Driving with an expired tag in Georgia will leave you facing a minimum fine of $125. The fine increases to $135 if the tags were lapsed for 60 days or more. Not taking care of your paperwork can also add a misdemeanor to your record, send you to jail or lead to your vehicle being impounded.
Georgia law requires all residents to register their motor vehicles with the Georgia Department of Driver Services and renew these registrations every year. New residents must register their vehicles within 30 days of moving to the state. If you fail to do so, you will be unable to replace your vehicle's invalid or expired registration tags with new, current ones. In accordance with Georgia law, if you don't have current tags, you are prohibited from operating your vehicle. If you choose to do so anyway, and a law enforcement officer pulls you over, he will cite you for having an improper or expired tag. If you are subsequently convicted of, or plead no contest to, this charge, the court places a misdemeanor on your permanent record and can also fine you. Amounts vary by county, but the average fine, as of 2018, is $125 for tags expired 59 days or less and $135 if expired 60 or more days
Read More: How to Beat a Traffic Ticket for Expired Tags
Suspended, Canceled and Revoked Registrations
If your expired tag is the result of a suspended, canceled or revoked registration, the penalties are stiffer. Not only will you have a misdemeanor on your record, the fine increases from approximately $125 to as much as $1,000. In addition, you may receive a sentence of as much as one year in jail for the infraction. If you are cited two or more times within a five-year period, the court will instead treat you as a habitual offender. This means the misdemeanor on your permanent record has a "high and aggravated" designation, which carries a penalty of not less than 10 days and not more than 12 months in jail and a fine of $1,000 to $2,500. Your car is also likely to be impounded, which means you'll have to pay towing and impound fees as well.
For drivers in Georgia who have an expired tag due to a suspended or revoked registration, the penalties don't stop at a misdemeanor conviction, fines and possible jail time. In addition to these penalties, the initial period of revocation or suspension is extended for an additional six months. To reinstate the registration at the conclusion of this period, the driver must pay a restoration fee, which as of 2018 is $210.
In some Georgia counties, drivers with expired tags may be able to have both offenses and fines reduced under limited circumstances. For example, in DeKalb County, a driver cited for an expired tag that was not the result of a suspended registration may seek a standing order. The standing order reduces the driver's misdemeanor to an ordinance violation and such violations are not reported to the state. To be eligible, an expired tag must be the only infraction for which the driver was ticketed during the traffic stop. The driver must petition the recorder's court for a standing order no sooner than 10 days after the issuing of the ticket and at least 10 days prior to the scheduled court date indicated on the ticket. Proof of new tags must be provided and a fine of $10 paid for every month the tags were expired.
Georgia drivers with expired tags face a $125 if the tag lapsed in the past 59 days. If its been 60 days or more the fine increases to $135.
- Find Law: Georgia Code Title 40. Motor Vehicles and Traffic § 40-2-20
- Justia: 2016 Georgia Code §40-2-8
- Law Office of Scott Miller: Driving With Expired Tags in Georgia Can Hit You Hard in the Pocketbook
- Dekalb County: Recorder's Court, Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
- Dekalb County: Recorders' Court, Standing Order
- Yeargan Barber & Kert LLC: Expired Motor Vehicle Tags
Based on the West Coast, Mary Jane Freeman has been writing professionally since 1994, specializing in the topics of business and law. Freeman's work has appeared in a variety of publications, including LegalZoom, Essence, Reuters and Chicago Sun-Times. Freeman holds a Master of Science in public policy and management and Juris Doctor. Freeman is self-employed and works as a policy analyst and legal consultant.