plates did not match the registration. Bottom line is the registration that was SUPPOSED to be on the windshield had expired 2 weeks earlier. I plead guilty and just received a bill for $243 ($100 fine + $55 admin fee + $88 surcharge). That seems a bit excessive. Can I fight this?

  6. I didn't receive a renewal notice from the DMV..my registration has been expired for 1 day..will there be a fine when I go to renew on Monday? It's Fri.

  7. Hi there. I am an international student here so I am not completely aware of all the procedures regarding registration and that it has to be renewed so often. Also I was expecting a sort of notification by e-mail or regular mail, and as I saw I am supposed to receive a renewal notice but I did not. I'm assuming it was lost somewhere on campus mail and was not delivered to me.
    Today I was stopped and I received two tickets for expired registration and inspection but I really was not aware of anything, the officer showed me on the windshield sticker where the date is. It was 4 months ago for the registration and two for the inspection.
    With all that, can I mail not guilty and go to court and speak with the judge? Might that be helpful? Or do I just plead guilty?

  8. hello this morning I was pulled over for rolling stop at a stop sign , the officer informed me that my step father vehicle (which I was driving ) had an expired registration. he then told me I had to go online and renew his registration right that minute or he would tow the vehicle. I did as he requested and he then went to his car and wrote me a ticket for no stop on red and driving unregistered vehicle. I don't know much about the law but it seems shady that he would "make" me register someone else's car and then continue to ticket me for said offense. I understand the stop sign aspect of it. any help would be greatly appreciated !

    1. Hello Elliot, I am not quite sure why he made you register right then. He may have tried preventing you from your car being towed and going to jail right then. Running the stop sign is a 3 point ticket with a maximum fine of $243. You could also face 15 days in jail. The unregistered vehicle ticket is a maximum fine of $393 and another 15 days in jail possibly. We suggest pleading not guilty to this tickets and obtaining counsel. If you would like more information about how we could have your tickets reduced to the minimum amount of penalties, please contact our office. We could be reached for a free consultation at 888-883-5529.

  9. Hi. My registration was two weeks expired. I got pulled over. The officer had my car towed and impounded. I told him I could get it registered right away. He still had it towed. Is that the procedure in the state of NY?

  10. I am moving out of state 2 days after my registration expires. Do I need to renew it for those 2 days? My lease begins 2 days after expiration,so I don't think I can register in the new state before expiration. What are my options?

  11. Hello, I leased a car from a dealer and turned my old car into them. They have not been able to register my new vehicle using my old plates due to an old lapse in insurance. The DMV ( I'm in New York) says the dealer must fix this and I cant. My insurance company has me insured and says there is nothing I need to fix with them. The dealership tells me to fix the issue with my insurance company. Registration has been expired for months. What can i do ?

  12. I received a ticket today however I renewed my registration immediately after the ticket was given, can I show them proof and get the case dismissed? Note: ticket was given at 2, I purchased the registration at 5 and didn't get to my car till 530, please advise thanks

  13. Leasing a vehicle from NY but registering it back home in IN. The temp plate is now expired and the dealership was doing all of the DMV paper work. They told me they can't give me a new temp plate and that they sent out the paper work. It's been 6 weeks since I got the vehicle, 2 of which my temp plate/reg is expired...what do I do?

  14. I recently moved and did not get registration renewal notice in mail. My registration lapsed for 3 months.
    I did not realize it until I got 3 consecutive tickets for expired registration while parking in street. When I saw the 3 tickets and realized the situation, I immediately went to the DMV and got new sticker.
    Can I get tickets dismissed or was the lapse too long. Will DMV be sending me a fine? (Also, The ticket from the second day has the wrong registration # on it, but considering the circumstances, I don't know if I can contest that particular ticket.)

  15. Hello. I received a ticket in NY City on September 14, 2016 for an expired NYS inspection sticker which expired on August 31, 2016. The fine amount on the ticket is $65. From everything I've read, if the inspection has been expired less than 60 days, the fine in NYS is between $25 - $50 plus a mandatory $88 NYS surcharge. Any idea where this $65 amount would come from? If I pay the $65 am I still going to get a separate fine in the mail from NYS for $88??

