What's up with the car lot tags? - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

What's up with the temporary car lot tags?

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Across the area, it's pretty easy to find a car or truck that has no license plate, or a piece of paper that says "tag applied for", or a piece of paper that simply shows where the car was purchased.

One of our Focus@4 Facebook friends wants to know why these vehicles aren't pulled over. Jimmy Pope wrote, "What about all the people driving with car lot tags!" They are illegal. My neighbor has been driving around with one for nine months."

The critical part is the registration. In the state of Alabama, you have twenty calendar days from the day you purchase or acquire your vehicle to get it registered with the Alabama Department of Revenue. As far as enforcing rules on license plates, a spokesperson with the Department of Revenue says that is out of their hands.

And that is where it gets a little tricky. Many people do not know the law, and think they have a longer grace period than they actually do to keep their car lot tags.

A spokesperson with the division says a license plate will be issued immediately after fees and taxes are collected. So if the plates are issued on the spot, why are so many people driving around like this without plates?

One reason could be the driver may still be within the twenty-day grace period to register the car. Another reason could be the driver  may have requested a personalized plate, which can take longer to process. But if a driver does not fall under either of those categories, then he is simply in violation of the law.

And that's where law enforcement steps in. Bessemer Police Sergeant Evans Reed says a patrol officer needs no other reason to pull over a driver.

"It can be the primary reason if you don't have proper tag displayed on that vehicle. Yes we can stop you," said Reed.

If you are stopped keep this in mind.

"You will have paper work that goes along with that vehicle and it will show the date of purchase. From the time you buy that vehicle you have twenty days. So as long as you have the proper documents to go along with that vehicle you will be fine. But if not, you will be cited."

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