State laws vary so to find out about your state's specific laws on driving a car that is listed with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) as a non-operational vehicle check with your DMV.
Likely you will have to get a permit to drive it to the DMV or pay your fees before driving it or else you could get ticketed. While you may just be driving it to your local DMV to re-register it there is the possibility that you could get pulled over for no current registration and it would be hard to prove to the police that you were headed straight for the DMV and had not been driving around in the car that is listed with the state as not being in operation.
As one example of state laws, California allows car owners to list a car under what is termed a planned non-operational (PNO) status. To obtain PNO status you must file form REG 102 (certificate of non-operation). The CA DMV notes that if at any time the vehicle is operated or parked where it may be subject to citation, then full registration fees and penalties for that year become due. And the certificate of non-operation form in fact states that when there is a change in operation status appropriate renewal fees must be paid prior to operation.
However once you file the REG 102, you may obtain a no-fee, special moving permit at any CA DMV office and, without paying renewal fees, move the vehicle from its current storage place to a new storage location for repairs, alteration, vehicle inspection, smog inspection, weighing construction (for an incomplete vehicle), or for its permanent wrecking or dismantling. Permits are valid for one day only, and the date is printed on the permit.
So it would appear if you need to drive your vehicle to the DMV to register it and get a vehicle inspection for registration purposes you would first need to obtain this special moving permit, if you live in California. If you live in a different state there may be a similar way in which you get permission basically to drive your vehicle to the DMV and get it registered again. Contact your local DMV then to find out what the correct method is to get your vehicle registered again as operational without illegally driving it to the DMV.
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