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CHP: Out-Of-State Plates for CA Residents a No-No

By: Kristi Kenyon July 27, 2017
You may want to think twice about keeping out-of-state plates on a car in California.
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Driving around California, you may notice a lot of out-of-state license plates on the roads. And now, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) is asking residents to report if they frequently notice the same vehicle displaying an out-of-state plate. Why? Because it’s most likely another resident who has unlawfully registered their vehicle or is still registered in another state or country.

This practice costs California millions each year in revenue. While CHP and other law enforcement agencies try to reinforce the 20-day window registration requirement, enforcement is just one of their many public service duties.

Consequently, the CHP has developed a program called CHEATERSCalifornians Help Eliminate All of the Evasive Registration Scofflaws—that encourages Californians to help their state and local law enforcement combat illegal out-of-state registrations.

With CHEATERS, reporting these cases is simple. Drivers fill out an online form and provide the:

  • State or province of the plate in question.
    • If it is a Mexican plate, they will need the driver’s physical address.
  • License plate number.
  • Make, model, and color of the vehicle.
  • Date and time the vehicle was observed.
  • Location where it was observed (including street and city).
  • Additional comments or details to help identify the vehicle (such as bumper stickers or decals).

The CHP warns participants not to confront the driver or write out a report while you’re driving.

“Just write down the information and get it to us, we will take it from there,” said California Highway Patrol Officer David Singer.

Not all California residents with out-of-state plates are intentionally avoiding registering with the DMV, according to the CHEATERS website. Some may simply be unaware of the state’s regulations, and some may fall under the state’s exceptions for military members who claim residency in another state.  

If you’ve recently moved to California and think you may be in violation, you may still have time to correct it. You can find more information on timelines and DMV requirements on our CA registration guide.

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