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Old 12-16-2013, 03:35 PM
whc.03grady whc.03grady is offline
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Cited for Expired/No Vehicle Inspection in a Different State?

If your vehicle is registered in an inspection state yet isn't inspected or has an expired inspection tag, what can and can't happen if you drive in a second state? They can report you to your home state, I suspect, but surely they can't cite you? If my Vermont inspection tag is expired what if anything can the cops in Montana do about it?
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Old 12-16-2013, 03:45 PM
whc.03grady whc.03grady is offline
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Related: is it through some reciprocal agreement that I can be cited in, say, Tennessee for having expired or otherwise invalid, say, Oregon plates or tags? How does that work? How am I breaking TN law by breaking OR law?
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Old 12-16-2013, 04:18 PM
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From a brief web search it appears that the answer is yes, it is a violation. You are required to have a legally registered and inspected vehicle to drive in most states; they don't especially care which state it's supposed to be registered or inspected in, just that everything is up to date.

On a few police message boards they said that would be an impound/tow offense.
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Old 12-16-2013, 04:28 PM
Hari Seldon Hari Seldon is offline
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Originally Posted by whc.03grady View Post
Related: is it through some reciprocal agreement that I can be cited in, say, Tennessee for having expired or otherwise invalid, say, Oregon plates or tags? How does that work? How am I breaking TN law by breaking OR law?
Doubtless it violates a TN law on valid registration. They don't require a TN registration, but they do require some valid registration. I can, of course, drive in TN with a QC registration provided it is valid.
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Old 12-16-2013, 04:57 PM
whc.03grady whc.03grady is offline
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What if next year Nevada drops its registration requirement? A car from Nevada wouldn't have valid registration because registration doesn't exist in Nevada. Is it against the law to drive it in Tennessee?
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Old 12-16-2013, 05:16 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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What if next year Nevada drops its registration requirement? A car from Nevada wouldn't have valid registration because registration doesn't exist in Nevada. Is it against the law to drive it in Tennessee?
IANAL but my guess would be that Tennessee would still require you have a valid registration, either one issued by Tennessee or another state. A Nevadan non-registration would not qualify outside of Nevada.
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Old 12-16-2013, 05:33 PM
GreasyJack GreasyJack is offline
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What if next year Nevada drops its registration requirement? A car from Nevada wouldn't have valid registration because registration doesn't exist in Nevada. Is it against the law to drive it in Tennessee?
One similar situation is with off highway vehicles. Most states require you to have a registration sticker or plate in order to ride a dirbike or ATV on public land and roads, but there's a handful that don't. In the states I'm familiar with that do OHV registration, they'll accept an out-of-state OHV registration if you're from a state that has them, but if not you have to buy a special out-of-state OHV permit.
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Old 12-16-2013, 05:51 PM
Ruken Ruken is online now
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Many states don't have any sort of inspection. I would be surprised if driving a car from North Dakota were illegal in Virginia.
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Old 12-16-2013, 05:53 PM
whc.03grady whc.03grady is offline
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Many states don't have any sort of inspection. I would be surprised if driving a car from North Dakota were illegal in Virginia.
Right, so would I.
But what if your Virginian car is overdue for its inspection? Is it okay to drive it in North Dakota? I suppose it depends on whether its being overdue for its inspection means its registration is invalid, in which case it would be illegal to drive in North Dakota.
Right?
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Old 12-16-2013, 07:00 PM
PastTense PastTense is offline
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There are two different situations:
1. You are simply visiting/traveling through a different state.
2. You have moved to a different state but have not transferred registration to that state.
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Old 12-16-2013, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by whc.03grady View Post
Related: is it through some reciprocal agreement that I can be cited in, say, Tennessee for having expired or otherwise invalid, say, Oregon plates or tags? How does that work? How am I breaking TN law by breaking OR law?
You aren't. But you ARE breaking the TN law that requires your vehicle to be registered.
They don't insist it be register in TN, but it has to be registered somewhere (Actually, somewhere that is in the US or has an agreement with the US to recognize their vehicle registrations, but I digress), and when your registration expired, your vehicle ceased to be registered.

I can't address your first question from personal experience, but I can offer this guess:
If your home state requires a valid inspection, they may have worded that such that an expired inspection invalidates your registration, in which case see above. If not, another state probably can't do anything about it (other than pull you over a lot for being "suspicious").
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Old 12-16-2013, 08:12 PM
BrotherCadfael BrotherCadfael is online now
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My son just came home from college yesterday. His car has been out of state for a year and a half -- so we have to take it in to get inspected tomorrow.
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Old 12-17-2013, 07:29 AM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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I believe there's a reciprocal agreement among the states (and provinces?) about minimal registration, insurance coverage, etc.

To drive in A, your vehicle must be registered with a state (or country - I've seen "Canada" plates on Cdn army vehicles) that adheres to the agreement - or is it a federal law on interstate traffic? I suppose if the policeman is on the ball or runs your plates he will get the result that your vehicle is no longer properly registered. I assume annual registration requires proof of inspection in some states? Thus if you have a valid registration, you have a valid inspection? Or can you have an inspection that expired long before your registration has?

(Once in a while you hear of people trying the "I am a free citizen I have made my own plates". This works until the car is pulled over and towed. Similarly you hear occasionally of Indian Reserves trying the same thing, with same result.)

