When a person's registration is suspended it means the state has basically taken away their right to place the vehicle on the road until the registration is reinstated and once again valid.

States all require you to register your car in order to obtain license plates and drive legally. In many states you need to have valid registration and plates to even park a car in a public area such as the street in front of your house. When you fail to pay your registration fees your registration is no longer valid for a vehicle and thus driving it would be illegal.

Also if your commit certain offenses a state can suspend or even revoke or cancel your car's registration. State laws vary so you would have to contact your state's Department of Motor Vehicles to find out for what reasons your state will suspend someone's registration. A couple of reasons that many states suspend registration is if you are caught driving without insurance or without a license.

For example in if you had a lapse in your insurance coverage in New York State you are required to turn in your registration and license tags. If you do 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. If the time is more than 90 days, your driver license is also suspended for the same number of days as the registration.

When your registration is suspended, neither you nor anyone else can drive the car. You cannot try and sell it anyone related to you either since most states will find that you are trying to get around the registration suspension and deny a relative the right to register the car.

For instance the NYS DMV states that they will not issue a new registration if the DMV determines that the purpose of the new registration is to avoid a suspension. The NYS DMV will not issue a registration 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.

If your registration is suspended it is illegal for you to drive the vehicle associated with the suspension. Valid registration or plates is required by states in order for your car to be allowed to operate on public roadways. A state suspending your registration is a way to keep your vehicle off the road for a certain amount of time; typically this is a penalty after you have committed what the state views as a serious offense.

If you do not have insurance most states will suspend your registration meaning you cannot legally drive your vehicle. The penalty for driving with suspended registration will vary by state but likely would be a fine and/or imprisonment and perhaps also suspension of your driver's license.

So when your registration is suspended you normally have to turn into the state your registration and license plates so that you are more apt to not drive the car without plates since this would be very easy for police to spot and catch you for driving with your registration suspended. Having your registration suspended does not stop you from being able to drive other vehicles that have valid registration on them unless you were also penalized by the state for your offense by having your driver's license suspended.

If your license and registration are suspended than the state is trying to keep you from driving for a certain period of time as a penalty for some offense, such as driving without a license or driving without insurance. To find out more about how the registration suspensions apply in your state and what must be done (license plates turned in, etc) contact your local DMV.