Can Your Car Get Towed For Expired Tags?

Renewing an expired registration is an expense all car owners have to cover once a year.

Failing to renew your license because you don’t have the money or simply because you forgot may mean that you’ll run the risk of having your vehicle towed if it’s spotted by a police officer or peace officer.

This article will discuss the ins and outs of the repercussions a vehicle owner runs the risk of when displaying an expired registration.

Can Your Car Be Towed for Expired Tags in 2022?

In most states, if your registration tags are overdue for renewal by six months or more, your car can be towed if spotted by a peace officer or police officers. That being said, there are mitigating circumstances that will vary dependent on the situation.

Further to this, you risk being fined and also having to return your license plates to the DMV until provision of proof that your registration has been renewed.

Can I Get Towed for Expired Tags Without Warning?

If your car is seen parked in public without up-to-date tags, law enforcement has the right to tow it without advising you first. The car will remain impounded until you provide proof of registration renewal.

Can a Car With Expired Tags Be Parked on the Street?

It is technically illegal for a car to be out in public without up-to-date registration, and, as such, if your car is found parked on the street without valid tags, law enforcement is within its rights to tow and impound it.

The administration of penalties for out-of-date tags is left partly up to the discretion of the officer in question, who may decide to let the driver off with a warning. This is to avoid overactive enforcement of vehicle towing in this instance.

Can You Park a Car With Expired Tags in Your Driveway?

This is a slightly different situation. When your car is parked on private property, it is outside the jurisdiction of peace officers who can only administer their duty to public areas.

Your driveway counts as private property, and, as such, your car will not be towed if displaying out-of-date registration tags.

Can I Keep an Unregistered Car on My Property?

As with your driveway, your home counts as private property, and if your car is parked there with expired tags, you do not run the risk of having your car towed.

Where Can I Park My Car With Expired Tags?

If you have expired registration, you can only park your car on private property, such as your driveway. Anywhere else counts as public property, and it is within the jurisdiction of peace officers to contact a towing company and impound the vehicle.

What Are Your Rights When Your Car Is Towed?

If your vehicle is towed and impounded, ownership of the vehicle is transferred to the towing company until such time as when you pay the impound fees in full. So, in short, once the car is towed, your rights are negligible.

If a towing company has been directed to tow your car by law enforcement, only a peace officer can tell the tow truck driver to stop, and once the hook is on your vehicle, they are the de-facto owner of it.

If you return before the car is towed you may be able to get off the hook, so to speak, by paying half the fee, but this is also at the discretion of the overseeing officer, and you will still be required to renew your registration.

In Which States Will Your Car Get Towed for Expired Tags?

Every state follows the law that any tags found by law enforcement to be over six months out of date will result in the vehicle being towed. Some states are harsher and can even tow a car if it’s parked in your driveway. It’s advisable to find out exactly what the rules are in your state.

How Much Is the Penalty for Expired Tags?

An on-the-spot fine of $100-$200 will be administered if you are present at the time of your vehicle being found to have expired tags.

If you are not there at the time and your vehicle is towed, you will have to pay impound fees in order to retrieve your vehicle. These will vary dependent on the fees of the particular impound lot and the length of time your vehicle is left there.

What to Do if Your Car Gets Towed for Expired Tags

In this stressful situation of your car being towed, the procedure to follow generally plays out in exactly the same way.

Once you find out your car has been towed, you will need to contact the DMV or law enforcement to find out where your car is being held. You will not only need to pay the impound fee but also have to provide evidence of current registration.

With the time required for this extra measure, it is strongly advised that you pay for new tags, or you may end up paying for a whole lot more.


Is There a Grace Period for Expired Tags During COVID?

Extensions are being offered dependent on your state though they are generally limited to those who need to renew their licenses. The DMV is requesting online registrations be completed, but it is worth contacting the DMV in your state to find out if your state is offering an extension.

Can My Apartment Complex Tow My Car for Expired Tags?

In short, yes, they can, though it’s absolutely worth researching the laws in the area that you live in, as different states have different caveats and exceptions.

If your car is parked on privately-owned property owned by your landlord, the landowner has the right to contact law enforcement and advise them to have it towed.

Some states specify the signage specifying the parking rules must be displayed in the car park; some even have exact rules for how the signs must be displayed, whereas some states, such as Wisconsin, don’t require signage at all.

Can You Get Towed for an Expired Inspection?

You will not be towed for an expired inspection but do risk being fined for it. The fine can vary from $25 up to $100 depending on how out of date the inspection is.

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Author: Dave Johnston

Dave Junior is a hands-on automotive technician with experience in performing service, diagnostics, and repairs on domestic and imported vehicles. He enjoys writing and sharing his knowledge far and wide.

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