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Driving without Registration

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Mass_Shyster

Senior Member
The last three used cars I've bought, I paid for and took the keys. Got plates and returned a few days later to pick up car.
Wait a minute - I lied. That was the three cars before the last one. The last one I bought, the seller told me it was drivable with a battery. Being the trusting soul that I am, I brought a trailer with me (and a battery). An in a shocking development, it wouldn't start. The ECM (computer) was dead as was the fuel pump. It probably ran a few years ago, but not since. Pulled it up on the trailer and drove home. I never got plates because all I wanted was the engine and transmission.
 

HighwayMan

Super Secret Senior Member
In NY it wouldn't be "fictitious" plates. They just don't belong on the car but they're not fictitious. If they were made up from scratch or altered in some way then it would be two felony charges relating to forgery.

Improper plates is a traffic infraction along with the unregistered vehicle. $300 fine and 15 days in jail is the fictitious part - it would never happen, though that's the max penalty.

The worst of it would be having the car impounded. There's no requirement that it be impounded, but chances are it would be.

And if it was not insured, that's a mandatory one year revocation of driving privilege and (I believe) an $800 civil penalty.
 

Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
In NY it wouldn't be "fictitious" plates. They just don't belong on the car but they're not fictitious.
It's a specific term - one that I used incorrectly for California. But yes, even in the state (states) where the term applies, it wouldn't be likely apply in this situation.
 

FlyingRon

Senior Member
Actually, in several states, putting plates on that are for another vehicle is indeed caught by the "fictitious plate" or similar statute, just as if they had been completely counterfeited.
 

LdiJ

Senior Member
Actually, in several states, putting plates on that are for another vehicle is indeed caught by the "fictitious plate" or similar statute, just as if they had been completely counterfeited.
The last time I bought a car, the dealer asked me if I was going to transfer the plates on my old car, to my new car, and when I said yes, the dealer put the plates on my new car himself, instead of giving me a temporary plate. He told me to show the cop the bill of sale if I got pulled over and told me (if I remember corrected) that I had 10 days to register the new car.

So things obviously differ widely from state to state.
 

Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
The last time I bought a car, the dealer asked me if I was going to transfer the plates on my old car, to my new car, and when I said yes, the dealer put the plates on my new car himself, instead of giving me a temporary plate. He told me to show the cop the bill of sale if I got pulled over and told me (if I remember corrected) that I had 10 days to register the new car.

So things obviously differ widely from state to state.
Yes - for example, in California the plates (generally) stay with the car. There are exceptions for personalized ("vanity") plates and for other specially issued plates (for the disabled, veterans, etc.)
 

FlyingRon

Senior Member
The last time I bought a car, the dealer asked me if I was going to transfer the plates on my old car, to my new car, and when I said yes, the dealer put the plates on my new car himself, instead of giving me a temporary plate. He told me to show the cop the bill of sale if I got pulled over and told me (if I remember corrected) that I had 10 days to register the new car.
It won't work in any of the states mentioned nor in any others I am familiar with on the east coast. You can move plates from car to car, but the dealer still writes a temporary registration out (as if they had put paper tags on your car) reflecting the proper identity.
 

Dale Sr

Member
After watching Smoky and The Bandit 5 times this week, I decided to take the risk and do the drive without the car being registered.

I got the car this morning and made it out of MA without incident. I’m currently in CT at a friends and staying the night.

Need to make it the rest of the way out of CT and through NY tomorrow. I have a state trooper from PA meeting me at the border Of NY/PA to escort me to my house. So I will be fine there, just need to make it through CT and NY.

Wish me luck, especially you, Buford T. Zinger, since you are the one who convinced me to take the risk.

Southbound and down!!!
 

Dale Sr

Member
Well, made it home without incident. Fun experience..

Still have to drive car about 10 miles in morning to get registered and inspected.

Thanks, Buford. BTW, by definition I am not a criminal as I am presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Vroom!!!!!
 

Just Blue

Senior Member
Well, made it home without incident. Fun experience..

Still have to drive car about 10 miles in morning to get registered and inspected.

Thanks, Buford. BTW, by definition I am not a criminal as I am presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Vroom!!!!!
You committed a crime, therefore you are a criminal. Think of it this way... Ted Bundy was a murderer before he got caught and convicted. The criminal act made him a murderer not the conviction.
 

Taxing Matters

Overtaxed Member
BTW, by definition I am not a criminal as I am presumed innocent until proven guilty.
A criminal is a person who commits a crime. Thus, you are a criminal. But you are not a convicted criminal. Note that the presumption of innocence is a rule that applies at trial to ensure that the person only gets convicted if the state proves guilt. Outside of that setting others are free to think you a criminal; especially when you admit to it.
 

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