Definition and Penalties for Expired Tag
Under Section 320.07(3)(c), Washington DC Statutes, any person whose motor vehicle tag or registration has been expired for more than six (6) months commits a second degree misdemeanor (punishable by up to 60 days jail), if it is the registrant’s second such violation. Under the current statute, a failure to register (expired tag) will cause criminal charges to be brought and place you at risk of acquiring a permanent criminal record.
Defenses to Expired Tag or Registration
Numerous defenses exist under Washington DC law to contest a charge of Expired Tag or Registration. Theoretically speaking, it should be easy for a misdemeanor prosecutor to establish that a qualifying vehicle (with a particular VIN number) was not properly registered with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. It often occurs, however, that prosecutors lack the experience to properly prepare for these types of cases. They incorrectly assume that the charge can be proven at trial by simply presenting the testimony of a police officer, who will invariably allege that he or she checked his or her FCIC/NCIC database on his/her in-car computer and found that the subject vehicle was not properly registered (or had an expired tag).
If proper evidentiary objections are made, it is usually possible to have expired tag or registration charge dropped or dismissed at trial. For this reason, you should NOT plead to a charge of expired tag / registration in Washington DC until you speak with an attorney.
Motor Vehicle Tag / Registration Requirements
In Washington DC, a motor vehicle is required by law to be registered within ten days of the owner either becoming employed, placing children in public school, or establishing residency. Registering your motor vehicle goes hand in hand with the titling process. The registration of a vehicle is typically done in person, and requires the registrant to submit the original title and proof of Washington DC insurance to the local county tax collector or license plate agency. The yellow tag issued by the tax collector and placed on one’s license plate will then serve as proof that the registration fees (taxes) have been paid. The registration period for a vehicle (as displayed on the license tag) is usually twelve months and begins the first day of the owner’s birth month (company owned vehicles use the month of June).
Under Section 320.07(1) of the Washington DC Statutes, the registration period expires at midnight on the last day of the registration period. The Washington DC Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DMV) has interpreted this to mean that registrations (issued in the name of an individual) expire at midnight on the day of the individual’s birth date.
If you have been accused of expired registration (more than six months) or expired tag (more than six months) in Palm Beach or surrounding counties in Southeast Washington DC, consult with an experienced Washington DC Criminal Defense Lawyer before resolving your case. We offer free consultations to all prospective clients.