    1. Rory - I suggest you contact the court to discuss the fine amount. Generally speaking, however, the surcharges are included in the final fine notice they send.

  16. Hi, I live in NY but recently purchased a used car from a NJ dealer. The dealer issued me a NJ temp. license plate and is supposed to get my NY license plates for me. However, we still haven't received the license plates now almost 20 days after the temp. plate expired. We couldn't even get on hold of the dealer after repeat phone calls. We checked with both NJ and NY DMV, both of them haven't received any application for the license plates and title. Also, the dealer seemed to be out of business. We are stuck now with a car that cannot drive and don't know for how long we cannot drive. What should I do?

    1. Jason - I suggest you contact us for guidance on this issue, as it is rather a complex matter you are faced with.

  17. HI my aunt just moved out of state from NY. The vehicle she is driving is under my mom name, but my mom does not drive. The vehicle has NYC plates and my aunt just recently put on North Carolina insurance. Therefore NYS DMV wrote my mom stating that the car insurance i's lapse and they will be charging her. What should my mom do, she doesnt drive and don't have possession of the car.

  18. I renewed my registration last night however I was unable to get the temporary registration paper printed out until this morning. I had to print it out at my school so by the time I was able to get it printed and out to my car I had recived a ticket. Is there any way I can show the date of registration and have the ticket removed?

  19. While driving in NJ I was issued a ticket for driving with a suspended registration. My car is registered in NY, where I live. I recently moved to a different location, within the state, and never received a letter stating that my registration was suspended (the reason might be that my insurance lapsed for 30 days a few months back). Should I just contact the NJ court and give them my current registration reinstated? Will they disregard the ticket? Does NJ have any jurisdiction over a registration of a NY car?

    1. Since states share information, the first step you should take is to clear up any outstanding issues in NY. After your license is clear, you can then resolve your NJ ticket.

  20. My registration was expired a month ago but I didn't realize it until I got pulled over this Wednesday. I have a clean driving history from driving 10 years now. I am completely a fish out of water about having to going to court over a simple honest mistake that I only made once in my lifetime . I normally get a notification about it but for some reason this year I didn't get anything so I didn't think about it until it's too late of course
    I have to mail the ticket soon as possible but I'm not sure if I should plead guilty or not guilty. Very upset I'm only human.

    1. What is the violation code you are charged with? Most 'expired registration' violations are 0 points. As such - I suggest you submit proof of registration and/or plead guilty to the offense.

  21. Hi, I live in New York and selling my car to a relative who lives in Maryland. My car is already in Maryland and my registration expires in 2 weeks. I have my title and a bill of sale drawn up. How do I transfer ownership before my registration expires? If Ownership is not transferred before my registration expires, what are the consequences?

  22. My registrations sticker said 12/16 which I assumed meant December 2016 - and thought I had until the end of the month. The holidays have been rough financially and I assumed I could take care of it when I got paid in a few days. I got a ticket on the 21st. I paid my registration the day I had the ticket- do you think I could dispute it - money is very tight these days

  23. So my registration was up back in September which I did not know I was driving the car it is not registered to me and I got a ticket. Do I plead guilty or not guilty? What consequence am I looking at here or how much will I need to pay?

  24. I was pulled over about a week ago (near my home in western Suffolk County) for driving with an expired registration. In fact I had no idea, but the registration had been expired for 14 months, My insurance and inspection were up to date.
    I have since gone to DMV to renew my registration, they made me get new license plates, and pay $160.
    Here's my question: The officer gave me a ticket. I now have to decide whether to mail it in, plead guilty,and pay whatever additiional fine they assess (could be up to $300?).
    Alternatively, I can show up in court, plead not guilty, and try to explain that:
    a) I never received a notice in the mail to renew my registration. If I had, I would have just paid it and mailed it in.
    b) I have moved since my last registration. I updated my address on the DMV website. So they have my current address in their system. But if they mailed the notice to my old address, it probably got lost in the mail, because the 12-month forwarding period has expired.
    Somehow I doubt that any of these excuses would carry much weight in court.
    But what happens if I plead guilty to driving an unregistered vehicle for over a year? The ticket form says if you plead guilty,that's an automatic conviction,. Will I then have a criminal record? Will my insurance rates go through the roof?

