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Driving without Registration

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Dale Sr

Member
The states involved in my question are MA, CT, NY & PA.

I live in PA.

I am looking to buy a used car from a used car dealer in MA.

The issue is that MA does not offer transit tags or any other type of tag that allows me to legally drive the car back to PA, which is where I would register it.

As I see it, I have 2 options:

1. Go to MA, buy the car and drive it back to PA without it being registered (perhaps with license plate from another vehicle to reduce the chances of getting pulled over). If I get pulled over, I would be cited (possibly multiple times in multiple states). I would have insurance, bill of sale, drivers license, inspection, but no registration.

2. Pay the dealer before picking it up. Get paperwork sent to me over night. Get vehicle registered in PA (without having the vehicle). Drive to MA to get it and hope it is there when I arrive.

I don't like either option.

My questions:

1. What are the legal consequences (realistic, not max) of option 1 if I get caught.
2. Does anyone have any better suggestions on how to do this deal?

Thanks.
 
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Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
Option 1 is a terrible idea. I'm not going to research the states involved...all I can say is that in MY state, what you propose to do is a felony.

This can't be the first time the dealer has dealt with this type of situation. They should be able to help you out. If not, then you might not want to buy from that dealer.

EDIT: You do have another option: Have the car transported to your home state. You could even rent a trailer and do that yourself.
 

PayrollHRGuy

Senior Member
#1 would be worse with a false plate on the car. Make sure you have proof of insurance and drive home. Assuming you don't have a MA driver's license while you might get pulled over you likely won't be ticketed.

#2 is just silly.

If you are really concerned you could have the car shipped to you.
 

LdiJ

Senior Member
The states involved in my question are MA, CT, NY & PA.

I live in PA.

I am looking to buy a used car from a used car dealer in MA.

The issue is that MA does not offer transit tags or any other type of tag that allows me to legally drive the car back to PA, which is where I would register it.

As I see it, I have 2 options:

1. Go to MA, buy the car and drive it back to PA without it being registered (perhaps with license plate from another vehicle to reduce the chances of getting pulled over). If I get pulled over, I would be cited (possibly multiple times in multiple states). I would have insurance, bill of sale, drivers license, inspection, but no registration.

2. Pay the dealer before picking it up. Get paperwork sent to me over night. Get vehicle registered in PA (without having the vehicle). Drive to MA to get it and hope it is there when I arrive.

I don't like either option.

My questions:

1. What are the legal consequences (realistic, not max) of option 1 if I get caught.
2. Does anyone have any better suggestions on how to do this deal?

Thanks.
Many years ago my brother drove a brand new car that someone had purchased, from Indiana to Arizona. He tried it with plates from another car, he tried it without plates at all, but he still got pulled over at least a dozen times during the trip. I don't have any solution to offer you.
 

FlyingRon

Senior Member
Yep, Massachusetts is very unfriendly both when bringing in out of state cars or taking cars out of state.

Your options are to either ship it (or trailer it), or get the title signed over, then retitle/register it and get plates (PA will issue temporary ones, MASS will not), and then drive it home.
 

Dale Sr

Member
Yep, double and triple checked with various dealers in MA. All had the same answer.

I have 3 options -- the two I presented above, plus paying to have it shipped.

So this brings me back to my original #1 question. What are the penalties (realistic, not max) if I get caught doing option 1. I understand there will be 4 answers (1 for each state). PA, NY, CT and MA.
 

Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
Yep, double and triple checked with various dealers in MA. All had the same answer.

I have 3 options -- the two I presented above, plus paying to have it shipped.

So this brings me back to my original #1 question. What are the penalties (realistic, not max) if I get caught doing option 1. I understand there will be 4 answers (1 for each state). PA, NY, CT and MA.
I'm sure that you can Google that information yourself. As I said, in my state, it's a felony. I would imagine that the other states take a similar, dim view on this.
 

PayrollHRGuy

Senior Member
If you take the really illegal idea of putting a false plate on the car the chances of serious penalties reduce significantly.
 

Mass_Shyster

Senior Member
So this brings me back to my original #1 question. What are the penalties (realistic, not max) if I get caught doing option 1. I understand there will be 4 answers (1 for each state). PA, NY, CT and MA.
If you get stopped in MA, the car WILL be impounded, and will not be released until you show up with proof of insurance and registration (and $$$ for towing and storage). You can probably show your proof of insurance to the judge, but I doubt the police will take your word for it that a vehicle with illegally attached plates is properly insured.

