NJ license plates

Is there a penalty if you don't turn in your NJ license plates?

Joyce1 Joyce1
Jan '17

When I used to work at MV, we were always told that plates need to be turned in. It could come down to suspension of registration and license. Also, insurance companies can suspend you. I would turn them in...better safe then sorry.

On paper yes, in reality- no.

I was able to "turn in" plates by writing down the plate number and giving it to the clerk. I recommend keeping receipt they give you when you turn your plates in.


They can revoke your license.

Christine Christine
Jan '17

If you plan on reusing the plates in the future, they are going to hit you with all the registration fees you did not pay during the time that you kept the plates with out turning them in.

The way around that is to have your insurance company write a letter that the specific car with those plates that were registered to it was taken off the insurance policy effective whatever date that is.

Then, you can re register a car with those same plates again, without the penalty. (useful if you have personalized plates that you arent using on a vehicle, but you want to keep them for future use. )

And, always get a receipt if you turn in plates, this way if someone gets ahold of those plates and slaps them on another car and does some traffic infraction, they wont come looking for you, you will have proof you turned them into DMV.

The Rhyme Animal The Rhyme Animal
Jan '17


"If the owner doesn't return the old plates to us, we have to assume that he's still driving," Horan explained. "So we send a warning letter saying the owner has 30 days to reinstate his insurance or face license suspension. If he doesn't pay, then we suspend the license."

skippy skippy
Jan '17

Re: NJ license plates

Uh oh, I'm in trouble. ;)

Mark Mc. Mark Mc.
Jan '17

How can you suspend a drivers license based on someones car registratin/plates? Do you need a license to own and register a car?
I've never turned my any of my 5 plates in, even though I know I should.

Roywhite Roywhite
Jan '17

Actually, I'm pretty sure you do need a license and insurance in order to register a car, but I could be wrong.

ianimal ianimal
Jan '17

All three of my daughters had their own cars before they got their drivers license. They had their insurance and registration and plates. They all had their permits and the permit number was their drivers license number. They got their license, and on they went.

Ms Fishy Ms Fishy
Jan '17

There is no problem in New Jersey keeping your old plates.. NJ insurance companies do not report when there is an insurance lapse or cancelation.. Other states do especially New York and Pennsylvania.. The links for the stories that were posted don't say NJMVC.. They just say MVC... I have kept dozens of my plates and so have friends and family.. To be safe you can turn them in so there not used illegally or for your own piece of mind.. If you don't pay the new registration when it is automatically sent the registration in NJ is just canceled.. No penalties are issues.. I have worked for NJMVC.. But that's not to say they won't change that rule in the future..

Driver247 Driver247
Jan '17

My son had his license revoked on the spot for having unreturned plates.
And the thing is he did turn them in but did not have the proof with him. The officer took his license anyway. He had to then go to either Wayne or Trenton with his proof. He couldn't go to just any Motor Vehicle Office. He did it and was just given an "Oh sorry". I now carry copies of any returned plate receipts in my car.

Parental Unit Parental Unit
Jan '17

"And the thing is he did turn them in but did not have the proof with him."

Ahh... good 'ole Jersey, where the burden is on YOU to prove you are *not* criminal.

I guess if you've had a lot of cars over your lifetime you need to keep a file cabinet in all your vehicles with the old paperwork too.

Mark Mc. Mark Mc.
Jan '17

Here is one that Torques my jaw!

We sold a car, and took it off the insurance with a receipt of doing that!
My wife was near the dmv in Randolph, and went in to turn in the plates.
She was with the old plates in hand, and politely approached a man behind the counter, and asked where the section was, to turn in the plates.

He ( as if it was an effort to raise his finger to point ) ; instructed her to get in line he pointed to. She stood in line approx. 8 minutes, and when she got to her turn to speak, the guy just grabbed the plates. No eye contact; no words spoken!
No receipt !

Embryodad Embryodad
Jan '17

Totally ignorant and uncalled for embryodad. That guy was a jerk. I wish she had insisted on getting a receipt. Give him a little tweak ya know?

My son also had his license revoked for not turning in his old plates. He did turn them in but past the 30 days. It cost him $200 to restore his license, a ticket for driving with a revoked license with 3 years of surcharges. Went to court to fight it but since he was behind the 30 days they refused to help. He sold the car and got a new one and the insurance company knew that. So how does that happen?

Christine Christine
Jan '17

They are trying to prevent people from just sticking plates on a car without registration and insurance. I have always returned automobile plates but I do have some motorcycle plates from over a decade ago that must be under the radar...

This happened to me. I didn't turn in the plates. Lost them in moving. Years later I received a ticket, which was not mine. The plates probably turned up somewhere and they were used on a stolen car. It's a hassle. Turn them in, get a receipt.

Michele B Michele B
Jan '17

WOW I have a set of 1935 jersey plates and they cant have them back

Caged Animal Caged Animal
Jan '17

"This happened to me. I didn't turn in the plates. Lost them in moving. Years later I received a ticket, which was not mine. The plates probably turned up somewhere and they were used on a stolen car. It's a hassle. Turn them in, get a receipt."

not necessarily true. There were issues when they changed plate colors but duplicate lettering combinations such as ABC-123 on old yellow and ABC-123 on those ugly blue ones. I had a pick up truck with the blue plates and police tried to tell me they were registered to a 18,000 JCPL truck insinuating I stole them. We finally figured out the JCPL truck had the old yellow plates with the same lettering combo.

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