    1. This is not a criminal offense, and as such, a plea of guilty would not result in any criminal record. While appearing in court will allow you to mitigate / avoid the consequences, whether this is financially advisable is a question we can not answer.

  25. I have received a ticket for not renewing my registration. But I had already renewed it a month in advance but had forgotten to paste it on the wind shield. How should I handle this case? Please advise.

    1. Hello Shiva,
      Please advise us of the court that has jurisdiction over your case. You may often appear in court and explain your situation in order to mitigate / eliminate the implications of the ticket.

      Thank you for your question.

  26. What happen when my registration has not been mail yet from dmv even do I paid for it since April and I need to drive my car to work.

    1. Walter,
      Thank you so much for your question. Since you have not yet received your registration in the mail, the best thing for you to do would be to contact your DMV and ask them about its status.

  27. I live in Louisiana. I'm driving my daughters car from Texas. The registration has expired but I have insurance on it. What will happen if the police stop me?

    1. Hello Bonnie, thank you for your inquiry. Unfortunately we are not licensed in Louisiana or Texas, so we are unable to provide you with legal advice. We suggest you contact an attorney licensed in either state that would be able to answer any questions you have regarding this topic.

  28. the department of motor renewal of my registration I sent them 135 by mail but I have not received my renew registration yet what can I do

  29. My registration expired in 2/2019 and everytime I went online to renew it, it said the car was already registered. How do I handle this. I live in New York State.

  30. My registration was up for a month and i had no idea, I renewed it the day after i got a ticket for it. Do I plea not guilty and send it in, but then how would I prove i got it done so I can get this dropped?

    1. Brianna - In order to potentially get the charges against you dismissed, you would need to appear in court on the scheduled hearing date and discuss this matter with the prosecutor.

  31. Hello,
    I was issued a ticket by a NY police for driving 11days after my temporary tag expired. This is because my dealer "mistakenly" delayed the process of my new car registration.
    I have my vehicle insurance and I have already done vehicle inspection before the time of this ticket.

    What can I do please? Will this show on my driving record?

    1. Please advise us of the specific violation code you have been charged with in order for us to advise you further.

  32. I received a $65 ticket for Expired Registration Sticker which I have had already renewed and carried in my wallet. I didn’t replace the sticker under the windshield at that moment because I was under the impression that, like in the case of NY inspection stickers, I have time until the end of the month. I’ve been charged right the next day after sticker expired.
    I sent a copy of the bank check along with a photo of the new registration card, proving that I had it before being charged, but still I was found guilty. Explanation was: “Respondent submitted photos of the renewed valid registration sticker. This is not a valid defense as New York City Traffic Rules require that a valid sticker be affixed to the vehicle at all times and properly displayed. Guilty.”
    I guess, law aside, it is also very important who takes on your case. At least a fair judge could have considered lowering the fee, since I already paid $135 for registration and I was just one day behind of replacing the old one. Do you think I should appeal or just let it go?

    1. Garen - Since this is a 0 point ticket, with a fine of $65 - I would generally not suggest contesting this further.

  33. I was pulled over in January and my registration expired in October the year before. I already renewed my registration and do not want to go to court. Is it ok if I just send via mail the confirmation that I renewed my registration and sign that I was guilt? Is going to court better in case they decide to forgive me?

  34. If you drive motorcycle with out the bike never registered but have insurance is that a moving violation an does it affects your insurance

  35. Hi, i have just found a violation ticket on my windshield. It says, "Reg. Sticker Expired". Above that reads: In violation of NYC Traffic Rules, Section: 4-08(j)(3).

    I did register, but was waiting to get nearer to the end of the current sticker before putting the new one. Then i forgot. So, the new one was always inside my car. I have been charged with $65. Any way to lower this charge? At least i have never violated in my life. I have a clean record until this ticket.

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