Question: Can I drive this?


Original Question:

“hello i need some info on if cops can issue a ticket to me when i was driving the truck i just bought home and i got pulled over as i got in my driveway now mind you i had no proof of insurance or registration because i just bought it. i drove it one street over.  but the cop didn’t turn on his lights can he issue a ticket if his lights aren’t on. I’m a 18 year old guy that cant afford much at all i have a job but i don’t get paid much because I’m still in school and i work so a ticket is going to kill me in terms of my finances? if you know please write asap”  

thank you  – Devon

If a vehicle is going to be driven on any public roadway it must be insured and registered. It doesn’t matter if you were only driving it for a short distance. It’s best to notify your insurance company that you are buying a car before you pick it up, that way you are covered while driving it home. It’s usually only a fix-it ticket so if you can get your insurance company to give you written proof that the car was insured that day, you’d just take the new registration and proof of insurance to court and the citation would be dismissed and you’d only pay a small clerical fee. If you can not obtain proof that the car was insured that day, you’ll probably have to pay a fine. The fine amount depends on which State you live in. And yes, a police officer can stop you without turning on his lights. If you stopped before he turned on his lights he can still contact you and issue a ticket.

Mark Lambert 


All I can do is keep it real and tell you how I would handle what you have described…

If I stop someone with expired registration – I have no way of knowing that the car was just sold, so if the driver told me they had just bought it and they were driving it home, I would ask to see a bill of sale or the vehicle’s paperwork showing the guy you bought it from released ownership and liability to you on that date.

If you were able to provide that paperwork, I would more than likely cut you some slack and ask you to take the vehicle straight home and not have it on the road until you register it and get your insurance transferred over. If you did not have any paperwork to support what you were telling me, I would probably be writing a ticket for registration and insurance, and leave it up to you to show valid documents to the court.

The fact you were stopped in your driveway does not matter and is not disputable. What does matter is that at some point in time, an officer saw you driving an unregistered vehicle on the roadway. Where he or she stops you does not matter, and in this case, you stopped on your own so the officer was not required to turn on his emergency lights.

Most the time, all the judge wants to see is that you are being truthful, and responsible.

There is not allot of tolerance for people driving unlicensed, with expired registration, and no insurance, but if you have your paperwork together, you should be good to go.

What I would do – is appear in court with – your license – The vehicle’s CURRENT registration in your name – and your insurance certificate – If you showed up in court with those documents in our county, the judge would more than likely dismiss the case – or greatly reduce the fine.

Best of luck to you, and thanks for writing.

Jim Lambert
Coptalk Info


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