If you're driving on Rt 84 between I-90 and the CT Border, the chances of being stopped rises exponentially. Also, since Governor Baker has issued a quarantine order for everyone coming in from out of state, the State Police are probably using that as an excuse to stop every car they see on that stretch of road with out of state plates.

I frequently see these dismissed on costs ($100 to $500) in Worcester County, but if they charge you with uninsured or the number plate violation, you don't have an option to simply pay a fine. You MUST appear in court, and will quite possibly be arrested.

UNREGISTERED MOTOR VEHICLE * c90 §9
NOTE: THIS IS A CIVIL MV INFRACTION, SET FORTH HERE FOR PROCEDURAL PURPOSES ONLY. on [DATE OF OFFENSE:] did operate, push, draw or tow a motor vehicle or trailer, or being the owner or custodian of a motor vehicle or trailer did permit it to be operated, pushed, drawn or towed or to remain, on a way, as defined by G.L. c.90, §1, without such vehicle or trailer being registered according to law, not being exempted from such requirement by law, in violation of G.L. c.90, §9. (CIVIL ASSESSMENT: $100; 2nd offense: $1000.)

UNINSURED MOTOR VEHICLE c90 §34J (Effective 8/7/09)
on [DATE OF OFFENSE:] did operate, or permit to be operated, or permit to remain, on a public or private way a motor vehicle or trailer that was subject to the provisions of G.L. c.90, §1A during such time as the motor vehicle liability policy or bond or deposit required by G.L. c.90 had not been provided and maintained in accordance therewith, in violation of G.L. c.90, §34J. (PENALTY: house of correction not more than 1 year; or not less than $500, not more than $5000 fine; or both; and shall be liable to pay to the Commonwealth Automobile Reinsurers plan established pursuant to G.L. c. 175, § 113H the greater of $500 or one year’s premium for compulsory motor vehicle insurance for the highest rated territory and class or risk; RMV shall suspend license for 60 days, or for 1 year upon subsequent offense or guilty plea within 6 years. PENALTY if defendant has no prior conviction or finding of responsible, delinquency or sufficient facts to support a conviction: not more than $500 fine.)

NUMBER PLATE VIOLATION TO CONCEAL ID c90 §23
on [DATE OF OFFENSE:], with intent to conceal the identity of a motor vehicle or trailer: (1) did attach or permit to be attached thereto a number plate assigned to another motor vehicle or trailer; or (2) did obscure or permit to be obscured the figures on a number plate attached thereto; or (3) did fail to display thereon the number plate and the register number duly issued therefor, in violation of G.L. c.90, §23. (PENALTY: imprisonment not more than 10 days; or not more than $100; or both.)
 
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FlyingRon

Senior Member
Massachusetts unregistered vehicle is a misdemeanor. $100 fine.
Connecticut unregistered vehicle. $300 fine, impound, and license suspension.
New York unregistered vehicle $300, 15 days in jail.
Pennsylvania unregistered vehicle. $75.

Then if you don't have actual insurance for the car, you can be charged with that in each of those jurisdictions.
 

Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
Massachusetts unregistered vehicle is a misdemeanor. $100 fine.
Connecticut unregistered vehicle. $300 fine, impound, and license suspension.
New York unregistered vehicle $300, 15 days in jail.
Pennsylvania unregistered vehicle. $75.

Then if you don't have actual insurance for the car, you can be charged with that in each of those jurisdictions.
We're not talking about an unregistered vehicle (only) - we're talking about fictitious plates (wrong plates attached to the vehicle)
 

LdiJ

Senior Member
Do dealers in MA not give temporary tags? Wouldn't it be legal to drive the car on a temporary tag? Obviously they don't do in transit tags but doesn't everybody drive away from the dealer with temporary tags?
 

Mass_Shyster

Senior Member
Do dealers in MA not give temporary tags? Wouldn't it be legal to drive the car on a temporary tag? Obviously they don't do in transit tags but doesn't everybody drive away from the dealer with temporary tags?
No temporary tags in Mass.
 

Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
Do dealers in MA not give temporary tags? Wouldn't it be legal to drive the car on a temporary tag? Obviously they don't do in transit tags but doesn't everybody drive away from the dealer with temporary tags?
No, It sounds like that get permanent plates right away.
 

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