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I had a lapse in insurance, and when I went to renew my vehicle registration, they said that I have to serve out a suspension. What are my options?

You may want to obtain legal counsel to see if you have any options other than the normal fines and penalties that New York State hands down for what they term as driving without insurance. If your auto insurance lapses and you do not turn in your car's registration and license plates then you are found to have been an uninsured motorist and are penalized by NYS.

If your insurance coverage lapse was 90 days or less, you normally have the choice to pay a civil penalty instead of turning in your license plates to the DMV. This option can be used only once in 36 months but unfortunately does not help in your situation since your car insurance lapse was for such a long period of time.

The DMV states that you do not have the option to pay the civil penalty if the lapse of insurance is 91 days or more, a definite registration suspension has not been established, or if there is more than one suspension on your registration record. You should also be aware that if your insurance lapse was for more than 90 days your driver's license is normally also suspended, not just your car's registration.

The NYS DMV states that if the registration suspension period becomes more than 90 days, your driver license will also be suspended. The license suspension will be in effect until it is reinstated after the end of the registration suspension. To reinstate your driver license, you must pay the DMV a $25 license suspension termination fee.

Under  New York car insurance laws, if you had a lapse in your insurance coverage and did not surrender your vehicle plates immediately, your registration is suspended for the same number of days that you did not have insurance coverage, but did hold the vehicle plates thus as you mentioned this would be for 265 days. NY law requires that if the time is more than 90 days, which your lapse was and then some, your driver license is also suspended for the same number of days as the registration.

In NYS you cannot register any vehicle when a registration in your name is suspended. You must wait until the suspension ends before you can register any vehicle. So, no you could not trade in your car and then register a new one.

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles tries to stop people from going around the penalties imposed for having a lapse in insurance or driving without insurance.

As example of what the NYS DMV also does not allow as a way around the registration suspension is they will not issue a new registration for your vehicle under a different name if the DMV determines that the purpose of the new registration is to avoid the suspension.

The DMV will not issue new registration for a vehicle whose registration is suspended if the applicant for the new registration:

  • has the same last name as the registrant whose registration is suspended, or
  • resides at the same address as the registrant whose registration is suspended.

The DMV will not issue a registration to any person unless that person makes a sworn statement on form FS-2. The statement certifies that the purpose of the application in not to avoid the results from the current suspension. The local DMV Office determines if the application will be accepted or rejected.

So you cannot register another car during your suspension period and could not try to get around the law by having someone else do it for you. Since it also would appear that your license will also be suspended it would not appear to help your situation if you were able to register the car since your driving privileges will likely be suspended.

You can contact a lawyer to see if he or she can help cut a deal with NY since you have obtained and maintained auto insurance on your vehicle now for over a year.


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2 Responses to "I had a lapse in insurance, and when I went to renew my vehicle registration, they said that I have to serve out a suspension. What are my options?"
  1. Anonymous

    I'm having the same issue, but the DMV is telling me that the registration remains suspended for the number of days uninsured (with plates, in above case 265 days) but the count starts the day you hand in your plates. Is that correct? My license has already been reinstated.

  2. Anonymous

    Very informative..thank you