I just moved from one state to a bordering state. I had bought license plate tabs for 2020 in the original state. I had yet to apply the tabs to my original state plates, so they are unused. I just received a new license, plates, title and registration in the new state, and, thus, obtained new 2020 license plate tabs for the new state.

My friend from the original state wants to buy my original state license plate tabs to use on their plate.

I understand that this may be illegal due to the tabs being registered to my vehicle; but, feasibly, how much trouble could this cause my friend if he were to buy my tabs off of me? I imagine the tabs are not highly regulated and the officer would not check the tab numbers to assure registration with the applied vehicle.

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    – isakbob
    Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 21:25

3 Answers 3


Your friend can get into a lot of trouble for this. Those stickers were given to you for renewing your registration. The stickers are meant to be a quick way for police to tell whether your license plates are still valid, but applying them does not make the plates valid - they are only stickers that have no legal meaning as standalone devices. You still need the registration renewal recorded in the state's system for your particular license plate, which can only be done by going and renewing the registration at the DMV, not by buying stickers.

Without the stickers, your friend would only be guilty of driving with an expired registration and subject to relevant punishments for that. However, with stickers purchased from someone else, he is also adding an additional gross misdemeanor in Minnesota for intent to escape tax, which can additionally include up to a year in jail and a $3,000 fine on top of the usual $115 fine for the expired registration.


It's tough to answer this question without knowing the state but in general:

  • You would be committing a crime
  • Your friend would be committing a crime
  • The deception would be discovered the first time any LEO ran your friend's tags, even for a parking ticket. License plate stickers on a car with expired registration will get a cop's attention fast.
  • 1
    stopping in front of a cop car is enough - they run automated license plate checks.
    – Trish
    Commented Jan 19, 2021 at 20:55

It's technically not what you are supposed to do as you know. He would likely be given a ticket if someone really checked into it. It can be hard to say without knowing what state you are from.

  • The original state is Minnesota. Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 21:22
  • @HankHopkins yeah, the officer can give the guy a ticket if he wants, but might not. It's really just up to the officer.
    – Putvi
    Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 21:24
  • I'm sure the officer could give a ticket.. but I'm really wondering if it's information the officer would A. have readily available and B. Would be inclined to validate the tab's information. Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 21:25
  • 7
    @hankhopkins most cops have internet connected laptops in their car, and they'll check the plates against the registration the driver gives them, and your friend would be in some kind of trouble. In some places they'd immediately tow the car to impound
    – Andy
    Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 23:25
  • 2
    @Putvi the stickers indicate that the registration has been renewed. If the friend is using someone else's stickers, it's presumably because they haven't renewed the registration. The cop will run the plates, see that the registration has expired, and then wonder where the current stickers came from.
    – phoog
    Commented Nov 7, 2019 at 7:03

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