Getting Pulled Over With Expired Tags in Colorado

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Getting Pulled Over With Expired Tags in Colorado

The state of Colorado, like the majority of states in the U.S., has automated services for its Divison of Motor Vehicles, including automated registration renewal. While this service makes renewing your car’s registration faster and easier, It is still up to you to pay your renewal fees in full and on time.

In Colorado, VIN verification, a valid title, a Proof of Colorado Emissions Certificate, and proof of adequate auto insurance are all a necessary part of meeting Colorado’s vehicle registration requirements

Trying to renew your vehicle’s registration after the current registration has expired will raise the price. It could also come with serious repercussions, especially if you get caught driving on your expired registration.

Can the Police Pull Me Over For Expired Tags or Missing Tags?

Getting Pulled Over With Expired Tags in Colorado

Of course. If you are driving with expired tags, the police are absolutely able to pull you over. On a positive note, a citation for driving with dead tags is almost always a non-moving traffic violation.

If your registration stickers are not attached to the proper spot on your license plate or attached to your tags at all, you could be issued a citation for that as well. Do not stash your stickers in the center console, the glove compartment, or leave them on the kitchen table at home. They are required by law to be prominently and correctly displayed. 

What Will Happen if I Get a Citation for Driving on Expired License Plates?

You are going to get a citation and you will be fined. There’s no other way to say that.

Your vehicle does not have to be moving to get ticketed for dead tags. Your vehicle does not have to be on the road or even occupied to get a ticket for dead tags. If your car is parked legally, you can still get a ticket. Even if your car is parked legally and it’s up on blocks and it’s missing the steering wheel and the windshield is completely blacked out and it is 100 percent obvious there is no way you could drive it, you can still get a ticket.

If your tags are not displayed, even if they are in the car, your registration is up-to-date, and your stickers are in their proper places, you can still get a ticket.

The only place your vehicle will be safe from traffic violations while its registration is expired or its plates are not attached is on private property, such as your own driveway.

The specific penalties that you will incur are determined mainly by the officer and the citation. You might luck out with an officer who gives you a grace period. Sort out your citation as soon as you can. Using the Colorado Divison of Motor Vehicle’s online services might cost extra money, especially if your registration is overdue, but in the long run, they save time and frustration when you are getting new plates. 

Expired License Plates and Going to Court 

Even though you have dealt with your registration and got everything paid off and up-to-date, you will most likely still be expected to appear in court. Take proof of your new registration with you. If you think the information about your DMV registration renewal and replacement plates is somehow automatically relayed to the court, you are sadly mistaken. Without proof in hand, the court will assume you have not taken care of the matter and proceed however they see fit, which will probably include increased fines and penalties. On top of these extra fines, you might also be charged for failure to appear, a misdemeanor in the state of Colorado, and now all because of an expired vehicle registration, you’ve got yourself a criminal record.

A charge of failure to appear can be quite costly all on its own. If you don’t pay, it could be sent to collections and eventually compound fees for hundreds of dollars in extra costs. An administrative hold could be placed on your driver’s license, something that the DMV is not required to warn you about. So now you’re driving around on a suspended license that you have no idea is suspended and you are dangerously close to adding to your recently acquired criminal record. 

All because of an expired registration.

Can the Police Impound My Car For Dead Tags?

If your registration has been out-of-date for 6 months or longer, the police are permitted to impound your vehicle. If you are pulled over while driving, the expired registration can now be treated as a moving violation. 

There are few things more expensive than an impounded car. These cars are usually not released until:

  • All fees and fines relating to the impound are paid in full
  • The issue that caused the citations and/or impoundment has been fixed
  • The Divison of Motor Vehicles says your records are clear

While you are trying to scrape together enough money to deal with all of these tickets and fees and fines, the impound lot is charging you well over $100 a day to store your vehicle. You will not be allowed to get anything out of the car once it is impounded either. It doesn’t take to many days of anger and frustration for the impound bill to total more than your car is even worth. Not that this matters, of course. You still have to retrieve your car. If you don’t, the impound lot can place a mechanic’s lien on it and next thing you know, your wages will be garnished. They can take as much as 20 percent of every paycheck until you have paid off the impound lot, along with everything else listed above. It gets dark fast.

Don’t let your registration expire.

If you or someone you love has been involved in a car accident, attorneys at Injury Victim Law are in your corner. We have the experience and the reputation that are needed to help you obtain the full amount of financial compensation to which you are entitled. 

After serving our community’s legal needs for decades, our aggressive, Colorado car accident attorneys know exactly what it takes to win your case. Our attorneys pride themselves on their outstanding track records and their distinguished reputations.

If you have recently been injured due to the negligence of another driver, then we firmly encourage you to seek the legal services a dedicated Colorado personal injury attorney by giving us a call at (800) 245-2774 and scheduling an appointment for a free case evaluation so that we can advise you on the best course of legal action for your situation.


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