Inspection & Registration


Do You Know Why I Pulled You Over?!

If you really don’t know why you’re being pulled over, chances are you have let your vehicle registration, or your vehicle inspection, expire. Or if it isn’t expired, perhaps you just forgot to put the new stickers on your windshield.

In most cases, the officer will give you a verbal warning, but depending on the circumstances, you may get a ticket. However, if you get a ticket, here are some simple tricks that may help you get it dismissed or at least reduced.

Inspection Stickers

Texas requires you to display a valid current inspection sticker on your windshield or else you cannot operate your vehicle. The inspection on your vehicle must be done on an annual basis unless you are purchasing a new vehicle, that hasn’t been registered before, and is of the current or preceding model year.

See – Tex. Trans. Code § 548.602(a)(1)(2) & Tex. Trans. Code §§ 548.101, 102

Although, the law gives you a five day grace period after your inspection expires. So if you get a ticket within that five day grace period you might be able to argue to the court that the ticket was issued without an actual violation of the law.

See – Tex. Trans. Code § 548.602(a)(1)(2)

Also, if you have a valid inspection sticker but just didn’t change it on your windshield, then you have an affirmative defense to prosecution under the law. Therefore, if you are issued a ticket, but have a valid inspection, then you must bring that to the court’s attention and you may be able to get the ticket dismissed!

See – Tex. Trans. Code § 548.602(c)

It is also worth noting that this is what is known as a “fix-it” ticket. If you receive a ticket when your inspection is not more than 60 days expired, then you can get your vehicle inspected within “20 working days”, pay an administrative fee of not more than $20, and have your ticket dismissed.

See – Tex. Trans. Code § 548.605

If you are a resident of Texas but your vehicle is not located in this state, you may be able to apply for an extension for getting your inspection sticker.

See – Tex. Trans. Code § 548.103

Vehicle Registration

Texas requires you to display your registration sticker just like your inspection sticker. A violation of this rule is a misdemeanor that is punishable by a fine up to $200. However, if you had a valid registration at the time of the ticket and just an old sticker, than there is a chance that you could pay a minimal fine.

See – Tex. Trans. Code § 502.473(a)(b)

Since this is also a “fix-it ticket” Texas law allows courts to dismiss a ticket for failure to display a valid registration sticker if the owner had valid registration at the time of the ticket and pays a $10 administrative fee.

See – Tex. Trans. Code § 502.473(d)(1)(2)

The Conclusion

It’s always important be in compliance with the laws and regulations in regards to your vehicle. These laws are put into place for your safety and protection, but if you find yourself in violation of one of them, don’t worry and see if some of the above exceptions or reduced fines apply to you!


–Authored by James R. Palomo, Esq.,

 Matthew Harris Law, PLLC – Criminal Defense Divisions

1001 Main Street, Suite 200, Lubbock, Texas, 79401-3309

Tel: (806) 702-4852 | Fax: (800) 985-9479

[email protected]