Today in "because I'm an idiot..."
June 27, 2016 6:32 PM   Subscribe

I just noticed that my OH registration tags on my car expired 3 months ago. I'm living in Mississippi and moving to WA on 7/15. I thought about trying to renew my OH registration before I move, but it takes 10 business days to process and requires an emissions check number, which I don't have (it's also very expired). Is there anything I can do at this point to get registered and/or avoid getting ticketed until I can?
posted by deus ex machina to Travel & Transportation (15 answers total)
Is registering in Mississippi cheaper than the cost of driving an unlicensed car and the cost of towing and the storage cost and the related pain? There you have it.
posted by HuronBob at 6:54 PM on June 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

Do you have a copy of your car title? I think you will have a problem registering in Mississippi if you don't have a copy of your title. You probably need to get that from the last state you registered the car in, Ohio. Then use your remaining business days to register the car in person in Mississippi. Make sure you leave a forwarding address for wherever you were living in MS.
posted by thewestinggame at 7:16 PM on June 27, 2016

Honestly, in my experience (as an extremely nonthreatening-looking white lady, ymmv), cops don't notice out of state expired tags/stickers. They're on the lookout for the local tags, but the out of state things are just harder to recognize; can't rely on color, have to actually read the numbers. I would probably just brazen it out.

Only thing that would give me pause would be the drive from Mississippi to WA; hopefully the worst that would happen would be a ticket, but it would super suck to have your car impounded or something in a strange place.
posted by mskyle at 7:22 PM on June 27, 2016

You can purchase a Texas 30 day registration online, as long as you've got insurance that meet's Texas's (low) state minimums. A friend did this for a truck in California with an expired California registration (and with no intent to take it to Texas or title it in Texas). At the end of the process, she printed a PDF of a temporary license plate, and was good to go.

That would be enough to get you to Washington, where you should register your car.
posted by toxic at 11:03 PM on June 27, 2016 [3 favorites]

The Texas registration is a great idea and it's only $25, but they require that the car be titled in TX, and so wouldn't let me proceed when I entered my VIN.

I do have my title. MS is a bit of a weird state with registration because they don't have temporary tags (just a paper sign that says "tag applied for" with no numbers or ID) but I guess it's legal so I'll look into cost etc.
posted by deus ex machina at 3:50 AM on June 28, 2016

1. If you no longer live in Ohio, you should not try to re-register your car there.
2. There is more than just the inconvenience of tickets, towing, etc. If you get in an accident, your auto insurance may not cover you for an unregistered car.
3. The suggestion to license your car in a state that you have no connection to makes no sense at all and is probably not legal.
posted by yclipse at 4:20 AM on June 28, 2016

The suggestion to license your car in a state that you have no connection to makes no sense at all and is probably not legal.

Quoted for truth.

By Mississippi law, you had 30 days to register your car with Mississippi after you moved there. Even if your previous Ohio registration was still good, that doesn't matter. You must be registered in your state of residence. If you somehow could renew the Ohio registration, you'd still be violating Mississippi law. Similarly, once you move to Washington, you'll have to register the car there. So if you do pay for a Mississippi registration, you aren't going to be in the clear for long. You'll have to re-register in Washington within 30 days of that move. So, if you want to be legally in the clear, you've got two back-to-back registrations to enjoy.

If it were me, I'd just do what I could to register in WA ASAP, but there's a small chance of a big ticket in the next two weeks if you do that.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 4:37 AM on June 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

To be clear, I've been allowed to maintain my OH registration while not being there physically since I was in school. I can't register my car in WA without being physically there. I can't seem to figure out if I need a MS drivers license to register in MS- is it typical to need that first?
posted by deus ex machina at 4:42 AM on June 28, 2016


Moving to WA? Get plates
Things to know
First, you must get your Washington (WA) driver license, then register your vehicle(s). You have 30 days to do this after you’ve moved here.
We have different offices for driver licensing and vehicle licensing. You won’t be able to get your license and register your vehicle at the same place.
Everyone’s situation is different, call a vehicle licensing office to find out what your fees will be and exactly what you need to do.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 4:44 AM on June 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you haven't registered in MS because you're a college student, then there is a 99.5% chance no Mississippi cop will care that your registration expired in Ohio. That's between you and Ohio. With two weeks to go, if you did get pulled over and it became an issue, I'd just show my student ID, explain I hadn't been home to OH to re-register, but I'll take care of it ASAP. (Disclaimer: I'm a white dude, and my experience may not be more broadly applicable. It sucks that I have to say that.)

Still, your options are: figure out how to register in OH, register in MS (which you *can* do, I think, even though they don't require you to), or just sit tight until you register in WA. Any suggestion that you register someplace that is not one of those three states will not help you legally and almost certainly adds a much more serious violation of the law than the minor one you've already got.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:06 AM on June 28, 2016

I would not try to register a car in a state that I was moving out of in 15 days. Especially since you don't even have current documentation (inspection) to do it.

Just drive to WA and register it when you get there. It may not be the most correct answer, but it's the most practical answer. Drive safely.
posted by cotterpin at 5:15 AM on June 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

It also occurred to me that my insurance will not cover me if I'm not registered in OH. I'm going to call my insurance agent today to see what would happen if I got in an accident and ask if he has any ideas, but my plan at this point is to wait til WA and drive carefully til then. Thanks!
posted by deus ex machina at 5:39 AM on June 28, 2016

My wife and I have lived in many states as college students and grad students, and we have always registered our cars in the state we were living, regardless of student status, within 30 days. Any reason you aren't doing this? We would change our insurance as required, as well.
posted by TinWhistle at 9:52 AM on June 28, 2016

TinWhistle: Because you don't have to if you're a student, at least in OH with my insurance.

I heard back from my insurance agent. He said that my insurance is 100% in force regardless of registration status. He added that it wouldn't make sense for it to not be, because then it would punish victims of traffic accidents for what is essentially a paperwork issue. He also suggested that I wait til WA to get this straightened out and budget money for tickets.
posted by deus ex machina at 12:44 PM on June 28, 2016

Depending on where in WA you are moving, you may not need emissions testing. If you have an address (or know the address you will have) you may be able to register in WA early. I have found that WA is one of the easiest states to get registration - particularly because there are private registration companies that will handle all the paperwork for you. They have been able to get stuff taken care of that I as a private person would never have been able to do (a '51 Studebaker whose title matched the engine serial number not the car, another car where the owner signed the title in the wrong place,...). I would call one of these places in the area where you will be moving and see if they can help you.
posted by 445supermag at 7:21 AM on June 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

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