Generally, before vehicles can ply major state and federal roads, they have to be registered with the department in charge of motor vehicles in the relevant states.
With this registration comes valid tags to validate that their vehicles have been registered. However, many people still drive without registration, and this is against the law.
Driving without registration is synonymous with breaking the law, and there are consequences people face when they break the law. It is possible not to get caught if you drive without registration, but if you do, you have to dance to the music played.
Question is, what kind of music will be played by the authorities? What happens if you get pulled over without registration?
If you get pulled over without registration, depending on the discretion of the officer, you could get a ticket, your vehicle can be towed, and you can be arrested. The arrest doesn’t happen in all cases, but it can happen, as it is still well within the law.
Is it Illegal to Drive without Registration?
Yes, it is illegal to drive on major roads in every state in every country without having registration, or without the car being registered.
It is very important to register your car with the department in charge of motor vehicles in your state because of many reasons, one being accountability.
If you are driving in an unregistered vehicle, it would be difficult to locate you if you commit a traffic crime, that is, breaking a traffic law with the vehicle.
Every vehicle on the road needs to be accounted for and identified by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to uphold the rules and regulations organizing the road.
If everyone is driving around in unregistered vehicles, there’d be pandemonium and incessant recklessness on the road. This is why it is illegal to drive without registration. It is as if you are in another country without the right papers.
Can You Get Pulled Over Without Registration?
Yes, you can get pulled over without registration. Anyone can get pulled over for any reason by the highway patrol officers. It doesn’t matter whether or not you have a registration, you can get pulled over.
Most times, the police officers don’t know you do not have a license and registration until you have been pulled over and they ask for it. You could have been pulled over for crossing a red light, or for over-speeding.
When you are pulled over, the very first thing you are asked is your license and registration. Once the police officer finds out you do not have it, or your vehicle is not registered with the DMV, then you face the consequences according to the law.
What Happens if You Get Pulled Over without Registration?
If you get pulled over while driving without registration, it means that you have been caught in an offense, breaking the laws of the state, and you will be penalized for that.
The penalty you will be given ranges from getting a ticket to getting arrested and getting your car towed off. Although the offense is a minor one, it is still classified as a criminal misdemeanor.
Being without registration can be in two ways. It could be that your registration has expired, or your vehicle has never been registered in the first place.
If your registration has expired, you might be given a grace of six months, depending on the state you are in.
However, if your vehicle has never been registered, there is absolutely no such grace. You will be charged with huge fines as low as one hundred and fifty dollars ($150), or as high as five hundred dollars ($500).
If you are having a really bad day, your vehicle can be impounded, while you get arrested and face a potential ninety days imprisonment.
What to Do if You Get Pulled Over Without Registration
The most sensible thing to do when you get pulled over in an unregistered car is to be very careful, pleasant, and respectful to the officer who pulled you over and is demanding your registration.
If your registration is expired, and you know it is already overdue on the grace period, still hand over all the documents to the law enforcement agent, and explain why you haven’t renewed your registration.
If on the flip side, you have never registered your vehicle, you have no choice but to do the next best thing; be honest. Be calm, respectful, and very honest with the police officer.
Many people make the mistake of trying to deflect, finagle and waste the time of the police officers, to which these officers never take kindly. They are likely going to treat you with hostility after wasting their time and then you end up not providing registration.
If you are not honest from the beginning, you increase your chances of getting a ticket, and if you are disrespectful and unpleasant towards the police officer, even while committing a crime, you are likely going to be arrested.
If you manage to get off easy, the first thing you should do immediately is to register your vehicle. You might not be so lucky as to get off that way next time.
And generally, it is better to spend some hours and a few hundred dollars registering your vehicle than to spend several hundred dollars extra trying to retrieve your impounded vehicle, or spending avoidable months in a prison cell for a traffic offense.
You do not want to go around committing a crime by driving without registration. That is a risk nobody should be willing to take. You should register your car as soon as you purchase it, and get the right credentials before you put it on the road.
If you are pulled over without registration, you run the risk of getting your car impounded, paying fines as high as $500, or going to jail for ninety days or more.