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DMV nixes 'grace period' for expired vehicle registration

Posted August 31
Updated September 1

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— Registration expiring soon? Need an inspection?

Drivers in North Carolina will need to hit the gas on urgency because the grace period for North Carolina's registration law is now a bit less forgiving.

The Division of Motor Vehicles is carrying out a change in state law that took effect July 1 and says drivers will be charged a fee if registration is not renewed by the end of the month in which it expired.

"It's another way to remind people, you know, pay attention," state Department of Transportation spokesman Steve Abbott said. "There are some cases where people let it go three or four months, and unless you got pulled over by a police officer there was no added penalty."

Previously, a driver had a 15-day grace period to renew their registration after it expired.

Now, drivers can be charged a fee for driving one day past the final day of the month in which their registration expires. Drivers will have to pay at least $15 for driving past the expiration date.

North Carolina State University student Linda Meadows says she relied on the grace period, calling the change "ridiculous."

"$15 might not be a lot, but that really is the difference, especially to a lot of people," Meadows said.

The longer drivers wait to renew, they more they'll pay in fees. If a registration has been expired for less than a month, the fee is $15. For two months, it goes up to $20. After that, the fee climbs to $25.

Abbott says the DMV hopes the fees push drivers to plan ahead.

Registration fees and property taxes can be paid online or by mail once a vehicle passes inspection. The fees can also be paid at a local DMV county license plate agency office.


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  • Erika Phipps Sep 1, 6:33 p.m.
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    We pay it too, on time like everything else because there isn't a dang choice, but the creeping increases add the heck up! This isn't whining shug, this is something that rhymes with witching! $38 registration renewal fees, title and transfer fees (even from living or dead family members), HUT, NCDL fees, insurance rate hikes for the good drivers as well as the bad ones, the high taxes on gas (which electric cars are basically punished for not needing), and the revenue incentive behind most speed limits - don't tell me autos/drivers aren't a golden goose! We pay our part, even when it's a hardship, because we don't have a choice - BUT WE SURE DON'T HAVE TO LIKE IT.

  • Dean Farmer Sep 1, 5:55 p.m.
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    Maybe a visible reminder would help. Maybe a sticker affixed to the windshield?

  • Eric Gee Sep 1, 1:38 a.m.
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    Trying to recoop lost money since#hb2 hitting the state hard like morning wood. But again 15 dollars is crazy for it period then afterwards goes up 5 dollars why not 5 dollar late fee robbing the people dry and dont have lynx or marta transit system to move crowd but dwntwn circular for free ride in city

  • Sue DeMarrais Aug 31, 10:14 p.m.
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    The problem is that the registration is tied to the inspection, and unless you drive newish cars, you stand the chance of failing the inspection on the first round. Have a 'check engine' phantom light? That will require 2 inspections and a 'related' repair, a trip to the DMV for a waiver, a wait for everyone to file the inspections & waiver electronically...and 15 days could easily pass. Not to mention that you'll need to take multiple days off work, and not all employers like that, especially if you take a whole bunch of days off at once. If you want to fine me for paying registration late, let me pay it independently of the inspection.

  • Dennis Midkiff Aug 31, 10:10 p.m.
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    If $15 is an issue, you've got bigger problems than DMV fines

  • Herman Shaw Aug 31, 9:52 p.m.
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    The tags always expired 15 days past the last day of the month they expired. This has been the case my whole driving life. I can not see changing this. Also, trying to get the monitors to run on the computers can be a problem. Sometimes, the extra time is needed

  • Charles Edwards Aug 31, 7:54 p.m.
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    Wow, there sure are a lot of whiners. Paying a penalty for late bill-paying is how normal businesses run things, why not the state? I get my renewal notice in the mail and typically I walk straight to my PC, renew via the web and Bingo! the sticker arrives in a few days. What's the big deal? Be responsible adults and pay your bills on time! Do you gripe about having to pay your credit card, water, and electric bills on time, too?

  • Erika Phipps Aug 31, 7:30 p.m.
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    Am I wrong in thinking the DMV is the the only "sure-thing" profit making state endeavor? The economy tanks, jobs dwindle, medical and fuel costs skyrocket, but the DMV fees and fines just keep going up and can't give anybody a break. And if they are NOT making a profit, then somebody's getting way overpaid. (I reckon they're still selling our addresses since they're the only entity I've ever dealt with that thinks my maiden name is my middle name, and my junk mail indicates the same.)

  • Charles Boyer Aug 31, 7:28 p.m.
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    Funny how the state government of North Carolina can send you your tax refund whenever it pleases, with no penalties. Owe them a dime and be a day late, and they're happy to fine you in bankruptcy.

    "For the people," my big toe.

  • Jeff Parrish Aug 31, 5:45 p.m.
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    No doubt I was one of the first victims of this new procedure.....one of our vehicl's registration expired April 30, but we weren't driving it due to it needing repairs. My daily driver registration expired July 31. Because I had to wait for a payday deposit, I used the NC-DMV Web site on August first (ONE day past the expiration date!) and I was hit with the $15 *penalty*! This week i renewed the April 30 registtation and even though it was three and a half months past die there was no penalty charged.....
    Hey, some of us don't always forget......sometimes it's a budget thing! Another case of being poor costing the poor more of what we don't have. Thanks Steve Abbott!