Rules about out-of-state vehicle registration

While running errands one recent morning, I noticed that I was following a car with out-of-state plates that expired in March 2009. Wondering what a law enforcement officer would do had he or she been behind this car, I consulted the expertise of Officer Grant Boles, spokesman for the California Highway Patrol’s Aptos office. “If Officer determines that out of state plate vehicle has been living in California or working in California,” a citation can be issued, he said. “The fine can be hefty because violator has to repay back fees.” Motorists have 20 days after gaining employment or residency in California to register their vehicle in the Golden State, he said. “This is a common violation since many states, Oregon for example, have cheaper registration fees,” Boles said. Click the links for information about registering out-of-state or foreign vehicles with the Department of Motor Vehicles. Below are fines associated with expired registration and out of the area vehicles that must be registered in California, according to the Uniform Bail and Penalty Schedules.
  • No evidence of current registration, California Vehicle Code section 4000 (a)(1) -- A:$190 and B:$25
  • Unregistered California-based vehicle, CVC section 4000.4 (a) -– A:$108 and B:$25
  • Failure to apply for registration for a foreign vehicle, CVC section 4152.5 -– A:$108 and B:$25
Please note that each offense tacks on an extra $30 for a court security fee and $35 for a conviction assessment to the bail fines listed above.
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