Plans to purchase or sell a used car sometimes conflict with state vehicle registration laws. At other times, car registration costs might interfere with an owner’s finances. Fortunately, most jurisdictions make room for these situations by issuing registration for a shorter duration, sometimes known as 30-day tags.
About 30-Day Tags
State governments control vehicle registration so there isn’t a federal law that sets the standard. Each jurisdiction has its own rules, costs and responsibilities involved in registering a car. Individuals can find out these rules through their nearest Department of Motor Vehicles office.
These restrictions can make 30-day registration more expensive in the long run. For instance, an owner might have to pay certain fees or taxes each time he gets new tags for his car, such as:
- Registration fee.
- Inspection fee.
- Emissions fee.
- Excise tax.
- Title fee.
- Lien recordation fee.
A 30-day registration might not be as affordable as a car owner expects.
How to Get Temporary Tags for a Used Car
- Check with the local DMV. Not every state, territory or district allows for temporary tags or renewal. Others have several online and offline options available. For instance, Washington D.C. has five-day paper tags for used car sales and 45-day temporary tags for owners who need to get their cars inspected. No renewals or extensions are available.
- Provide appropriate paperwork. The documents required for registration depend on state laws. These usually include personal identification of the owner, proof of ownership and loan documents for financed vehicles. Some states also require an inspection and proof of insurance.
- Pay required fees. The fee for a 30-day registration usually costs less than one lasting 12 months. However, due to additional expenses, it might not be much less. Car owners should compare costs before opting for 30-day tags.
If the car owner purchases the vehicle from a used car dealership, the seller may include registration and temporary plates as a part of the sales process.
Can You Drive on the Day Your Temp Tags Expire?
Yes. Temporary tags are valid through their expiration date. It’s not always possible to extend temporary tags or to renew them with another 30-day registration. In some states, once temporary tags run out, owners must register their cars for at least a year. While some states offer a grace period for those with year-long registration, the same doesn’t apply for car owners with temporary registration tags.
In some states, drivers may place an in-transit sticker, tag or plate in the car's rear window instead of using temporary plates provided by the DMV. Generally, the sticker must display the date of sale and the in-transit expiration date, which is determined by state law. The driver may also be responsible for providing authorities with a dated bill of sale or other proof of time of purchase.
In some states, like Michigan, only car dealers and auctioneers can use in-transit tags and only for vehicles that need repair. In other states, in-transit tags aren’t legal at all. Whether or not in-transit tags prevent an officer from giving a driver a ticket or from towing or impounding a car depends entirely upon state law.
Is It Legal to Use a Temporary Tag Generator?
With the ability to do so many things over the internet, some car owners think there should be ways to solve their registration problems online. Using a temporary tag generator is one of them. Several websites are set up to create fake registration papers and fake paper license plates for vehicles.
While these might look legitimate, they seldom are. Using a temporary tag generator can result in hefty fines and possible jail time. In Texas, using fake paper license plates is a Class B misdemeanor carrying a fine up to $2,000 and six months in jail.
License plate fraud isn’t new, and state authorities aren’t so easily fooled. It is always best to go through the legal process of securing temporary tags for a vehicle.