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Expired registration tags are irritating — but the offenders likely will pay

Q. On my morning walk I see license plate tags that expired in 2020 and a few in 2019. I can see forgetting to put a registration tag on for a month or two. But I guess luck just lets the ones with tags that expired six, 12, 18 months ago avoid getting a ticket. What is the law on license plate tags and the fine if the owner gets caught?

– Mike Crane, Downey

A. One day over the expiration date and you could be cited.

When the owner is cited is solely left up to officers’ discretion.

The offender could get a fix-it ticket, requiring proof the new tag is on the vehicle by visiting a police station and paying a court fee of $25 or so, or a full-blown ticket – the odds of that increasing if the cop sees the owner has already had one or more fix-it tickets.

The California Highway Patrol’s policy recommends not citing until the tag is a month expired, and under the law, a police officer can have the vehicle towed if the tags have been expired for longer than six months.

Marcos Iniguez, an officer and spokesman for the CHP’s Santa Fe Springs station house, which patrols the freeways that cut through your town, Mike, says when that happens the owner must pay the registration fee and the impound fees, a thought that makes Honk shiver in fiscal fear.

That cat with the registration that expired in 2019? At some point he will get ticketed or want to sell the car – and to become current, the Department of Motor Vehicles will gladly demand that fees and penalties are paid for each year registration was lacking.

Covering a registration that wasn’t paid two years ago, for example, will set back the owner $200 plus 160% of the license fees.

How much green such a violator pays can vary widely, but the really bad offenders probably won’t get off lightly.

Q. Hi Honk: We were hiking in Lake Forest recently and went under the 241 toll road and saw that a bridge had obviously shifted away from the support by about a foot. Is this kind of thing expected?

– Greg Adams, Mission Viejo

A. Greg passed along a photo to Honk that shows a vertical gap next to where the roadway goes over an arroyo. That gap is at the top of the bridge, in the side where it rises above the road itself.

Honk passed the photo, a map Greg also sent over and the question to Caltrans, which provides maintenance on the toll road, and that prompted the agency to go out and check that gap.

Greg, all is well.

“The area depicted in the photo is the location of an expansion joint (that) allows the bridge to move and shift to accommodate seismic activity, and during high- and low-temperature days when it expands and contracts,” Darcy Birden, a Caltrans spokeswoman in Orange County, said in an email.

“Caltrans bridges are inspected every two years, and this location was previously inspected toward the end of 2020,” she said. “Maintenance crews did go out Thursday, April 8, and determined there is nothing alarming, or of an immediate concern.”

Honkin’ fact: The Transportation Security Administration, more commonly known as TSA, is cutting airplane passengers some slack during the pandemic. It is allowing one hand-sanitizer container of up to 12 ounces to be carried onto the aircraft per passenger until further notice; they need to be examined separately at the checkpoint. Otherwise, the limit on gels, creams, pastes, aerosols and liquids is the standard 3.4 ounces per container that must all fit in one quart-size bag. (Source: TSA)

To ask Honk questions, reach him at He only answers those that are published. To see Honk online: Twitter: @OCRegisterHonk

Source: Orange County Register

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