Soon to be expired registration on a cross country trip


The registration on my car is valid till September 30th 2011. I have paid for renewal, and my next years registration is being delivered to my house in Houston.


I am driving back home to Houston, and I am right now in Washington DC on 28th September 2011. My registration expires in 2 days.

What should I do? I have a printed out receipt that shows that I have paid for the registration renewal online and am going to receive the registration sticker at my house in Houston.

For starters, don’t drive 90 miles an hour waving an “F the pigs” flag…

Keep you paperwork handy and just drive home. Chances are that no one will notice and any stress will be unnecessary.

I once drove on expired plates for 6 weeks because I was too clueless to notice. I finally realized the issue walking up to the car in a parking lot one day.

I went for a full year in an unregistered vehicle. I was surprised when I tried to have it registered for the current year, and was informed I had to be issued new plates.

The point is that nobody noticed, nobody cared.

I wouldn’t worry too much. If you’re pulled over, as long as you’re polite and you show that paperwork, I think it’s unlikely that the officer would write you up for anything.

Besides, it doesn’t sound like you have a choice, unless someone in Houston can open your mail and fax you a copy of the new registration card.

I think the law is that the tags need to be “displayed” whether you have paid for them or not. I agree though, even though the police like to check tags at the end of the month, the odds are good you will have no problem. If you are stopped, explain you have paid. If that doesn’t work, you’ll get a ticket. Then you can either pay it or try to pay your court fees and contest it. Personally I wouldn’t worry about it but wouldn’t go looking to attract attention. Can’t take that long to drive that distance.

You can either drive home and keep a low profile, or stick around and have someone overnight the registration to you when it arrives. The police won’t be able to see a registration sticker (if Texas uses them) unless you are stopped. Don’t stop often. When you do stop, park in a way that makes it difficult to see the sticker. In MD, the stickers are on the rear license plate. If yours are the same, back into the parking spot so that the police can’t drive by and see your registration sticker. And don’t dawdle in the gas station if you see a police car. You will almost certainly get home OK, at least to the Texas border. And if you do get stopped, just explain that you were visiting relatives in NY over the summer and are just now returning to Houston.

I think it is unlikely that any cop from any state other than Texas will even notice. Do they really train on the display requirements of the other 49 states? How is Mr. Trooper from Tennessee even going to know that your Texas registration is 3 days late?

It’s really not an issue…In the highly unlikely event you are stopped, just show your renewal paperwork…The cop can quickly check to see that the registration is current…You would be more at risk parked on the street where meter-maids can take a close look…They are trained to pick this low-hanging fruit…But out on the interstate at 75mph, those little stickers are impossible to see and the State Patrol is hunting for bigger game…

In Texas, it’s a sticker in the windsheild, lower left (from the inside). It’s about 2 x 3 inches in size, and the numbers are large enough to be seen from a pretty good distance. Having said that, every copy I’ve ever talked to will always let you slide a couple days. Most municipalities act like there’s a built in grace period of a couple days where they won’t pursue you for it. Especially since you’re out of state, and they use mail to get it to you. that drive can be done in a day (granted a long one). I’ve done it, but to San Antonio (3 hours past Houston).

Carry the paperwork…you’ll be fine.

I hope you’ve left DC by now.
Parking tickets are one of the few things that local government does efficiently around here.

Print out the receipt and drive conservatively. As Bing said, the worst possible thing that can happen is a simple citation. It isn’t life-changing.

If you get stopped in Texas and the officer wants to give you a citation, ask for a warning. That way all you will need to do is show up at any police station in the state and show them that the sticker is in your window. It’s a little extra work, but there is no cost or record involved.

Some states allow a 15 day grace period after the registration tag expiration date. If Texas does it would probably say so on your current registration card/reciept. I wouldn’t worry too much about it, the worst thing that could happen is a ticket for an expired registration which would likely only be a fine and no drivers licence or insurance point. If you do get stopped just explain the situation and show proof you’ve paid for the new registration and hopefully he’ll let you off with a warning.