It is illegal to drive a vehicle on public highways in Florida if it has expired tags, and you could be fined up to maximum 60 days in jail and $500 fine. Vehicle tags are used to identify who a vehicle belongs to and help to prevent or monitor vehicle crimes such as driving over the speed limit.
Every year, drivers must renew their registration by midnight on their birthday, or their tags will expire. If you are found driving a vehicle with expired tags in Florida, you are likely to be issued a fine, and you may receive a criminal charge as well. In some cases, people with expired vehicle tags can face jail time, so it is essential to renew tags by the required expiry date.
When someone establishes residency in Florida or is employed in Florida, they have 10 days to register their vehicle.
The registration will generally be for 12 months, and the yellow tag on the license plate will display the expiry date.
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Under Section 320.07(3)(c), Florida statutes forbid the operation of a motor vehicle with an expired tag. Any person whose vehicle tag or registration has expired for six months or less commits a traffic infraction. So also, any driver whose registration has expired for over six months commits a traffic infraction if that is the first time committing such a violation. However, anybody caught driving a vehicle whose registration or tag has expired for over six months commits a second-degree misdemeanour if the offender is committing such a violation for a second time.
A criminal charge of expired violation is punishable by up to 60 days in jail along with a fine of $500. It could also put you at the risk of getting a permanent criminal record if any criminal charges are brought against you in this regard. Don’t disregard any traffic issue, even if it seems like a minor matter because if you consistently disregard it, it could escalate into a crime that might be bigger than you could handle.
If the expiry date was in the last six months, the driver would generally receive a noncriminal traffic infraction. They will typically be issued with a fine of up to $100, in addition to late fees and renewal fees that must also be paid. If there has been a traffic violation, the fine could be higher than the $100 that is usually issued for expired tags.
Tags that have been expired for longer than six months face large penalties. The Florida Statute § 320.07(3)(c) states:
“Any person whose motor vehicle or mobile home registration has been expired for a period of 6 months or less commits a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a non-moving violation as provided in chapter 318. However, a law enforcement officer may not issue a citation for a violation under this paragraph until midnight on the last day of the owner’s birth month of the year the registration expires.”
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Driving with tags that have been expired for over six months is a second-degree misdemeanour which is punishable by:
Once your vehicle registration has expired, you need to renew it with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FDHSMV). You can choose to do this in person or via verified online platforms like Swifttags.
However, to renew your registration online, the system must be able to verify your vehicle’s insurance. This means your liability policy must be up to date. Else, you will have to do it in person at your local FDHSMV office. Going to your local FDHSMV is not an option you want to consider, especially if you can use easier and faster alternatives like renewing it online.
If you use the Swiftags online system to renew your registration, you will get your new vehicle registration in seven to ten business days. But you can request a receipt that will be sent to your mail. You can use this receipt while you wait for your registration to arrive.