Driving an Unregistered Vehicle | VTL § 401

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It does not matter whether your vehicle is parked on the street or you are driving your vehicle and obeying all the rules of the road, the police can always run your plates to see if your car is properly registered.  Police can also pull the information of the registered owner including address, citation history and possible criminal history.All cars both new and old must be registered before they can be legally operated in New York.  In New York you must register your vehicle and renew registration every two years.  You will not be allowed to renew your registration if your license is suspended or if your car does not pass an annual safety and smog inspection.

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.  Since not renewing your license is a non-moving violation, there are no points that will be assessed against your license.   In certain cases a 15 day jail sentence can be imposed.


  1. 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 $85 surcharge.

  3. 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 $85 surcharge. 

How Do I Register My Vehicle?

If you have recently purchased a car, moved into the state or were given a car as a gift or inheritance you must register your vehicle in the State of New York.  New residents of the state are allowed 30 days to have their vehicle registered with the state.   It’s important that if you are purchasing your vehicle from the legal owner that they are able to provide you proof of ownership along with other necessary paperwork for registration.  To see the necessary paperwork needed to register your vehicle check here. 

How Do I Renew My NY Vehicle Registration?

Always check the status of your registration.  After having your car initially registered, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will send you a renewal notice between 45 and 60 days before your registration will expire.  Even if you never get a notice you will be able to see when your registration expires on your vehicle registration card.  If your registration is soon to expire you can renew your registration by phone, online, by mail or in person at your local DMV.  Visit here for more information and begin renewing your vehicle registration.

Traffic Violations Defense
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.


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This post was written by Adam H. Rosenblum Esq.

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1 Comment

  • Adam Rosenblum
    April 22, 2013

    No, proof after the fact will not exonerate you. However, taking your case to court might lead to a resolution.