never registered car to CA dmv?

Hi, I bought a car last month but before I was able to tell the dmv I bought the car, I had to go out of state for a family emergency. What can the DMV do to my car if I haven't paid for registration and have not told them within the few days I was supposed to? Thanks.

1 Answer

  • 1 decade ago
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    I'm assuming you bought from a private party, since the dealer would take care of such things if you bought from a dealer. Rules are simple:

    What to do when purchasing a car from a private party.

    If you have purchased a vehicle registered in California, you will need to transfer the ownership within 10 days from the date of purchase.

    Since you are beyond those 10 days, and there is no forgiveness for family emergencies, you will probably have to pay a small penalty for being late. Just go the DMV and take care of it.

    Don't forget about smog requirements. If it was smogged within 90 days of the date of purchase, and the seller gives you a written statement of that, you're okay, if not it will have to be inspected also.

    A smog certification.

    Smog certifications are good for 90 days from the date of the inspection. The smog certification is not required if a biennial certification was submitted to DMV in conjunction with renewal fees within 90 days prior to the vehicle transfer date. A statement to that effect must be signed by the seller or the buyer. A vehicle inspection report may be required for proof of certification.

    Recent legislation changed the requirements for vehicle transfers occurring on or after January 1, 2005. When you transfer a vehicle that is four or less model years old a smog certification will not be required. A smog transfer fee will be collected from the new owner. When a vehicle is more than four model years old, evidence of a current smog certification must be provided by a seller except when the following occurs:

    The transfer occurs between a spouse, sibling, child, parent, grandparent, or grandchild.

    A biennial smog certification was submitted to DMV within 90 days prior to the vehicle transfer date (a vehicle inspection report may be required for proof of certification).

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