Getting pulled over for no plates

Getting pulled over for no plates

I took delivery of my S and luckily had no issues for about 2 wks but I have now been stopped by Virginia law enforcement 3 times in 4 days (twice in the past 7 hours!) for having no tags. All 3 times after lengthy stops with multiple questions was told I shouldn't drive the car until there are plates. The State Trooper even tried to run the vin accessing California's database and said the vin was not in the system and he suggested the California temporary registration I had taped in the window could be fake. Fortunately, no citations (yet) but this is a major hassle. Local DMV will not issue temporary tags if I go in with a bill of sale. Local Tesla service center can't print temporary tags because they haven't obtained designation as a "dealer" yet. Customer left having to not drive the car or risk repeated run-ins with law enforcement. I am tempted to take a valid plate off our 3rd vehicle which will be sold and put it on the Tesla just to prevent this from happening but that's not legal and could end up with worse punishment (fine/impounded etc) if discovered. Any other advice?

Pungoteague_Dave | 28. Februar 2013


That's what I did because I have tinted windows so the little strip of paper did not show through the window. So I laminated it and taped it inside the blank license plate surround. That was before I was pulled over five times. So far no tags.

For the MD-specific question, I went to the MVA in Glen Burnie about getting a temp plate, but the TM paperwork won't do it. They said I am legal and suggested either not driving or being willing to continue being pulled over. I apparently drive where there are a lot of LEOs, so hope the plates come soon.

KendallPB | 28. Februar 2013

@Dave: Was MVA able to check on the status of your plates? I don't understand why these things take forever...modern world...internet...why isn't all this stuff 'net-based and quick? Sigh. ;-)

zanzibar | 01. März 2013

We received the car in Delaware on the 22nd. Certificate of Origin arrived on the 26th but my wife has been too busy to go to the DMV ( registered jointly ).

On Thursday the 28th the police pulled me over! At first I thought it was because I was speeding since I was giving the car a nice "sprint" test. Never really exceeding the speed limit ( too much ) but punching it when the lights turned green.

Turns out I had left my wallet at home ( I was not expecting to drive back from a dinner since my wife drove us there ).
Three kids in the back and 9:30PM ... I thought I was in trouble. The police explained that the only issue was with the missing tags, I explained that 1) I left my drivers license at home ( 1st time in my life ) 2) The car was from CA and had that tiny registration slip and that we had just received the required documents for registration.

It was my lucky day - he let me go.

I think he gave me a break because 2 of my 3 kids were asleep ... he asked how far away I live ( 2 blocks ) and then said for me to go home, don't drive the car until it is registered.

What a close call. We are going to the Delaware DMV today!

KendallPB | 13. März 2013

I got my MD plates! 4 weeks and 2 days after pick-up, although delayed a couple of days because Solar City's truck blocked my mailbox until I told them today to park in the driveway, so the mail wasn't delivered for a couple of days. Now I can put the plates on and be "legal".... ;-)

DFibRL8R | 13. März 2013

Yeah, it's nice to only have to watch the speed now which is enough of a challenge in this car!

EclecticCitizen | 18. März 2013

On day 2 of ownership I got pulled over in Scottsdale with the tiny California tag in my window. Cop said he has never heard of anyone using a small paper tag in the window for new cars. Spent 20 min with him trying to look up my VIN etc which he never found. I gave him all the paperwork that thank God the local store had just given me right before this (mine arrived with no paperwork of any kind). He misread it, copped a bit of an attitude (pun intended), and told me to read it again when he handed it back to me, but in the end finally let me go without a citation. I decided it wasn't worth going through that again, so I went to the DMV on Monday and got plates. Unnecessary irritation. Tesla should be able to give us the usual full sized window tag. I'm not sure why the VIN is not available to the police, but I imagine Tesla has to plugged that in to some database?

side note, the AZ Tesla staff told me to go for environmental inspection first to get paperwork that would qualify me for the alternative fuel plates and HOV lane access. Not quite. I wasted an hour there while they tried to sort out if they could provide me any document. If you are in AZ, just go straight to a DMV office. No inspection available or needed. The certificate of origin clearly states Electric for engine type, and that's all they needed. The only pain at the DMV was the wait and paying sales tax, and the woman miscalculated my VLT--but it was so cheap still I didn't argue.

edcalis | 20. März 2013

I think drivers in my state play it safe. Once they detect a car with no plates, they avoid you and change lanes, so the police could spot you. It works every time, and I think the drivers are patting themselves on the back whenever I get pulled over. Man....
Where are my tags, please?

carlk | 20. März 2013

Strange. Here is the SF Bay Area pretty much every Porsche, every other BMW and few Infinity and Lexus in between don't have the front plate. I have never seen cops pulling them over just for that.

DerekCrosby | 20. März 2013

California is an Odd Duck, but it's more of an East Coast West Coast thing, coming from Florida Originally, you get temp tags with the purchase of a vehicle.. Here in Los Angeles I've gotten hit by a car with brand new (No Plates, except for I bought mine from XXX) and the driver RAN ! I pulled into a parking lot to Discuss the Damage.. the person Ran, and I had to flip a U turn, and chase after them, the chase ended when I got stuck at a red light and they ran the yellow. I didn't want to add manslaughter to the ordeal... So I stopped. But It gave me a very real idea that with temp tags, I could have gotten a partial plate, or something. But Instead my insurance took the report, and I never got dinged with the "Fault" but I did have to pay the $500 deductible.

I say it's a problem where California/WestCoast needs to get with the times, and not trust people to do the right thing. But that's a larger Issue.

hsadler | 20. März 2013


The small paper in the window is not a Tesla thing. That's Califorinia DMV. And if the VIN isn't found in the shared database, that's also DMV. Anything we need done at the DMV here is very slow due to CA's budget cuts.

Gator | 20. März 2013

East coast cops are not used to seeing the temporary CA DMV registration (small strip of paper placed in rear window) so they pull a traffic stop to check out why no tags or no paper T tags as Maryland uses.

I did receive my Maryland tags 8 bidness days after picking up the Tesla. So, the local state "workers" must have been motivated the week they received my paperwork.

edcalis | 23. März 2013

I am tired of continuously watching for police cars from both directions, just to get to work every day.
The MVA said it had no record of my S or its VIN. I called Tesla, and they admitted they haven't sent the papers to the MVA. Can you believe that?

dockt | 26. März 2013

Could the temp CA registration (strip of paper) be enlarged significantly and then taped in the plate area?

pchapes | 26. März 2013

VA drivers should be aware, I was told by our county police duty officer (Albemarle) that the TM paper work is valid but for 30 days NOT 90.

bsimoes | 26. März 2013

My car is due to be delivered this Thursday, and I received a FedEx package last Friday with all of the paperwork I'd need at the DMV. The policy has been changed for many states so that we now are to individually take care of the paperwork. I noticed when I got my final paperwork, the price of the sales tax, etc. had been removed. At that point, I called.
I now have a temporary registation, plate and a 15 day window to get the car inspected in-state. I'm sure that will be a thrill for the garage I'll bring it to! The lady at the DMV said that she wasn't sure what there was to inspect being there was no gas engine!

GeekEV | 26. Juni 2013

FYI, I've implemented an invisible magnetic mounting system. I'm still "testing" it, but it seems rock solid. I'll post a how to in the near future.