COLORADO, USA — It’s nearly impossible to drive anywhere without seeing cars with expired license plates or tags from out of state. If you’re one of those people, Colorado is now changing the laws to make sure you pay up.
There are so many expired license plates and tags in Denver, the city has issued 16,000 citations to cars parked on public streets since the beginning of the year. And now the penalties are increasing around the state.
"There’s a little more accountability. You actually need to register your car and do it in a timely manner," said Amanda Gonzalez, the Clerk and Recorder in Jefferson County.
Gonzalez says a new law that went into effect on March 1 will make people pay if their tags are expired or they don’t register their car quickly after moving to Colorado.
"Everyone needs to pay their fair share," Gonzalez said. "We have laws and regulations around licensing your vehicle for a reason. Those should apply equitably for everyone."
So what are the new rules?
Drivers who fail to register their vehicles in time will now be fined $25 per month, up to $100. The vehicle owner will also be charged back taxes from the date the vehicle was supposed to be registered.
New Colorado residents now have to show proof of when they moved here. If they don’t register within 90 days, they’ll be responsible for back taxes and fees.
Drivers must register their new car within 60 days of purchase.
The state DMV estimates 92,000 people move to Colorado every year and don’t register their cars.
State Representative Alex Valdez (D-Denver) sponsored the bill to change the penalties. He says the money goes to infrastructure projects.
"It’s a matter of making sure that people aren’t freeloading, which is what it is if you’re trying to not pay registration fees," Valdez said. "We needed to find a different way upon which to enforce the rules that we have."
Even though Colorado has grown dramatically recently, the state has never collected back taxes or late fees for people who moved here but never got Colorado plates. That’s now expected to bring in millions of dollars.
Most DMV branches contacted by 9NEWS said they are not currently experiencing any delays with registration. Denver said that while it usually takes around 4 weeks to get plates, it could take 4-6 weeks right now due to staffing issues.
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