Jacksonville Expired Tag / Expired Registration Defense Attorney
Under Florida law, it is a criminal offense and second degree misdemeanor to operate
a motor vehicle with a tag / registration that has been expired for more than six
months, if such person has committed a prior offense. If you have been criminally
charged with Expired Tag / Registration of More Than Six Months, contact our Jacksonville
criminal attorney for a free consultation.
You should NEVER plead to a criminal charge of expired tag or registration without
first speaking to a qualified criminal defense attorney. These charges are easily
fought and, with an attorney making proper evidentiary objections, a judgment of
acquittal is usually possible. Unfortunately, most people accused of expired tag/registration
choose to represent themselves. In doing so, they plead to the charge (usually with
a withhold of adjudication) and acquire criminal records unnecessarily. And yes,
a withhold of adjudication DOES result in a criminal record.
Background: Motor Vehicle Tag / Registration Requirements in Florida
In Jacksonville, 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 Florida insurance to the local county tax
collector or license plate agency. The yellow tag issued by the Jacksonville 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 owners
birth month (company owned vehicles use the month of June).
Under Section 320.07(1) of the Florida Statutes, the registration period expires
at midnight on the last day of the registration period. The Florida 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
Can an Expired Tag / Registration Result in Criminal Charges in Florida?
Yes. Under Section 320.07(3)(c), Florida Statutes, any person whose motor vehicle
tag or registration in Jacksonville has been expired for more than six (6) months
commits a second degree misdemeanor (punishable by up to sixty days jail) if it is
the registrant’s second such violation. Under the current statute, a failure to register
(expired tag) will criminalize you, result in a criminal record, and can result in
a substantial jail sentence.
Are There Defenses to Expired Tag or Registration in Florida?
Yes. Theoretically speaking, it should be easy for a Jacksonville 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 in Jacksonville do not properly prepare for these types
of cases. They assume (wrongly) 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 Florida until you speak with
If you have been accused of expired registration (more than six months) or expired
tag (more than six months) in Jacksonville, consult with an experienced Jacksonville
Criminal Attorney before resolving your case. We offer free consultations to all