Are you a Florida resident? Have you recently relocated to the “Sunshine State”? If you plan to drive on state roads, you must have a valid Florida car registration.
All Florida residents are required to register their vehicles with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
A vehicle’s registration period in Florida is usually twelve months (it can also be two years, depending on which registration period you select). It starts on the first of the month of the owner’s birth.
But what about the grace period? When does it start, and is there a Florida expired tag grace period? This article will go over all of the specifics of this subject.
Grace Period for Expired Tags in Florida
Some states allow a certain amount of time to pass after a vehicle’s registration has expired without any penalties or legal ramifications. That period is known as the grace period.
In other words, it is a period immediately following a registration renewal deadline during which late fees are waived.
There will be no penalty or legal consequences for expired tags if payment is made before the end of this timeframe.
Otherwise, continuing to drive is a criminal offense. Additionally, criminal charges are likely if a vehicle owner fails to register their vehicle regularly.
Is There a Grace Period in Florida For Expired Tags?
Sadly, there isn’t. Operating a motor vehicle with a lapsed registration violates Florida law. Vehicles must be registered to drive on Florida roads. Vehicle owners in Florida can renew their registration up to three months before it expires.
Criminal charges are likely if the owner fails to register their vehicle regularly. The legal consequences vary depending on the time since the registration expired.
Let’s look at what happens when you drive with tags less than six months old or a registration more than six months old:
What if Your Registration Was Only Valid For Six Months?
Driving a motor vehicle after the registration has expired for less than six months is not a criminal offense (it is considered a noncriminal traffic infraction).
What Happens If Your Registration Is Over Six Months Old?
If the vehicle registration has expired for six months or more, it becomes a crime punishable by harsh laws.
If the vehicle registration is leased for over six months, the following can occur:
- If this happens to you for the first time, 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 two points being added to your Florida driver’s license, and you may get a fine of up to $500 or need to attend traffic school.
- A second or subsequent offense is classified as a second-degree felony, punishable by a $500 fine and/or up to 60 days in prison.
To avoid additional penalties and criminal charges, follow Florida statutes and renew your vehicle’s registration on time.
What Happens If You Are Charged With a Fine?
You’ll have to go to court to defend yourself in this case. The officer will issue you a ticket on the spot and submit a copy to the court clerk to begin criminal prosecution.
Following that, you will be mailed a Notice of Hearing for arraignment from the clerk’s office.
Next, you may be called to a series of hearings to examine the evidence, weigh the plea deal, and decide how to proceed.
Finally, you must choose between two options: settling the case without a trial or forcing the prosecution to prove their case against you.
As you can see, dealing with an expired registration charge is complex and time-consuming. It’s a much smarter move to avoid it altogether by registering your vehicle on time.
Online Renewal of Expired Vehicle Tags in Florida
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles offers online registration renewal through its official website. Another option is to do this online through a reputable registration renewal service provider.
Swift tags allow you to renew your vehicle registration online without stress. The process is simple, and customer service is excellent if you require assistance. When you finish the registration process, you will receive a digital copy of the vehicle registration in the mail.