VTL 401 No Registration/Expired Registration
Written By: Benjamin Goldman, Esq.
A ticket for no-registration (VTL 401) is a frequently issued ticket. Most of the time, the no-registration comes about from a failure to renew an expired registration. The charge can come about in two ways. Police officers have scanners that ping when a passing car is driving without a registration. The more frequent situation giving rise to this ticket is where an officer stops you for a different reason or a checkpoint and discovers at the traffic stop that the car has no registration (e.g., the registration expired).
A ticket for no registration (VTL 401) should not be confused with a ticket for suspended registration (VTL 512). The latter is a criminal charge and needs to be handled with the utmost professionalism.
The charge of VTL 401 is a no point violation. It is obviously not the most serious ticket. However, unlike a parking ticket, this will appear on your New York State driving record. If it appears on your driving record, there is a strong likelihood that it will impact your insurance rates. Appearing on your driving record can also have negative impacts in other ways.
Contrary to popular belief, getting the car registered within 24 hours does not entitle you to a dismissal of the charge. This urban legend comes about due to a conflation with what is known as a “fix-it ticket”. When the motorist is ticketed for an equipment violation they are entitled to dismissal when they fix the equipment problem within the proscribed timeline. This does not apply to tickets for no registration, no inspection, and no insurance. However, getting the registration cleared up will help with your case as the judge and prosecutor will be more inclined to be lenient.
The fine you will have to pay upon conviction depends on a few factors. If you received the ticket in any of the five boroughs of New York City and the registration expired less than 60 days before the issuance of the ticket, then the total fine is $128 (reflecting a $40 fine + $88 mandatory surcharge). If you received the ticket in any of the five boroughs of New York City and the registration expired more than 60 days before the issuance of the ticket then the total fine is $163 (reflecting a $75 fine + $88 mandatory surcharge). If you received the ticket outside of New York City then the fine is up to the judge. The way it works is, you send in the guilty plea to the court, the judge determines the fine, and then mails you back a bill. For less than 60 days, the minimum is $40 and maximum is $300. For more than 60 days, the minimum is $70, and the maximum is $300. Outside of New York City, the mandatory state surcharge is $93, which will be added to all fines.
Registration issues come up in a few circumstances: purchasing a car, inheriting a car, moving to a new state, or the passage of time. The latter is the main culprit. Vehicle registrations must be renewed every two years.
In the first three scenarios, the answer is always to register the new car (or old car in a new state) with the DMV. If you are purchasing or inheriting a car, the proper transfer paperwork will be given to you at the time of transfer. There is an exception for cars made prior to 1968, where there is no title and only a bill of sale. DMV deals with these exceptions and will know what to do when you inform them. If you have recently moved to New York, you will be given a 30 day grace period in which to register.
In the last scenario, the answer is to renew the registration. If you are unsure about your registration status, make sure to visit the DMV website. The website will give you a variety of options to renew it, including by phone or through their portal. The DMV will also send you a renewal notice around 2 months before your registration expires. Even if you never receive a notice, you can check the sticker on your windshield for the renewal month. The DMV provides comprehensive information on their website: https://dmv.ny.gov/registration/how-register-vehicle
If you received a no registration ticket it is best if you try to ensure that it does not appear on your driving record. The attorneys at the Benjamin Goldman Law Office can help. We can go to court instead of you as necessary. Our firm has a long history of obtaining dismissals of such charges. Feel free to get in touch with us.