When Does the Grace Period Begin for Expired Tags in Florida?

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In the state of Florida, the registration period for a vehicle is usually twelve months (it can be 2 years as well, depending on which registration period you select). It begins on the first day of the owner’s birth month. When it comes to company-owned vehicles, the month of June is used as the beginning of the registration period.

But what about the grace period in Florida? When does it begin, or better yet - is there a grace period for expired tags in Florida? In this article, we’ll cover all the details related to this topic. First, let’s take a look at what is considered a grace period for expired tags.

Grace Period for Expired Tags Florida: The Definition

Some states allow for a certain amount of time to elapse after the vehicle registration has expired without any penalties or legal issues. That period of time is known as the grace period. In other words, it is an extended period of time right after a registration renewal deadline when late fines are waived.

As long as the payment is made before the end of this timeframe, there will be no penalty or any legal consequences for expired tags.

Otherwise, it’s a criminal offense to continue driving. Also, criminal charges are likely if an owner repeatedly foregoes their vehicle registration.

So, Is There a Grace Period for Expired Tags in Florida?

No, there is no grace period for expired tags in Florida. According to Florida statutes, operating a motor vehicle with an expired registration is prohibited. To drive on Florida roads, vehicles must have valid registration. Vehicle owners are required to renew their vehicle registration in this state as soon as it expires.

Otherwise, they are committing a noncriminal traffic violation or a second-degree felony, depending on the amount of time that elapsed after the deadline for the registration renewal.

Also, criminal charges are likely if the owner repeatedly foregoes their vehicle registration.

It is important to note that vehicle owners in Florida may renew their registration up to three months in advance of its expiration.

What Happens When You Drive with Expired Tags in Florida?

All drivers in Florida must have valid insurance and valid registration at all times. Driving a car after registration has expired is illegal. Drivers in Florida who continue to operate vehicles with expired tags are subject to fines and further sanctions. In such cases, the driver may incur a penalty, but if it is a second offense, it becomes a second-degree misdemeanor and carries a harsher punishment.

Also, if a car owner frequently fails to register their vehicle, criminal charges and criminal penalties are also possible.

The legal consequences differ depending on the amount of time that has elapsed after the registration has expired. Let’s take a look at what happens when you drive with tags that have expired for less than 6 months, or with a registration that has expired for more than 6 months.

What If Your Registration Expired for Fewer Than Six Months?

If the registration has expired fewer than six months, driving a motor vehicle in such a case is not a criminal offense (it is considered a noncriminal traffic infraction).

Registration Expired for Over Six Months: What's the Penalty?

If the vehicle registration has expired for 6 months or more, it turns into a crime and is punishable by strict laws.

Here is what can happen if the vehicle registration has been expired more than 6 months ago:

  • The first time this situation happens to you, the consequences are as follows: you must appear in court for a first offense, which is a noncriminal traffic violation. The offense will result in 2 points being added to your Florida license, and the court may impose a penalty of up to $500 or attending a traffic school.
  • A second or subsequent offense is considered a second-degree felony, which carries a $500 fine and/or a prison sentence of up to 60 days.

To avoid any further penalties and criminal charges, make sure to comply with Florida statutes and renew the registration of your motor vehicle on time.

What Happens if You Are Charged Criminally With Expired Registration?

In this case, you must appear in court to defend yourself. The police officer will give you a ticket on the spot, and they will also submit a copy of it to the court clerk in order to start a criminal prosecution. After that, you will receive a Notice of Hearing for arraignment (formal reading of the charges) via mail - it is sent from the clerk’s office.

After arraignment, you may participate in a number of hearings that include examining the evidence, weighing the plea deal, and making the decision on how to proceed. In the end, you will have to choose between two options: concluding the case without a trial or alternatively, making the prosecution prove their case against you.

As you can see, an expired registration charge is a complex and time-consuming process.

More Information About Motor Vehicle Registration in Florida

The registration period ends at midnight on the final day of the registration period. According to this subsection's provisions, registration must be renewed every six months, a year, or every two years during the applicable renewal period. To do so, the appropriate payments must be made. However, please note that the cost of renewing your vehicle’s registration depends on a number of factors like the vehicle type, its weight, the length of renewal (one or two years), additional county-related fees, and lease fees if they apply.

When Does the Motor Vehicle's License Plate Expire?

In the state of Florida, a license plate must be replaced every 10 years. On the tenth year of renewal, a new license plate is issued.

Renew Your Expired Vehicle Tags in Florida Online

Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLDHSMV) allows registration renewal to be done online through their official website. It can also be carried out via MyFlorida mobile app. Another alternative is to complete this process online through a reputable registration renewal service provider.

With Swift-tags, you can complete your vehicle registration renewal online stress-free. The process is easy, and the customer support in case you need any help is excellent. Once you complete the registration process, you will get a digital copy of the vehicle registration directly to your mail.

Expired Tags in Florida: The Takeaway

  • There is NO grace period in Florida.
  • The registration period for a vehicle begins on the first day of the owner’s birth month and lasts for 12 or 24 months.
  • Set some type of reminder to be sure you know when you are due to renew your registration to avoid any unwanted stress or financial (and potentially legal) consequences.
  • Don't wait until the last minute to renew your registration.
  • Keep in mind that you can extend your registration for another year or two.
  • Always ensure that your vehicle registration is current and displayed properly.

FAQs

How long can you drive on an expired tag in Florida?

In Florida, driving a car with an expired registration is prohibited. In other words, you are not allowed to drive after your vehicle’s registration has expired.

Does Florida have a 30-day grace period for car registration?

No, Florida doesn’t have a 30-day grace period for car registration, or any amount of grace period at all. When the registration expires, it is prohibited to operate a vehicle on Florida roads because there is no grace period allowed.

What happens if you drive with an expired tag in Florida?

If you drive a motor vehicle with a tag that expired less than 6 months ago, you have committed a noncriminal traffic infraction. But if your tag has expired more than 6 months ago, the penalty becomes more severe - you could end up in jail and paying a $500 fine.

Can I get pulled over for expired tags?

Yes, a police officer can pull you over for expired tags, so make sure to renew them on time and always have a valid registration.

Can you go to jail for expired tags?

If it's your second or additional offense, then driving with expired tags is considered a second-degree felony, for which you can be sentenced to up to 60 days in jail.


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