Having expired license plate tabs in Michigan can lead to getting a ticket, which often comes with a fine. The cost of a ticket for expired tabs depends on how long the tabs have been expired. Knowing the fines for expired tabs in Michigan can help drivers avoid getting an expensive ticket.
Registration Tab Renewal in Michigan
In Michigan, vehicles must be registered annually and license plate tabs must be renewed each year. Registration tabs show the month and year that the registration expires. Drivers are required to renew their registration tabs each year before they expire.
To renew registration tabs in Michigan, drivers must pay the renewal fee. This fee is based on the vehicle type and weight. Fees typically range from $100-$200 per year for a standard passenger vehicle registration renewal. The Secretary of State mails out renewal reminders about a month before the registration expires.
Consequences of Driving With Expired Tabs in Michigan
It is illegal to drive with expired license plate tabs in Michigan. If a driver is caught operating a vehicle with expired registration, they can face the following consequences:
- Get a ticket – Expired registration tabs can lead to civil infraction tickets with expensive fines. The cost of the ticket depends on how long the registration has been expired.
- Pay late fees – In addition to ticket fines, drivers will have to pay late registration renewal fees.
- Get pulled over – Police can pull over vehicles with expired tabs and issue citations. This can lead to further penalties if the driver has other violations.
- Car impound – If pulled over, vehicles with expired registration over 180 days past due may be impounded until valid registration is obtained.
Tickets for Expired Tabs up to 3 Months
If a vehicle’s registration tabs have been expired for less than 3 months in Michigan, the civil infraction ticket fine is $10.
In addition to the $10 ticket, drivers will need to pay the standard registration renewal fee to get their tabs up to date. This renewal fee is typically $100-$200 depending on the vehicle.
Police have discretion when issuing expired tab tickets for registrations expired less than 3 months. Sometimes a verbal warning may be issued instead of a ticket. However, officers can choose to issue the $10 ticket.
Tickets for Expired Tabs 3-6 Months
The ticket fine increases for Michigan registrations that have been expired for 3-6 months. The civil infraction ticket fine is $20 if tabs have been expired for 3-6 months.
Drivers will also need to pay the late registration renewal fee, which is an additional $10 late fee plus the normal registration cost. So with the $20 ticket, this penalty can cost $120-$220 for a standard vehicle to get back up to date.
Tickets for Expired Tabs Over 6 Months
The ticket fine increases again once tabs have been expired for over 6 months in Michigan. If a vehicle’s tabs have been expired for more than 6 months, the civil infraction ticket is $30.
In addition to the $30 ticket, drivers must also pay:
- $10 late fee
- Standard registration renewal fee (typically $100-$200)
- Additional $10 late fee for months 7-12 of expired tabs
- Additional $20 late fee for each subsequent year expired
So for example, if a vehicle’s tabs have been expired for 1 year, the total fines and fees would be:
- $30 ticket
- $10 late fee
- $100 renewal fee (estimated)
- $10 late fee months 7-12
- $20 late fee for second year expired
- Total = $170
As you can see, the costs add up quickly if expired for over 6 months. Police tend to strictly enforce ticketing once a vehicle has been unregistered for more than 6 months.
Registration Tickets Over 180 Days Expired
In Michigan, vehicles driven with registration expired over 180 days (6 months) past the expiration date can be impounded. Police have the discretion to immediately impound any vehicle driven on public roads that has been unregistered for more than 180 days.
In addition to the civil infraction ticket fines and late registration fees, the vehicle owner will be responsible for paying towing and impound fees which easily can total over $1,000.
Other Consequences of Expired Tabs
In addition to tickets and fines, driving with expired license plate tabs in Michigan can lead to other problems and expenses:
- Insurance issues – Insurance coverage may become invalid if registration lapses, leaving driver uninsured
- Title issues – The state may place a hold on the vehicle title transfer if expired over 180 days
- Legal issues – Tickets can lead to suspension of driver’s license if unpaid and sent to court for failure to comply
How to Renew Expired Tabs in Michigan
If your license plate tabs have expired, here are some steps to get your registration renewed:
- Pay late fees – First pay any late registration fees that have accrued
- Submit renewal application – Fill out and submit the vehicle registration renewal application along with late fees
- Obtain new tab stickers – You will receive your new registration tab stickers in the mail to affix to license plate
- Fix insurance and title issues – Contact your insurance company and the Secretary of State if registration lapse caused problems
Going forward, be sure to renew your vehicle registration on time annually before the expiration date. Set a reminder to renew your tabs to avoid costly tickets and headaches in the future.
Avoiding Expired Registration Tickets
Some tips to avoid getting a ticket for expired tabs in Michigan include:
- Renew annually – Mark your renewal date and renew your registration before it expires
- Update address – Make sure your address is current with the Secretary of State to receive reminders
- Follow late notices – Respond promptly if you receive late registration notices
- Check tabs often – Get in the habit of checking your tabs when fueling up to ensure they are current
Disputing Expired Registration Tickets
There are a few options for disputing an expired registration ticket in Michigan:
- Appear in traffic court to contest the ticket
- Submit a written explanation and request the ticket be dismissed
- Claim financial hardship and request fine reductions
- Request community service in lieu of paying ticket fines
However, it can be very difficult to successfully dispute these tickets unless there are clear mitigating circumstances. The best policy is to proactively renew registrations annually and on time.
What to Do if You Get a Ticket for Expired Tabs
If you do receive a ticket for expired registration tabs:
- Resolve the expired registration issue by promptly renewing and getting new tabs
- Pay ticket fines or request mitigation options within time limits
- Contact court on the ticket if you plan to dispute the citation
- Maintain proper insurance coverage throughout process
Ignoring a ticket for expired tabs can lead to much more severe consequences. Be proactive and responsible to avoid further legal and financial issues.
- Tickets for expired tabs in Michigan range from $10-$30 depending on how long registration has been expired
- Additional late fees apply on top of ticket fines
- Vehicles can be impounded if tabs are expired more than 180 days
- Renew registration annually before expiration to avoid tickets
- Notify the Secretary of State of any address changes to receive reminders
- Contest expired tab tickets promptly if disputing citation
Driving with expired license plate tabs in Michigan can lead to expensive tickets, so it is important to renew your registration on time annually. Allowing your registration to lapse can result in fines over $100 very quickly. Stay vigilant about renewing your tabs and checking their expiration date to avoid a costly ticket from police.
|Length of Time Expired||Ticket Fine||Additional Fees*||Total Estimated Fees|
|Less than 3 months||$10||$100 registration renewal||$110|
|3-6 months||$20||$110 with $10 late fee||$120-$220|
|Over 6 months||$30||$170 with additional late fees||$200+|
*Additional fees include registration renewal, late fees, and other costs such as towing if impounded. Estimated amounts for a standard passenger vehicle.
Avoid the hassle and expense of an expired registration ticket in Michigan by renewing your tabs annually. While the base ticket fines may seem small, the accompanying late fees and other consequences can quickly add up resulting in hundreds of dollars in penalties and complications. Stay on top of your vehicle registration status to steer clear of tickets from law enforcement.