What to Do if You’re Pulled Over with Expired Registration
It’s never a good feeling when you see those flashing lights behind you, urging you to pull your vehicle to the side. That feeling gets even worse when you see those flashing lights and remember that you forgot to renew your vehicle registration after your last birthday.
In Florida, all drivers are required to register any vehicles that are going to be driven on public property with the state. Florida vehicle registration usually lasts 12 months, and according to the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles, it expires at midnight on the owner’s birthday. If you let yours expire, you could face criminal charges.
Expired Vehicle Tag or Registration Penalties in Florida
For Florida vehicle registrations that have been expired for less than six months, the violation is considered to be a noncriminal traffic infraction. This means that you can still be ticketed for driving with an expired registration, but that the violation does not become criminal until after 6 months have passed.
Allowing a motor vehicle or mobile home registration to remain expired for over 6 months is a second-degree misdemeanor in Florida. In doing so, you could find yourself facing:
- Up to $500 in fines
- Up to 60 days in county or city jail
Misdemeanor offenses may not be as serious as felonies, but they will remain on your criminal record for life and show up on background checks, which could affect your ability to work or rent an apartment.
How to Handle Getting Pulled Over with Expired Registration
Supposing your registration is genuinely expired, you’ll want to update it as soon as possible. By acting quickly in registering the vehicle, you can show the court that you’re a responsible driver and could have your fine significantly reduced.
Once you register the vehicle, you’ll need to get new tags on your car. In order to prevent being repeatedly pulled over, we recommend keeping the vehicle in a garage. If you absolutely need to drive the vehicle, choose expedited shipping to fast-track the arrival of the new tags.
If your registration is actually up to date, you’ll need to prove it. Even if you don’t have a paper registration, you can prove your valid registration by:
- Showing online registration: If you have your phone on you when you get pulled over, you may be able to pull up your valid registration via an email receipt or online portal. Although officers are not required to accept this as proof, you may get lucky and be able to avoid having a ticket written in the first place.
- Provide proof of correction letter: If you are unable to prove your registration during the traffic stop, you can submit a proof of correction letter. You may still have to appear in court if you are summoned, but this letter will make sure the court looks up your current registration and dismisses the ticket.
Keeping your registration up to date is the easiest way to avoid any tickets or charges. If you’re in the state of Florida, you can renew online at GoRenew.com.
Get a Trusted Orlando Traffic Crime Lawyer on Your Side
Being pulled over when you have an expired vehicle registration can bring legal issues you didn’t expect and may not know how to handle. If you’ve received a traffic ticket or are facing charges due to an expired motor vehicle registration, our skilled traffic defense attorneys at The Umansky Law Firm can guide you through the legal process and fight to ensure that your penalty is as minimal as possible.
With over 100 years of combined legal experience, we know how to build a strong defense for your case. Call our office or complete one of our online contact forms for a free case evaluation today. At Umansky Law Firm, our team believes that everyone deserves a second chance.