In the United States and other countries around the world, your vehicle must be inspected to ensure it is mechanically functional and all the equipment is working as it should. This is often done at an inspection station, with an official signing off to clear the vehicle of any possible shortcomings.
However, many people forget about this and they often continue driving the vehicle with an expired inspection sticker. Unfortunately, this could get you into some trouble with the law in your country or state.
Can You Get Pulled Over For Expired Inspection Sticker?
If the inspection sticker is expired, you will have about 4 months (Virginia) depending on the state you reside to have this fixed. If you don’t have this fixed, you could be issued a ticket, which constitutes a traffic infraction. The courts will often penalize this as a class 3 misdemeanor, but it might even be dismissed depending on the court.
Keep in mind that even after your first ticket is issued, each day that passes without the inspection would result in a new traffic violation, which means that tickets could quickly build up, resulting in a court date and even jail time for those that fail to comply with the laws of the state.
Why Do You Need To Have Your Vehicle Inspected?
Since accidents can often happen on the road due to mechanical failures of the vehicle, making sure your car is inspected and roadworthy will not only give you peace of mind but also give law enforcement officers peace of mind.
The inspectors are trained to diagnose possible issues that could arise when driving and they help to determine if any future issues could be possible. Many people see their car inspection as an annual way of ensuring maintenance and once any problem is detected, it can easily be fixed.
Is There Any Grace Period For An Expired Inspection?
There is often a grace period for individuals that want to have their vehicle inspected. The most common grace period would be around 24 hours, but can even be up to a month depending on the state you live in.
- Vermont: In states like Vermont, you have access to the inspection station about 2-months before your inspection is due. This gives drivers a 2-month grace period before the inspection date to ensure their vehicle fully complies with local state laws.
- Maryland: Keep in mind that in states like Maryland, vehicles are not subjected to an annual inspection and it often comes down to the driver. Vehicles are subjected to inspection when the vehicle is old or bought. Unfortunately, emissions from the vehicle should be tested every 2-years.
- Texas: While Texas used to have an inspection law that forced vehicles to be inspected each year, it is no longer the case. However, a vehicle needs to be inspected when you renew your license registration. In terms of the grace period, Texas only offers a 5-day grace period for both these registrations.
- Virginia: In the state of Virginia, the laws around inspection vary and certain people claim to have been given a 4-months grace period. However, the annual inspection should be done and you have a grace period of 15-days after expiration.
- Pennsylvania: In Pennsylvania, rules are slightly more controlled and you will need to have your vehicle inspected each year. If your inspection is expired, you have a grace period of 10-days to have it inspected or it needs to be towed to an inspection station.
- New York: In New York, you also need to have your vehicle inspected on an annual basis. The fines for failing to have it inspected could range from $25 to $100. The grace period is not stated in New York, but fines will vary depending on how long the vehicle is expired.
- North Carolina: In North Carolina, you also need to have your vehicle inspected before registration takes place. You will have a 90-day grace period in the state, but you could accrue fines if pulled over.
- Massachusetts: In Massachusetts, the laws are not as stringent and while you needed to have your vehicle inspected immediately with no grace period, this has changed due to certain inspection station closures. Now, you will have an inspection reprieve for about 60-days after the sticker expires.
- California: California often has the most traffic infringements of all the states in the US. However, they are calm and offer you a generous grace period of 2-months for an expired inspection sticker. Keep in mind that this is at the discretion of the police officer pulling you over and it is best to have your vehicle inspected ASAP.
While these are not all the states in the US, these are some of the states where people have had the most issues when it comes to vehicle registration and inspection stickers. Different states could have different laws and you will find that each vehicle could have different laws in that state. Emission inspections vary depending on the vehicle and the age.
What Are The Fines For Not Having My Vehicle Inspected?
Some courts will also dismiss the case, but you will need to pay a dismissal fee. However, in other parts, you might need to pay a direct fine, which could be as high as $100 depending on how long you have been driving with an expired inspection sticker. If you have your vehicle parked by the side of the road, traffic officials could opt to have your vehicle towed away as well.
Does Insurance Pay Out If My Inspection Is Expired?
Many people will brave the roads and try to get away with not having their vehicle inspected. However, there are some complications when it comes to this. Some insurance companies could deny your claims if you get into an accident and your inspection is not up to date. Most insurers will require that your vehicle is registered in the state you are seeking insurance. However, to have your vehicle fully insured, you will need to have an inspection done as well.
In other states, and depending on the insurance you have, they might not require you to have an inspection sticker. If you plan to miss your inspection dates, you should check with your insurer to make sure that you are not dealing with any issues when you get into an accident.
What Should You Do Once Your Inspection Sticker Is Expired?
If you have forgotten about the inspection sticker and you want to have it fixed, your best bet would be to visit an inspection station. Fortunately, the inspection process should not take up too much of your time, but you should consider booking an appointment in advance. These stations are often crowded and might make it hard for an official to assist you.
A best practice would be to make sure that you are prepared. If you notice your vehicle will expire within 1-month, you could visit the inspection station early. The inspection should be done by an official and you will have a new inspection sticker when your old one expires.
If you have missed the cut-off date, you should check the law. If you are within your grace period of the state you live in, you can drive to the inspection station to have them check the vehicle. However, some stats require that the vehicle be towed to the inspection station if it has expired. You will need to check with local authorities.
The inspection process is fast if you get an officer and they will do all the basic checks to ensure your vehicle is roadworthy. Once they have signed off, you will be ready to go for the next year. You can readily plan your inspections to make sure the vehicle is in the best operating condition.
Are Emission Inspections Mandatory?
In the US, certain vehicles that are not older than 20 years will need to undergo emission inspections. However, some vehicles are exempt from this law. With a major focus on global warming and climate change, I would recommend doing these checks as the fines could be severe. Emission inspections are also mandatory for a certain vehicle before the registration is issued.