Police will start issuing temporary license plate tickets right on January 1 with fines up to $197 if you don’t correct it. Here’s everything you need to know.
You might be riding dirty right now, fully aware that you’ve had dealer plates on your new car for far longer than you should’ve or you might know someone who’s been avoiding registering their car with the DMV. Well, your time is up. As per the DMV in their update on this law thanks to Assembly Bill 516, all new and used cars in California, on January 1, 2019, must display either temporary license plates that look like the real thing or permanent metal license plates issued by the DMV, no ifs and or buts. Here’s the link to the DMV website where it says pretty much that or all you need to know.
Also, I’ve summed up the fines and why below.
The assembly bill and the DMV will tell you that it’s a safety issue and to stop toll evaders. There have actually been cases where cars fled the scene of a crime, like a hit and run, and police were not able to ID the car leading to an arrest. Can you imagine if your loved one was involved in some type of accident and you couldn’t get justice because they were riding dirty without a registered car?
Low-key probably the real reason this bill “sped through” the California assembly and had no trouble being approved is money. California needs money, plain and simple, and registering a car correctly ensures that, as long as that car is legally on the road, a steady stream of fees via registration, smog, license renewals etc. keep rolling in year after year.
Fines. If you’re found with dealer plates, even though you might’ve gotten them in 2018 (or even 2017 and earlier) police WILL light you up and issue you a fix-it ticket with an at minimum $25 fine when you get the right plates and up to a $197 fine if you don’t correct it.
As mentioned, even if you DID get your dealer plates in 2018 or earlier, how are police supposed to know that?
For everyone who has intentionally been riding dirty with dealer plates, you have to return to the dealership where you got the used car and ask for temporary plates. More than likely they will know what to do and will hook you up with temporary plates that are valid for 90 days whereas at that time, permanent plates will be mailed to you.
To summarize, every car MUST have temporary or permanent license plates by January 1, 2019. If you don’t have temporary plates because you still have your dealer plates, go to the dealership where you bought your car to get some.
Although the police have not mentioned a hard date, it’s safe to assume there’s perhaps a two-week grace period for everyone to sort their plates out. But don’t quote me on that.