How to Beat a Traffic Ticket for Expired Tags

By Lily Leung - Updated March 15, 2018

If you got nailed with a ticket for expired tags, don't panic. It's one of the most common and beatable tickets motorists get. And if you act fast enough, you'll very likely be able to resolve the traffic ticket with minimal cost and keep the blemish off your driving record.


Drivers ticketed for allowing their vehicle registration to lapse can likely resolve the matter on their own as long as they act quickly. Often, it's as easy as renewing the registration, obtaining proof of correction, making a brief court appearance and paying a small fine.

Expired Vehicle Registration

First off, being caught with a lapsed vehicle registration is not a moving violation. This means you'll get a fix-it ticket, formally known as a correctable violation, which will likely be stated somewhere on the ticket itself. If the ticketing officer checks the "No" box, then it is not a correctable violation. So, always be sure to give the citation a close look for this specific detail.

How to Fix It

Once that's confirmed, act swiftly to resolve the issue. This means pay the registration fee and obtain proof that your updated tags are on their way. Then find a police officer to sign, or certify, the ticket for you. Do not try to obtain a signature from a law enforcement officer on a roadway. Instead, visit a police station during regular business hours to complete this important step.

How Much Is a Ticket for Expired Tags?

Mostly likely, you'll have to appear in court to resolve the matter. In this case, simply show up at your scheduled court appearance date with the signed citation to show to the judge. The judge will likely ask you why there was a delay in renewing the vehicle registration. Assuming you corrected the problem quickly and you have a reasonable excuse, it is likely the judge will dismiss your case. In most cases, you'll just have to pay a small administrative fee, or dismissal fee, for taking up the court's time. And best of all, once the violation is dismissed, it will not show up on your driving record.

It's important to note some areas simply require you to mail in the proof of correction instead of appearing in person. In this case, mail the signed citation and proof of correction before the deadline stated on your ticket. Assuming everything is done correctly, the court will dismiss the case.

Traffic Laws Vary

Be aware that laws regarding expired tags vary by location. Fee structures and timelines differ from state to state. If in doubt, call the phone number on the citation for information on next steps and where to go for help.

About the Author

Lily Rutman is a content-marketing writer and editor. Previously, she was a multimedia business journalist.

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