What are the chances of getting caught with stolen registration sticker on license plate?

A buddy of mine couldn't afford this year's registration, so he took someone else's sticker off their plate and put it on his plate. Now I told him he's gonna get caught. I know (from personal experience) that cops have cameras or something on their car that can raise a red flag if a nearby motorist has expired registration tags. My question is, could they also be alerted if he had the stolen tags? Or would they actually have to pull him over for something else and find out from DMV that it's stolen? If he's caught (or when) what will happen to him? We're in L.A. County, California.


The "your friend is a retard" comments aren't helpful in any way. As stated in the question, i already think he's stupid. And why would i have to make up a "my friend..." scenario when this is all online and none of you know me anyway? No answer which contains OPINION will be given 10 points. This is yahoo ANSWERS not opinions.

10 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    cops can use text recognition software and on board cams to see and record, and run licence plate numbers they find along normal patrols...

    if someone happens to run his plate for whatever reason, it would come up expired in the computer, and he'd get pulled over simply becasue the information the cop has does not match the info he sees...

    Under normal circumstances, it is a simple stop... excuse me sir, may i see your registration? here it is, and you are on your way without another word spoken...

    in your buddy's case, they see him, run the tag, now it comes back expired, so now the cop has reasonable suspicion, and you get pulled, becasue now the cop is asking himself, OK the plate is out of date, what else is wrong here, that I am not seeing? and it becomes a game of how much can I find on this guy???

    back in the old days when my sticker was out of date, we just bent that corner of the plate up, and took our chances...

    LOgic being, if i get stopped and the plate is out of date, I can just say " oops... I forgot about it completely..."

    on the other hand, if I 'borrowed' a sticker, and tried to use that, and got caught now I am looking at serious time for the stolen sticker, because you actually made an effort to conceal the fact the registration was bogus.

    see 21655.9(b) No person shall drive a vehicle described in 5205.5 unless the proper decal, label, or other identifier is displayed

    M 21655.9(c) No person shall operate or own a vehicle displaying a decal, label, or other identifier as described in 5205.5, if that decal, label, or other identifier is not assigned to that vehicle.

  • Mike R
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    It is unlikely that he would get caught by just having the sticker. They are usually quite small and I've never heard of a cop checking a sticker. HOWEVER, if a cop ever runs a report on the license plate number the computer will clearly indicate that the vehicle is not licensed for the highway and is expired. The cop will ask to see the yearly registration. If he cannot present the document then that is yet another fine. Bottom line: VERY BAD IDEA. It is possible to be arrested on the spot and have the car impounded. An attorney will cost about $5,000 and the impound will be about $500 for 5 days. Unlicensed vehicle fine is about $500 dollars, not having a current registration may be $100. Figure about $6,000 - $7,000 plus bail. He most certainly will lose his drivers license if he even has one. It will be revoked on the spot. Ask him if he has a good bicycle to ride when he gets out of jail. That is pretty cool to ride and pick up women. He will also get a crimianl record that will look quite nice on a resume if he ever wants a job. GET A NEW FRIEND right away. (birds of a feather flock together)This guy is bad news and it is just the beginning for him Just think of it this way. You will license your car legally while your 'buddy' will drive for free and use a highway that someone else is paying for including you. Keep in mind that it is not uncommon for a cop to run a plate randomly..maybe you are just in front of him at a light not especially conspicuous. They do this often to kill time. Sometimes it pays off for the cop. As for your friend: He is a genius. Who would have ever thought to use someone elses tag? He is ahead of the game.

  • Carlos
    Lv 4
    3 years ago


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  • 4 years ago

    The license plate reading cameras will spot him, for not having a current registration on file. Usually he would be stopped. The very small numbers on the sticker are then run. If reported stolen or lost in the mail he does not just get a ticket (he gets that also) but arrested. The usual charge is something like theft of lost or mislaid property, a misdemeanor. Tell him to carry the phone number of a bondsman and enough cash, usually $100, with him to pay down 10% of his $1000. bond.

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  • 3 years ago

    Stolen Registration

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Here in AZ, the license plate number is printed on the registration tag, so it's fairly obvious. Your friend is only fooling the common folk. If a cop randomly runs his plate #, it will come back "registration expired" and the officer will pull him over and investigate.

    I don't know if CA has them, but here they have police cars equipped with license plate scanners and the officers drive them through parking lots and can scan hundreds of plates an hour.

    Your friend is living on borrowed time.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I don't know about your state, But in many, that's a felony. It's an official state document.

    A cop is just randomly going to type in his tag number in traffic. It's going to come back expired. He's going to jail at that point.

    If he thinks vehicle registration is expensive, he should wait until he prices felony attorney representation.

  • 1 decade ago

    is there an identification number on the tag? you could always say the DMV computer probably has a glitch in the system

  • 3 years ago


  • James
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    First of all, "your buddy" is a low life.

    Unfortunately, he will only get caught if he gets pulled over for something else.

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