What to Do if I Get a Ticket for Expired Registration on My Vehicle?

Being pulled over for any reason can be stressful. This holds true even for something as simple as operating a motor vehicle with an expired registration tag. It’s important that you stay calm in this situation and remember that you may be able to get out of the traffic stop with little or no consequences if you act in a responsible manner. Below we will cover the basics of what you should know after getting a ticket for driving with expired registration.

Handling a ticket for expired registration is usually a fairly simple and straightforward process. You may find, however, that you have questions about how to handle the situation or what step to take next. Our experienced legal team at Chicago Traffic Lawyers has the answers for you and can help you navigate the entire process from start to finish if needed. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our dedicated attorneys!

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What to Do if You’re Pulled Over with Expired Registration Tags

Depending on the specifics of your situation there are a number of ways for you to deal with being pulled over for expired tags. Here is our guide for what to do next:

Show Proof that Your Registration is Valid

If your vehicle registration is up to date, then all you have to do during the stop is show some proof of registration to the law enforcement officer. Even if you don’t have a valid registration sticker, if you are carrying your registration card or can pull up proof of registration on your phone you will likely avoid even being issued a ticket. Regardless of the outcome, be sure to get new registration stickers after your traffic stop.

Submit a Proof of Correction Form

You may not be able to provide the officer with proof that your registration is up to date. This shouldn’t be a cause for concern as you are able to submit evidence of registration after the fact. Once you have submitted a Proof of Correction form and your registration status has been confirmed your ticket will be dismissed. If you received a court summons as part of your ticket, you may still be required to appear.

If you can’t prove your current registration at the moment, you can submit a Proof of Correction form which will cause the courts to look up your current registration and dismiss the ticket. You may still have to appear in court if summoned.

man receiving a traffic ticket, ticket for expired registration

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Register Your Vehicle

It may be that your registration actually has expired. The best thing you can do in this situation is to go through the vehicle registration renewal process as soon as possible. This will help demonstrate to the court that you are responsible which may help reduce your fine, in addition to allowing your car to pass a vehicle inspection.

Depending on your circumstances there are two registration methods to choose from:

  1. Registration renewal – This is simply a renewal of the previous registration through the state of Illinois. You may also need to pass a vehicle inspection depending on the county you live in.
  2. Register your vehicle as non-operational – If your vehicle will not pass an inspection or you will not be driving your car for the majority of the year you can obtain a non-operational registration for it.

Once you have either shown proof of your current registration status or updated it to fall in line with Illinois registration requirements you will need to get tags on your vehicle. This could be as simple as adding your current registration sticker if you simply forgot to put the new ones on, or you may need to wait for a new set to arrive. Get this taken care of as quickly as possible to avoid being pulled over for expired tags again.

Appear in Court if Necessary

If you were issued a mandatory court date with your ticket, plan to show up on that date. Even if you have taken all the proper steps after being pulled over for an expired registration you can be hit with a failure to appear charged if you skip your court date in addition to more severe fines. 

Appearing before the court can actually help you reduce your fine or other penalties you may face for an expired registration. Use this as an opportunity to demonstrate that you have taken steps to fix the situation. 

Pay Your Fine

As long as your court date is not mandatory you can choose to pay your fine immediately and close out the situation. You will want to be absolutely certain that your court date is optional before doing this. If you are required to appear in court, then you should take the time leading up to your court date to attempt to have your fine reduced. 

Hire a Lawyer for Your Court Appearance

If your court date is mandatory or you are choosing to attend court over your ticket, you should find an experienced attorney to work with. Your lawyer will be able to help you complete and file any necessary paperwork and obtain proof that you have successfully registered your vehicle. 

This process is not particularly complicated, but an attorney can help you save time by ensuring everything surrounding your case is in order, particularly by ensuring that any paperwork is filled out correctly and submitted in a timely fashion. 

What Is the Best Way to Deal with an Expired Registration in Illinois?

There really is only one way to deal with receiving a ticket for an expired registration in Illinois. That is to update your vehicle registration. 

Doing so will allow you to avoid being pulled over again for expired tags and may be a benefit to you in court. It is possible that showing up to your court date with an up-to-date registration will result in a reduction in your fine. Even if this does not happen, it will look much better to the hearing judge than to appear before the court with your expired registration. 

How Do I Get My Registration Unsuspended?

The State of Illinois may suspend your registration status if you are caught driving while uninsured. In order to have your registration reinstated you will need to pay a fee of $100 to the Secretary of State and show proof of an active auto insurance policy. Repeat offenders will have to wait for 4 months before applying for reinstatement. 

Make sure you get your registration suspension cleared up before driving again. If you are pulled over while driving with an expired registration you will face much steeper consequences, including a criminal charge and a fine of up to $2,500. 

woman receiving a ticket, ticket for expired registration

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Caught Driving Without Valid Registration? Get Legal Help Today

If you are ticketed for driving with an expired vehicle registration in Illinois, you will be assessed a fine of $90. If your registration has lapsed for more than 30 days, you will also have to pay a late penalty fee of $20. 

There are several ways to handle a ticket for expired registration, depending on your circumstances. If you have renewed your registration and simply have not received your new tags you can show the officer or show proof to the court if they choose to move forward with the ticket regardless. If your registration has expired, you will need to pay your registration fee to bring it up to date. Doing this before your court appearance may even result in a reduced fine for your violation. 

Expired registration cases are usually simple and straightforward cases, but they can also be confusing to anyone with little or no experience dealing with them. If you have questions regarding your ticket, need help filing the paperwork, or are looking for legal representation in court contact one of our attorneys at Chicago Traffic Lawyers. Our experienced legal team knows the ins and outs of registration tickets and can address any concerns you have about your case. Call us today or schedule an appointment online.

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