What Are the Consequences of Driving with Expired Registration Tabs in California?

  • Jan 25 2019

Being issued a citation for driving with expired tags (stickers on the rear license plate) is more than just a nuisance if you fail to correct it. This is known as a correctable violation, or a “fix it” ticket, that can be resolved rather easily. If you pay a dismissal fee and show proof of correction, the court will dismiss the charge. If you fail to do so, you can be ticketed again and again, the fines will escalate and your driver’s license will be suspended.  That’s the time to call CheapTrafficAttorneys.com.

Why do I need registration tabs?

Driving a vehicle without registration tabs (also known as tags or stickers) is a violation of California Vehicle Code § 5204(a). This is a relatively minor offense that will lead to a $25 base fine plus a penalty assessment, a state tax multiplier of 4-9 times the base amount. Whether you were ticketed for driving with expired tags after paying for the registration fee and are waiting for the tags (stickers), or you forgot to put them on your car, you can be cited each time the police pull you over.

In other words, each time you are ticketed for driving with expired registration stickers (tags) in California, the penalties will be compounded, leading to hundreds (perhaps thousands) of dollars in fines. If you continue driving with expired tags for over 6 months, your vehicle can be impounded under California Vehicle Code § 22651(0)(1).

What happens if you fail to appear for driving with expired tags?

If you are ticketed for expired tags and fix the issue, it is also necessary to notify the court. Your citation will also include a date to appear in court to show the court the tags are current. In Los Angeles and Orange Counties, for example, this can simply be done without seeing a judge by going to the court clerk at a traffic court window.

If you fail to appear on or before the date on your citation, the ticket will be referred to Collections (GC Servives in Los Angeles County) and the failure to appear (FTA) charge will cause a hold to be placed on your driver’s license. This puts you at risk of a driving with a suspended license offense, being charged with a misdemeanor FTA, and additional fees and fines far exceeding the $25 base fine.

Why This Matters?

If you wish to preserve for driving privileges, and keep your California driving record clean, it is critically important to quickly resolve a ticket for driving with expired tags. By paying the Court correction fee and showing the court as copy of the ticket signed off by law enforcement as proof that you have current registration tabs on your car, you can avoid the negative consequences of a failure to appear charge.

At CheapTrafficAttorneys.com we have been successful at settling failures to appear, recalling traffic warrants, and even getting many FTA warrants dismissed. Call our office today to learn how we can help.


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