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How Long Can I Drive Without Registration

How Long Can I Drive Without Registration

Just Bought a Car, How Long Can I Drive Without Registration?

If you’ve recently purchased a vehicle, you typically have a limited window of time to get it registered before you can legally drive it on public roads.

In most states, you are required to register your car within 30 days of the purchase date.

However, the exact timeframe and procedures vary depending on where you live.

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Grace Periods for Vehicle Registration

Some states offer a grace period that allows you to drive your newly acquired vehicle for a short time without plates or registration. For example:

  • In Kansas, if you renew your registration online, you have a 10-day grace period from when your previous registration expires. During this time, you can print out the renewal receipt or save it on your phone as proof of registration until your new tags arrive.
  • California provides a 90-day window for new residents to register out-of-state vehicles.
  • Arizona grants a 15-day registration grace period for cars purchased from a private party.
  • For Florida, When purchasing from a private seller instead of a dealership, you have 30 days from the date of sale to register and title the vehicle.

NOTE: It’s important to note that these grace periods usually do not apply if you let your registration lapse completely or purchase a car without any valid registration.

Penalties for Driving Without Registration

Penalties for Driving Without Registration

Driving a vehicle that is not properly registered can result in tickets, fines, and other legal consequences. The penalties for operating an unregistered car may include:

  • Fines ranging from $100-$500 or more, depending on the state and circumstances
  • Potential jail time, though this is less common
  • Having your car impounded if you’re caught driving it unregistered multiple times

In some cases, you may be able to get the penalties reduced if you provide proof that you have since registered the vehicle. However, it’s always best to avoid the risk altogether by registering your car promptly.

Temporary Tags and Permits

Temporary Tags and Permits

Many states offer temporary registration options that allow you to legally drive your car while waiting for your permanent plates and registration.

Temporary tags are often available from the dealer when purchasing a new car. For private party sales, you may need to visit your local DMV to obtain a temporary operating permit.

These temporary registrations are typically valid for 30-45 days, giving you time to complete the permanent registration process. Be sure to note the expiration date and complete the registration before the temporary permit expires.

Related Article: Getting Pulled Over With Dealer Plates

Article Summary

Although a short grace period may exist, it’s important to register your vehicle as soon as possible after purchasing it. Failing to do so can result in costly penalties and legal headaches.

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Picture of Steve Momot - Author

Steve Momot - Author

Steve, a seasoned expert in the automotive industry, formerly held a car dealer license in Florida. With extensive experience spanning across car trading and mechanical work, he founded Autohitch. His mission? To guide both buyers and sellers through the intricate maze of car purchasing, ensuring a seamless and informed experience. Outside of the automotive world, Steve has a passion for fishing and capturing the beauty of nature through photography.


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