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What Is the Penalty for Driving Without Registration in New Jersey?

January 31, 2020

Were you pulled over for driving with no registration in New Jersey? Forgetting to keep up with your registration is easy to do. With so many demands for attention among busy schedules, many people forget to renew their car registration.

If you received a ticket for driving with no registration, you may be wondering about your legal options. As an experienced New Jersey defense attorney, I help clients deal with traffic violation tickets. Feel free to contact me, or continue reading for more information on how to handle driving without registration in New Jersey.

I’ll cover the following registration questions:

●      What Are Your Options After a Ticket for No Registration?

●      Should You Pay the Ticket?

●      How Can a Lawyer Help?

If you were pulled over with no registration, you should understand the law governing vehicle registration in New Jersey.

What Are Your Options After a Ticket for No Registration?

In New Jersey, a police officer is authorized to remove unregistered vehicles from the roadway. What’s more, police can charge vehicle owners or lessees for the towing and storage expense of an unregistered vehicle. A person driving with no registration is subject to a fine up to $100.

Even if you follow all other traffic laws, a police officer can pull you over for driving without registration in New Jersey. Police officers also scan the license plates of parked cars, looking for registration violations. You might leave your car parked only to find it towed for a registration lapse.

Even if you’ve recently moved to New Jersey, you have to update your registration. You must transfer your registration within 60 days of your move, or sooner if your vehicle registration from the previous state expires.

Some drivers who are pulled over with no registration don’t have their vehicle impounded. However, this policy varies by city and police department. Though New Jersey law gives police the right to impound the vehicle, in some cases, drivers receive a ticket and an order to renew their registration.

If your vehicle is impounded for driving without registration in New Jersey, you’ll need to complete the following steps:

Call a Ride to Get to Your Destination

There are stories of police leaving families with young children or elderly people stranded on the side of the street due to impounding a vehicle. Get a ride to a safe location.

Renew Your Registration

You must renew your registration before you can get your car back. Go to your closest New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) to renew your registration.

You’ll need to bring the following items to get a renewal:

  • Current driver license;
  • Registration renewal notice, current registration, or license plate number;
  • Auto insurance proof; and
  • Payment for registration (credit card, money order, or cash).

Get Your Car

After you’ve renewed your registration and paid required fees, ask the police where your vehicle is being stored. When you pick up your vehicle, you’ll need to pay towing and storage fees, which accumulate each day.

Should I Pay the Ticket?

To get your registration renewed, you’ll have to pay the fine. However, if you received the ticket for no registration because of a mistake, you may have options to contest it.

Proof of Correction

Maybe your registration was current, but you didn’t have the correct tag or paperwork. The police officer should be able to verify your renewal on a police computer. Let’s say your registration is current, but you lack paperwork, and the officer can’t verify your renewed registration. In that case, take your proof of registration to the courthouse and ask for a certificate of correction.

Stolen Tags

If your registration tags were stolen, report the theft immediately to the MVC. Request paperwork validating your current registration and bring that to the courthouse to request a proof-of-correction certificate.

Car Not in Use

You may be fined for a car that hasn’t been in use for many years and thus lacks current registration. Perhaps your grandfather had a vintage auto that sat undriven for years. If the MVC says you need to pay expired registration for all those years, you can contest the fine.

How Can a Lawyer Help?

If you want to dispute your ticket for no registration, a lawyer can help you get your fine dismissed or reduced. Don’t think that you have to fight New Jersey’s harsh registration policies on your own.

Find someone to stand up for you by calling me, New Jersey attorney Anthony Vecchio. I offer a free consultation, which allows us to discuss your expired registration experience and legal options. If you need someone to help you stand up to government bureaucrats, give me a call

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