The Importance of Proof of Registration: Advice From blog: The Importance of Proof of Registration: Advice From

Getting pulled over by the police without a valid car registration can be a harrowing experience. A valid registration, along with a driver’s license and proof of insurance, will almost always be requested by an officer of the law during a routine traffic stop. For drivers, keeping these three documents in their vehicle at all times is the easiest way to avoid any altercations with the law. For further information about the importance of having proof of registration, the team at has compiled the following details.

Driving Without a Valid Car Registration

In most states, it is illegal to drive an unregistered vehicle or a vehicle with an expired registration. Before hitting the road, you should be sure that your car is currently registered with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. Depending on the state you reside in, driving without proof of registration may be treated differently than driving a vehicle that has never been registered. Driving without proof of registration occurs when a motorist does not possess the following:

  • A current registration certificate
  • Official registration stickers

Most of the time, driving a vehicle that is not registered is a more severe offense, leading to serious fines and other penalties. Meanwhile, if your registration is more than six months past its expiration date, the jurisdiction you live in may add “points” to your driving record, which will lead to higher insurance premiums.

“Off-Highway” Vehicles and State Laws

If you have a used car, you may or may not be able to drive without a current registration. Whether you are allowed to do this will largely depend on the state you live in. In some states, you have a certain number of days to register your vehicle, and as long as you have the title and proof of insurance, you may drive your car unregistered within this timeframe. Some states also classify certain types of cars as “off-highway” vehicles, which do not need to be registered. If you are unsure about your state’s laws, recommends you contact your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles directly.

Renew Your Registration on Time

As mentioned above, recommends keeping your registration up to date. Many state DMV offices will send you a notice shortly before your renewal must occur. In many states, you can even renew your registration online by simply providing the number on your license plate, an insurance policy number and the number on your driver’s license. The time between registration renewals depends on the state you reside in, but it is ultimately your responsibility to ensure that your registration does not expire.  

Hire an Attorney to Represent You in Traffic Court

If you have been issued a citation related to your vehicle’s registration, it may be beneficial to hire an attorney who specializes in traffic law. These individuals have extensive knowledge of the law, and may be able to contest your citation or reduce your charge. Lawyers can be immensely helpful, but strongly recommends that you keep your registration, license and insurance coverage current so that you can always present them to an officer when pulled over.