Last edited by md2000; 12-17-2013 at 07:31 AM.
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Old 12-17-2013, 08:27 AM
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Back in 1994 I was pulled over in California for what the CHP officer thought was expired Texas registration. He was going to give me a ticket (or something) until I showed him that my registration was in fact current:

Texas had, for years, used stickers on the rear license plate to indicate registration validity - just like many other states (including California). Responding to (as I understand it) an epidemic of sticker thefts, in 1994 they switched to stickers on the inside of the front windshield to serve that purpose.

From behind, a car's registration still appeared to have expired sometime in 1993. Texas law enforcement officers were well aware of the change, so it was not an issue within the state. In other states, though, it could result in getting pulled over. All I had to do was show the officer the front window sticker and (more importantly) the paper registration document in the glove box that demonstrated my registration was up to date, and all was well.
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Old 12-17-2013, 09:25 AM
runningdude runningdude is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whc.03grady View Post
Related: is it through some reciprocal agreement that I can be cited in, say, Tennessee for having expired or otherwise invalid, say, Oregon plates or tags? How does that work? How am I breaking TN law by breaking OR law?
All states require the vehicle to be validly registered somewhere...

You would be breaking Tennessee law for having an invalid Oregon registration.

Last edited by runningdude; 12-17-2013 at 09:25 AM.
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Old 12-17-2013, 10:14 AM
Nars Glinley Nars Glinley is offline
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A related question. On TV, the police usually ask for "license and registration". In my state, there is no requirement to carry a registration and I'm not even sure what it means. What do I do if I'm asked for one? Am I committing a ticketable offense in California?
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Old 12-17-2013, 01:56 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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Originally Posted by brad_d View Post
Back in 1994 I was pulled over in California for what the CHP officer thought was expired Texas registration. He was going to give me a ticket (or something) until I showed him that my registration was in fact current:

Texas had, for years, used stickers on the rear license plate to indicate registration validity - just like many other states (including California). Responding to (as I understand it) an epidemic of sticker thefts, in 1994 they switched to stickers on the inside of the front windshield to serve that purpose.

From behind, a car's registration still appeared to have expired sometime in 1993. Texas law enforcement officers were well aware of the change, so it was not an issue within the state. In other states, though, it could result in getting pulled over. All I had to do was show the officer the front window sticker and (more importantly) the paper registration document in the glove box that demonstrated my registration was up to date, and all was well.
I could run into a similar situation. I bought my car in Vermont and was given an inspection and temporary registration in Vermont. I then had the car licensed and registered in New York where I live.

I've kept it inspected in NY and the NY inspection sticker is down in the corner of the windshield. But the VT inspection sticker is on the back of the rear view mirror. That VT inspection has long since expired but the sticker was never replaced. If I'm ever driving my car in Vermont, a local cop might see that expired sticker and assume I was driving an uninspected vehicle before seeing my current NY sticker.
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Old 12-17-2013, 02:10 PM
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If I'm ever driving my car in Vermont, a local cop might see that expired sticker and assume I was driving an uninspected vehicle before seeing my current NY sticker.
I had an old expired MA sticker on my car and got pulled over in MA (after I'd registered the car in NH). Once I showed the cop my NH registration he just asked that I remove the MA sticker and told me to have a nice day.
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Old 12-17-2013, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Nars Glinley View Post
A related question. On TV, the police usually ask for "license and registration". In my state, there is no requirement to carry a registration and I'm not even sure what it means. What do I do if I'm asked for one? Am I committing a ticketable offense in California?
That's TV. IRL you will usually be asked for license and proof of insurance.
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Old 12-17-2013, 04:07 PM
barbitu8 barbitu8 is offline
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In SC, you are required to have your driver's license and registration. Each year you are required to pay a fee to maintain your tag (license no. of the car). Instead of issuing a new license plate, you are issued a sticker to put on the old plate showing the year of expiration. The month of expiration does not change, and that sticker is also on the car. Along with that sticker, you are sent proof of registration. That, along with your driver's license, must be shown. After 5 years, new plates are mailed. In order to get the registration, you must avow that you have valid insurance.

Last edited by barbitu8; 12-17-2013 at 04:08 PM. Reason: To add last sentence.
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Old 12-18-2013, 02:40 AM
Terry Kennedy Terry Kennedy is offline
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First, they can cite you for anything they want. Whether or not the citation is valid is for the court to determine. Some municipalities collect a large part of their overall revenue from citations issued to people "passing through" from another state, particularly since many of the out-of-state drivers don't want to go back to present a defense.

It is unreasonable to expect an officer to be familiar with the regulations of every other state. In fact, I've encountered officers who weren't familiar with the more esoteric regulations in their own state!

For the case of private passenger vehicles / motorcycles, if the vehicle is legal to operate in its state of registration, and the owner still maintains residence and garages it there, then reciprocity makes it legal in the other states.

This pertains solely to equipment. Operation is subject to the laws of the state the vehicle is operating in. Some examples:
  • Car: No front license plate - permissible if the state of registration does not require one.
  • Car: Headlights off when raining - violation, assuming the state the vehicle is operated in has a "wipers on - headlights on" law.
  • Motorcycle: "Ape hanger" bars - permissible if allowed by the state of registration.
  • Motorcycle: No helmet - violation if the state requires helmets be used.*
* Delaware is weird - you have to have a helmet with you, but it doesn't have to be on your head.

The rules for commercial vehicles and other types of vehicles (police cars, for example) are different and are too complicated to get into here.
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