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What to Do If You Get Pulled Over for Driving with an Expired Tag

Home » Blog » What to Do If You Get Pulled Over for Driving with an Expired Tag

What to Do If You Get Pulled Over for Driving with an Expired Tag

by | Feb 16, 2024 | Traffic Ticket

driving with expired license

Most people have so much to do that keeping up with every responsibility can be difficult. That includes remembering to renew your Florida vehicle tags annually.

You probably already know that not registering your vehicle is an offense, but just how serious is driving with an expired tag? Also, what can you do to reduce the charges, and how can Florida Ticket Firm help?

The Purpose of Vehicle Registration and Florida’s Requirements

Vehicle registration is beneficial because it is an official record that links a vehicle to its owner. If someone steals your car or if you’re in an accident, the tags can help with the investigation.

Registration can also be a means to certify your residency in the state. Furthermore, the fees you pay for your tags go toward maintaining public roads.

Florida requires all vehicles to have current tags to operate on the road. The expiration date falls on your birthday, so you must renew before then. You should understand that rules for new cars do not apply to driving with expired tags, and there is no grace period or 30-day temporary plate.

The Penalties for Driving With an Expired Tag

For the first six months, driving with an expired registration is merely a traffic infraction, and the police can issue you a citation with a civil penalty. These fees can be relatively low, but this varies by county and can even reach $250.

After six months past the expiration date, driving with an expired tag is still only an infraction if the incident is a first offense. However, the penalty may increase depending on the jurisdiction.

However, law enforcement may charge a person with a second-degree misdemeanor for every additional offense of driving with a tag that expired over six months prior. This is a criminal charge that can end up on a permanent record and could affect employment possibilities or the ability to buy or rent a home. The maximum sentence is 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

Additionally, the arresting officer may choose to impound your vehicle. This brings additional costs, which vary by municipality. Still, you can expect to pay more the longer your vehicle remains impounded.

What To Do After an Officer Pulls You Over for an Expired Tag

If you find yourself in a situation where you’re driving with an expired tag, an officer might pull you over for doing so. The officer might also stop for another reason and realize your tags have expired while handling another matter.

In any case, stay calm and speak respectfully. If you believe there has been a mistake, show the officer documentation of the fact that you registered your tags. For example, you might be able to display confirmation from the online portal or an email receipt.

Bear in mind that officers do not have to accept this as proof, but you might be able to get off with a warning. If you receive a citation because you did not renew your tag, you’ll want to update your registration as soon as possible.

Possible Defenses for Expired Tags

If you’re going to fight a charge of driving with an expired tag, you’ll need a solid defense, likely using one of the following arguments.

Lack of Evidence

A prosecutor or officer could make a mistake that makes the evidence against you invalid. Also, prosecutors often rely solely on the testimony of the police officer without the proper documentation. In these instances, you could make evidentiary objections that move the judge to drop or dismiss charges.

Exempt Vehicle

The officer may have requested proof of registration for a cart or other type of vehicle that does not qualify as a motor vehicle in Florida. If you can prove that to the court, it will drop the case.

An Inoperable Vehicle

A rarer defense is that the vehicle was inoperable or you were not operating the vehicle when the officer cited you for an offense. Likewise, an officer might ticket you without proof that you were actually driving the vehicle, which would compromise their case.

Missing Registration

If you simply did not have your registration or the document contained an error, you can supply the proof that you registered on time. You might submit a letter with proof of correction before your case, which could result in the dismissal of the ticket before the court date.

How a Lawyer Can Help With Your Defense

When you go to court, you’ll probably face an experienced prosecutor who knows the law much better than you. With a defense lawyer at your side, you can be calmer and more confident, which helps you avoid inadvertent mistakes that harm your case.

Furthermore, an attorney from Florida Ticket Firm can help you determine which laws pertain to your jurisdiction and stay alert for any mistakes or inconsistencies from the prosecution. Our team also has experience in negotiating a reduction of fines and penalties.

How To Renew a Registration

Renewing expired tags is fairly straightforward. You can do so at the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles website, which you can access at GoRenew.com. Be ready to supply proof of your Florida auto insurance.

If you have trouble renewing online, you can do so at any Florida DMV office. You can find a list of offices and their hours on the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles site. Bring your renewal notice, current registration, and payment.

Tips for Avoiding Tag Expiration

Remember these pointers to avoid unintentionally driving with an expired tag:

  • Set a reminder on your phone or calendar for 90 days before your birthday to update your tags.
  • When you get the reminder to renew your tag, pay it immediately.
  • When you receive your updated decal, apply it to your tag immediately.

Florida also allows you to pay for two years of registration, which can ensure you stay compliant and have to renew less often. Just set a reminder for yourself for that date so you don’t let your tags expire.

Florida Ticket Firm Can Help You Fight an Expired Tag Charge

If you’re facing charges for driving with an expired tag, Florida Ticket Firm can help. Contact us for a free consultation so we can help you determine the next steps you can take to fight your case.