To operate a vehicle legally on Utah’s roads and highways, you must carry a valid vehicle registration. Driving with an expired registration in Utah could mean a license suspension and other penalties. If you or a family member was charged with driving without a valid registration, you should speak with an experienced Salt Lake City traffic ticket lawyer today. Darwin Overson has handled various types of traffic offense cases in Salt Lake City and across Utah. Darwin understands the weight some traffic violations carry and is prepared to fight for you. Overson Law explains whether you can be arrested for driving with an expired registration in Utah.
Utah Registration Laws
Utah law makes it illegal to operate a nearly any motor vehicle without valid registration. Utah’s Motor Vehicles Traffic Code § 41-1a-201 also states that another person cannot be given permission to operate vehicle without a valid registration.
There are exceptions to Utah’s registration law. For example, vehicles that are already registered in another state and owned by a nonresident are exempt from this law. Additionally, if you are driving a vehicle across Utah’s highways to move from one property to another, you will be exempt from this law. There are also several other scenarios where you may not have to comply with Utah’s registration laws. To learn more about these exceptions, you should contact an experienced traffic lawyer.
Penalties for Violating Utah’s Registration Laws
Utah’s offense for driving with an expired registration is an “infraction.” An infraction is a minor offense, like a traffic violation or disorderly conduct offense. Despite this, you can still be arrested for an expired registration in Utah. The penalty for an infraction is usually fines of up to $750.
A traffic ticket, also known as a citation, is law enforcement charges you for an expired registration. You can fight citations in court or try to reach an agreement with the prosecuting attorney or police offer to drop the charges.
If you do go to trial, you should bring as much evidence as possible to prove your case. You are allowed to call witnesses willing to testify on your behalf. However, the prosecution can also present witnesses. Additionally, the officer who cited you will likely testify and explain how they pulled you over and that your registration was expired during the traffic stop. You should consider hiring an experienced lawyer who can challenge the legality of the traffic stop and other facets of the case.
To pay the fines, you may be able to do “compensatory service” to satisfy the fine given with an infraction. Compensatory service is community service work that can be completed instead of paying a criminal fine. For each hour of compensatory service completed, you will receive $10 towards your fine. Once it is approved, you have the options of completing compensatory service for various court-approved organizations:
- State or local government agencies
- Nonprofit organizations
- Another entity authorized by the court
While a registration violation is only an infraction, if you commit other offenses with an expired registration you may face more severe penalties. For example, driving under the influence with an expired registration could result in being charged with a class A or B misdemeanor. The officer can also use your expired registration as an excuse to pull you over to investigate the DUI, which can increase your chances of being charged with DUI in the first place. Class A or B misdemeanors include jail time and steep fines as penalties. You can also have your license suspended for a drunk driving offense.
Factors to Reduce Charges and Penalties for Utah Traffic Offenses
You may only receive an infraction for an expired registration, but there are some mitigating factors that can affect your expired registration offense. For example, if you were “exceptionally cooperative” with law enforcement regarding the infraction, your penalty may become even less severe.
Individuals with developmental disabilities or who are candidates for treatment may also have their offense reduced. While an infraction may not always apply to these circumstances, there are other traffic offenses like DUI that can be mitigated. There may also be aggravating factors that may result in you facing higher penalties.
Salt Lake City Criminal Defense Attorneys Will Handle Your Expired Registration Case
If you or a family member was cited for an expired registration, you should consult with an experienced Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer. With over 16 years of criminal law experience, Darwin Overson can help you dispute your expired registration case. Darwin provides aggressive legal representation to clients who cannot afford to have demerit points on their license or have their license suspended. To schedule a free consultation with Overson & Bugden, contact us at (801) 758-2287. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.