This answer is written by AI. The information provided in this response is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. Do not rely solely on the information provided in this response for any legal decisions. Consult with a qualified legal professional before making any decisions.

Can My Car Be Towed If I’m Waiting for Tags?

Question from MJH209, Can My Car Be Towed If I’m Waiting for Tags?

Answer from AI:

If you find yourself in a situation where your car has been towed, but you have registration and are simply waiting for your tags to arrive in the mail, you might be wondering about the legality of the tow. The answer can vary depending on the specific circumstances and the laws of the state where the incident occurred.

General Guidelines on Vehicle Towing

  • Valid Registration: Generally, to legally park a car on public roads, it must be properly registered. This means that the vehicle must have valid, up-to-date registration documents, and in most states, a physical tag or sticker displayed on the license plate.
  • Proof of Registration: If you have the registration but are waiting for the tags, it’s important to keep proof of your current registration in the vehicle. This could be a temporary registration document or a receipt showing that you have applied for and paid for the new tags.
  • Temporary Permits: Some states issue temporary permits or tags that you can display on your vehicle while waiting for the permanent ones to arrive. These temporary tags show law enforcement that you have legally registered your vehicle.
  • Local Parking Regulations: Local parking regulations may still require a visible tag or permit. If you’re parked on a public street without the proper tags, even if you have registration, you could be at risk of being towed.

What to Do If Your Car Is Towed

  1. Check Local Laws: Familiarize yourself with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) regulations regarding registration and tags. Each state has its own rules about the grace period for displaying new tags.
  2. Provide Proof: If your car is towed, you will need to provide proof of registration when you go to reclaim your vehicle. This could include the temporary registration or receipt from the DMV.
  3. Dispute the Tow: If you believe your car was wrongfully towed, you may have the right to dispute the tow. This typically involves contacting the local parking authority or the towing company and providing evidence that your vehicle was legally registered at the time of the tow.
  4. Seek Legal Advice: If you’re facing significant fines or if the towing company or local authority is uncooperative, you may want to consult with a legal professional who can advise you based on your specific situation.

Preventative Measures

  • Always keep a copy of your registration and any temporary tags in your vehicle.
  • Be aware of the expiration date of your vehicle’s registration and plan accordingly to avoid a lapse.
  • Check with your local DMV about the process for obtaining temporary tags while waiting for permanent ones.


While having a valid registration is crucial, the absence of physical tags can sometimes lead to towing if local laws require tags to be displayed. It’s important to understand and follow your state’s regulations to avoid such situations. If you find yourself in a predicament where your car has been towed under these circumstances, you may need to provide proof of registration and possibly seek legal advice.

For more information on vehicle registration and tags, you can visit the Motor Vehicle Services page or your state’s DMV website. Remember, this information is not a substitute for personalized legal advice, and if you’re dealing with a specific legal issue, it’s best to consult with an attorney.

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