Congratulations on buying your first car.
Finally, you have your car to get you to school, the gym, and work or even for leisure drives.
But hold on there a little. Before hitting the road, is your car registered?
Understand what your state requires for one to operate a vehicle legally.
Driving an unregistered vehicle with insurance can get you on the wrong side of the law and put you in trouble.
Do you want to avoid fines and legal matters?
This article has everything you need to know about the importance of keeping your car’s registration up to date.
What Happens If You Get Caught Driving an Unregistered Vehicle
According to the law, driving unregistered automobile is considered a criminal misdemeanor.
You can get fines up to $500, but in most cases, the fines in most states range between $150-$300.
When caught driving an unregistered vehicle, treat the officers with the utmost respect.
If you don’t have the proper documentation for registration, be honest and pay close attention to what the law enforcers say.
So, before you get behind the wheel, I would advise you to get your car registration. (Source)
What is the Penalty for Driving an Unregistered Vehicle?
Lack of registration documents means trouble. The reason you should always keep your records up to date and carry them when you are driving.
There are many penalties when found driving an unregistered vehicle with insurance.
The police are likely to catch you and require you to pull over.
It gets even worse when you are involved in an accident, and the police require registration, license and insurance.
The penalties for driving an unregistered vehicle are fines, impounding and imprisonment.
However, regulation of vehicle registration depends on state-by-state in the US.
The rules and consequences vary depending on the state.
Driving an unregistered vehicle with insurance can make you face very high fines.
In addition, these fines can also impact your driving records negatively. The fines differ depending on each state. (Source)
For instance, when a driver is caught within New York driving an unregistered vehicle, they face severe consequences for legal violation.
The fine imposed is likely to increase rapidly if the driver has been driving the unregistered vehicle for more than 60 days.
In Maryland, motorists can be fined up to 500$ when caught using an unregistered vehicle.
In some states, when caught driving an unregistered vehicle, the authorities can take your car and keep it until you clear your fines.
Other states keep your vehicle until you clear all your driving records.
Conversely, if the police catch you driving a vehicle with revoked registration or a car on suspension, they will impound your vehicle.
A valid vehicle registration also is prone to suspension due to some circumstances.
It is illegal to drive a car with a revoked registration just as it is driving an unregistered vehicle. It can cost one a fine of $150 to $300 or even lead to impounding.
Driving in every state requires one to have a registered vehicle and a legal license.
Therefore, driving an unregistered car is committing a crime.
Thus, ignoring the notices and fines received from the police officers can subject you to imprisonment of up to 90 days.
Spending time in jail, however short it might seem, is not worthy of your time.
Therefore, get your vehicle registered and be on the safe side of the law.
Why Is Vehicle Registration Important?
In the same way a person is not allowed to drive a car without a license, you should not drive a vehicle without registration.
The vehicle owner should be issued a registration plate to prove registration with the Department of Car (DMV).
The markings of the vehicle plate depend on the state where the car is registered.
When there is a launch of a specific car model, there are usually more than 100 other models sold in the market simultaneously.
The models may have similar features or can even appear identical.
So, imagine standing in a parking lot with more than 20 cars that look precisely like yours.
How would you identify your own? It could be challenging, but you will easily spot your vehicle, among others, with the vehicle plate numbers.
Getting your vehicle registered is thus very significant in that;
1. It Symbolizes Your Ownership of the Car
Vehicle registration is legal proof that you own the vehicle. The lack of a certificate of registration disqualifies you as the owner of the car.
Thus, having your vehicle registered signifies that you paid for the car and the taxes involved. It also indicates that you can drive freely on the roads.
2. Verify the Vehicle’s Age
The vehicle’s age is a very significant determinant of the value of the car. It is crucial, especially when buying an already used car.
Some people may claim that the vehicle is not very old hence end up over pricing it.
To avoid this, check the vehicle registration certificate to get the exact age of the vehicle.
3. It Is a Mandatory Practice
Not only is registering cars mandatory in the US but also in other parts of the world. It is an offence to drive an unregistered vehicle with insurance.
In 1998 a motor act was enacted which states that all vehicles on the road should have a registration certificate.
If the driver does not provide a copy of the registration certificate, the authorities may repossess the car.
Thus vehicle registration is mandatory for everyone that drives.
On Driving an Unregistered Vehicle with Insurance
Before driving an unregistered vehicle, think about the consequences.
Is the drive worth risking the loss of those dollars and facing the penalties?
You have errands to run, meetings to attend, or you want to go for your first drive.
Don’t let the excitement carry you.
For once, picture the police pulling you over for driving an unregistered vehicle.
Think about the fines; think about the authorities impounding your car, or worse, yourself sleeping in jail for days.
Is it still worth it? I believe not. So, get your car registered and enjoy your ride with freedom.
Hi I’m Marshall based in 1478 Doctors Drive Santa Monica, CA. I’m your DIY Car Repairman with more than 5 years experience in automobile repair, a skill I learned from my old man.
I started this blog to share my experience on both simple and technical aspects of your car.