Suspended Registration Tickets in NY (VTL 512)

As New York’s premier traffic ticket law firm, we see lots and lots of traffic tickets. One violation that recently has gained popularity is driving with a suspended registration (VTL 512). Even though this is a traffic ticket, it is also a crime (misdemeanor) and answerable in a criminal court. Therefore, it needs to be treated VERY seriously.

A person can be founded guilty of VTL 512 when he or she drives a vehicle knowing or should knowing that its registration is suspended. Most commonly, a registration is suspended when the owner fails to maintain continuous auto insurance coverage.

However, we expect to see many more suspended registration tickets being issued in the near future. In particular, I predict that cash-strapped municipalities will start working with DMV to have scofflaw motorists’ registrations suspended. While municipalities have other weapons to combat unpaid parking tickets (ex., interest charges, imposition of penalties and towing), suspending registrations will really clamp down on motorists. Without a current registration sticker, scofflaws who driving their cars will be easily picked off and charged with a VTL 512 charge.

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11 Comments. Leave new

  • I got two tickets for a suspended registration and now I have to appear in court. It was due to the fact that I had two lapses in insurance – I forgot to pay the fee for the first lapse, and for this second lapse I am supposed to remit my plates. I’ve paid the civil penalty for my first lapse so that’s squared away.

    My biggest question is that do I have to appear in court for these misdemeanor tickets? Or can I have my lawyer represent me in court? I just know that it would be very hard for me to miss work especially now that I am unable to drive. I have not retained a lawyer yet.

    • Matthew Weiss
      April 13, 2022 3:24 pm


      Driving with a suspended registration is a criminal charge in NY (misdemeanor). You therefore must appear for each court date. With that said, lawyers (like us) can sometimes get your appearance waived. Some courts are stricter than others on this point.

      Call us at 212-683-7373 for a free consultation and to give us some more details. We are happy to further advise you.

      Matthew Weiss

  • i was pulled over on 10/13/19 and told i had a suspended reg. come to find out my ins. was suspended 11/8/18-11/15/18 and reg. suspended 12/15/18. i had NO idea. my ex used to drive and care for this car. i divorced him and began driving the car April of 2019. He was lying and throwing away bills. He never paid anything he was supposedly paying. i called DMV and paid for the lapse. i have SO much dept from my relationship with him, but i know i won’t get a public defender. Do i need a lawyer?? I am distraught over this. i have never been in trouble and don’t know what to do.

  • I have a court date coming up for insurance lapse but I am so anxious if I should have a lawyer or not to come with me. I was pulled over one day, told that I have insurance lapse since 1/6-1/22 (the day I was pulled over) and I must go to court and pay for the insurance lapse. I called DMV and made the payment of $32 which is a little confusing because I thought it’s $8 a day penalty so it was only 4 days? I did not know how did that number came up as that but I did not want to question it. Now my problem is my sister is the owner of the car while I am the driver. I am insured this whole time. FYI 1/6 is actually the day I start being independent insurance holder (I was the second holder in my sister’s policy) My sister was not insured for the car I drove at all since she moved to another state and has separated insurance policy. I start to think this is the problem. Please help me understand if I need to have a lawyer since it is misdemeanor traffic ticket.
    PS I have everything from the insurance verifying that I have been insured. I can show my bank statement. I have a screenshot of the insurance lapse payment. I have the insurance ID. I do not what else I need. how much will the fine be?

  • My wife just got pulled over and the cop said that she has had a suspension on her registration since July because of non insurance and I know for a fact we switched over insurance companies as I have paper work starting that we switched on 7/13 and that I never got a letter or anything that we had a lapsed insurance or anything and if we did have a lapse i would have paid it if id known….and here it is 4 months later and she’s getting pulled over now…we have a court date set for the 19th…and I have no idea if we owe anything or even what to do…we have a 4 month old and are on a pins and needles because of this

    • Sabres413362,

      I’m sorry to hear how upset that you and your wife are about this no insurance ticket. However, all you need to obtain is a letter from the insurance company confirming that your car was, in fact, insured on the date of the ticket. With this letter, the ticket will most very likely be dismissed.

      Matthew Weiss

  • Can I fight a VT512 charge based on a mens rea/actus reus defense, as i was unaware at the time of the insurance lapse of 5 days which prompted the NYS Registration suspension?

    • Damion,

      With a VTL 512 charge, the People must show that you knew or should have known that the car that you were driving had a suspended registration. If you are the owner of the car, then it is generally not difficult to meet this burden.

      Because this charge is a misdemeanor, you should consult with an experienced traffic lawyer. There may be other ways to obtain a favorable result.

      Matthew Weiss


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