How long can I drive my new vehicle without a license plate?

I live in California, and I bought a NEW vehicle from the dealer. The dealer is responsible submitting the papers to get me my new license plate from DMV. I am just wondering HOW LONG can I drive this new vehicle without the plates since I am still waiting for the license plate on the mail?

ps. I have the contract and insurance proving that I am the owner and have purchased insurance for the car.

What does it say on your temporary tag?

The dealer has to have given you a temporary registration for the car.
You can drive it up to the date that that expires.

If they didn’t give you a temporary registration, then you can drive it up until the point that a Police Officer pulls you over, and asks you for your documents. At this point, you will be given a free ride to jail, and your brand new car will wind up being towed to the nearest Police Impound lot, at your expense.

If you didn’t get temporary registration papers from your dealer, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you contact the dealer IMMEDIATELY to get this issue resolved. And don’t drive the car until you do.


Also, go to your local town police station or county sheriff’s department if you anticipate a delay. We could ask for a temporary extension on our 14 day temp. plates in our state. At one time I know, any officer could write out an extension.

You can probably drive it forever…Police don’t seem to be interested in that sort of stuff anymore…In the unlikely event you DO get stopped, you will get a minor ticket for no registration…In Colo. the temporary permit is good for 90 days. Many go a lot longer than that and eat the “expired registration” ticket if they ever get one…Any more, the only things the cops seem to be interested in is speeding, more than 20 over, DWI and sorting out wrecks…

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Maybe, just don’t be caught doing anything else,…add ons get pretty expensive. It’s pretty cheap insurance getting a waiver.

Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to direct this question to the folks at the DMV?
The opinions of the good people who frequent this forum may not be correct.

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You can’t drive it at all on public roads without a license plate.

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Right up until they take it away from you at a traffic stop some day.

No , really , as the others have said,

LOOK at the temp tag they gave you, The date is written right on it.

What? And walk a-a-a-a-l-l-l-l the way to the back of the vehicle?
Isn’t it easier to ask people who are not involved in the situation to solve the puzzle for you?

Our New Mexico temp tags are issued blank,
Then the dealer writes, in spaces that take up more that 2/3rds of the tag, in big black marker,
… the expiration date !

You can see that date from five cars back.

But alas, pepito, we can’t see yours from here :frowning:

You’re allowed to peel the plastic tape to look at the paper that’s in there as long as you put it back. You will get the plates soon enough. The contract is about all you need.

It could be good to practice some gringo-lingo. “Officer, the salesman assured me that he would promptly send the registration request.” It won’t work, I can’t even say it without laughing.

doh! sure you can, just drive to the chp office and ask them for a pass.

Calif officials for some reason don’t think it is important for all vehicles to have license plates or easily read temporary stickers. My neighbor’s truck hasn’t had any license plates for 6 years or more, parked on the street on a daily basis, police cruisers going by several times a day. It’s not that the police aren’t doing their job so much; lack of plates just isn’t illegal in Calif apparently. This topic has been discussed here quite a few times. I presume either the dealerships or the police administrator have lobbied the state legislature, as a no-license plate rule means it is simpler for the dealerships, and the police don’t have to take the time to stop people for driving with no license plates.

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… Really?

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Of course!
Didn’t you know that “those people” display large signs on their vehicles that reveal their citizenship status and whether or not they belong to a gang?


Weird as it seems, you’re apparently right. My son pointed that out to me when I asked why as we were driving around southern Cal I was seeing so many cars without plates. Apparently a great many people buy cars and never bother with plates. The logic escapes me, but that’s the way it is.

It’s the only one of the 50 states (plus Washington DC, which is not a state, a district of a state, or a part of a state in any manner whatsoever… but that’s a subject for another forum) that I’m aware of the doesn’t require plates.

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Oddly enough, I know a guy who was charged with a felony in California for switching plates from one car to another. I mean, he was being an idiot to do it, and he was also an idiot in that he decided to mouth off to the cop instead of just smiling and promising to correct the problem, and so the cop wanted to teach him a lesson, but… A felony, in a state where no plate at all is fine? That’s just bizarre.

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So let me get this straight. There is no law in CA that requires you to have plates? So why does anyone have them?

Or is there a law and it is not enforced? What happens if you get into an accident with no plates?

This is very strange…

edit: I did find this
In California, new-car buyers are issued temporary registration that gets tucked away in a corner of the front windshield. They have 90 days to get their permanent license plates installed. In the meantime, they’re free to drive around without any means of being identified by law enforcement officials or other drivers.

every other link I could find says they are required.

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From what i’ve heard from california residents there’s no visible expiration date on the temp tag so a some just drive around without plates.

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