How likely am I to receive a penalty if I keep out of state plates and insurance for a lengthy amount of time when relocating to another state?

The police officers in these parts make a note when they see out of state license plates, and if they continue to see them for months at a time may pull the driver over to determine if the car is in compliance with the state’s license plate laws. I think the code allows only a few months to change to Calif license plates after to you move to Calif from another state.

The license plate situation here in Calif was bizarre for years b/c nearly 25% of the cars on the road had no license plates at all. There were various loopholes that allowed car owners to just not display or even own license plates. Those loopholes were mostly closed a couple of years ago, and now the vast majority of cars either have the permanent metal plates, or at least temporary (w/numbers for ID) paper plates

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I served in the Air Force for over 30-years and was assigned to two different bases in Texas during my tenure. Military members who still possessed their driver’s license from their home state could maintain that while assigned in Texas. Once you officially move to Texas, you have 30-days to change your license, registration, and subsequently your car insurance… Some still had the registration and the license from the state of their last assignment. If the military member was ticketed, they could get out of the ticket by providing proof of their Home of Record. If they could not, they had to pay… And there were those who went three way, for example: Home state is California, the vehicle registered in Mississippi, and their license from Florida and they really got slammed (max fines…). And in some cases, a military member was pushing the rules and then they had an accident, in more than one case, the insurance company did not pay out because they considered the policy written under fraudulent conditions and even if they did pay, the member had their insurance immediately cancelled…

You can pretend you are just a visitor but if you have an issue, an accident, a ticket, etc… you are then going to have to lie your way out of it… But folks who are staring into the mirrored sun glasses of a Texas State Trooper have a real problem lying with sweating up a storm… Get smart, get your car fixed, you will have to in the end, and putting it off is only going to make your life miserable…

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The insurance rep told me that if I switch to Texas insurance even if its just for a month stay, my current state DMV will become aware and fine me. This is of course if I dont change my plates and registration of course.

However, the rep did say I could safely hold on to my current state’s insurance for the remainder of the policy (6 months) in Texas. This just won’t help me in the long-term.

If you present a Texas proof of insurance while having out-of-state plates to an officer, this will be a problem. Maintain one a single residence standing.

The duration of my proof of insurance is 6 months, this is enough time to make a new plan.

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Thankcyou for reminding me about the waiver. I spoke to a person at a Texas auto shop last week about this.He said those waivers usually only apply if there is a part needed for repair that can’t be found.

I just looked a little bit online about how these waivers work and it seems that there are other ways to qualify and he wasnt telling the full story.

I will call a couple other Texas auto shops on Monday to confirm.

I do not believe this is true. University students frequently work part-time, and still retain their original state of residence. Similarly, I would argue that someone who has moved to a different state temporarily, for example due to a temporary reassignment by their employer, does not magically become a resident of the new state.

If you pay to have the catalytic converter replaced, you will likely qualify for the waiver however if your vehicle no longer fails the emissions test, you do not need the waiver.

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Before you start calling random shops, who may have more of an interest in cleaning your wallet than cleaning the air, here’s a couple of links to Texas government agencies to get you started

Waivers and Time Extensions | Department of Public Safety.

And BTW, I suspect that most of us have experienced times when cash was short and a 6 pack of PBR was a luxury but “back door solutions” tend to be the most expensive so start with the “straight line”. Contact the DMV/Government first, be persistant and always use the Magic Words, “Can you help me please?”. Can often work wonders!

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I appreciate all of your input.

I will have to figure out what the best type of repair will be where ai wont be spending too much money.

Replacing the cat might be costly and pointless because the engine is burning oil and will eventually damage the new cat.

The current cat I have only has 20k miles on it.

On this car, the cat bolts on. You could buy a new one from RockAuto, install it a few weeks before emissions testing, pass emissions, then reinstall the old worn-out one, and store the new one until it needs to pass emissions again.

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What is the rate of oil consumption? If you can get another 20,000 miles out of the car, replacing the catalytic converter isn’t really very costly. Some people replace their car every 30,000 miles.

OMG!! No disambiguation, nothing but obfuscation when asking for advice about emissions testing at an auto shop??? Hard to believe! You could knock me over w/a feather … lol …

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You are confusing George.

The reason he told you those waivers usually apply only when a part in t available is because when a replacement part is available, you replace the part and pass the emission test.

Twenty years ago, our DMV emission training instructor told us something similar; Modern vehicles seldom need more than one major part to repair a vehicle that failed, so waivers are rarely issued.

In Minnesota, you have a 60 day grace period to register a vehicle as long as plates on the vehicle are valid

If you fail to register the vehicle after this grace period, and are pulled over and it’s discovered the vehicle isn’t registered in the state, the officer can cite you for a violation and you can be fined $175.00.

If you fail to register the vehicle after this, and are pulled over, the officer can impound the vehicle, and place you under arrest for the misdemeanor of trying to avoid paying state taxes.


Both you and your car are thrown in jail for a license plate misunderstanding? Sounds like Calif tactics are moving to other states … It’s very true that state politicians use resident’s desire to drive their car as a method to boss them around. Comes with the territory I guess.

Where’s the misunderstanding?

You violated the law!

And ignorance of the law is no excuse.


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Unregister vehicles can be towed from public roads by order of the police, nothing new.

True enough, but I think it would make more sense just to issue another citation, with a $350 fine instead of $175? Bump the fine by $175 each time it occured, eventually the owner will do something about the license plates. No need to throw the owner and their car in jail over such a minor issue. When you throw someone and their car inj ail they may lose their job, so the state will not only be paying their room and board, they’ll not be collecting any income tax from them. .

I guess I don’t get it. My WI registered speed boat lives in MN, no problem. I could be up there 6 months a year, but my DL and Cars are registered in WI. Sure maybe I should register the speed boat in MN, but why bother? The other 3 boats are registered in my name licensed in MN. My WI Insurance covers the speedboat and the canoe, motorboat and sailboat, pay premiums for the 2 boats with motors, the other 2 boats fall under homeowner coverage for liability and theft or damage. wTF do I know.

I hope you don’t get the treatment suggested above BD, you may be posting from jail … lol …