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      03-29-2011, 10:19 AM   #1
etm001
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Out of state purchase: legal to drive with no plate/registration?

Hello,

I just put a deposit down on a well equipped 2007 335i being sold by a fellow e90 member. It's my first BMW and I'm psyched!

I'll be traveling to New York to pick up the car and drive it back to Boston. What's not clear to me is whether it's legal to drive the car back with no plates. My thinking is that having the bill of sale and title on hand would be acceptable (the car of course would be insured). However, I haven't found anything that definitively states that this is legal.

I reviewed the MA RMV website and here's what I've found:

--MA does not issue temporary plates.
--To register a car, a title is required (see the bottom of this page).

MA does allow the transfer of a registration from one vehicle to another within a 7 day grace period (see here). It's still not clear to me whether I could take the plates off my old car, put them on the new car, drive it home, then visit the RMV.

Anyone have experience with this?

Thanks!
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      03-29-2011, 10:33 AM   #2
etm001
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Should have searched the forum more thoroughly...

From this thread it looks like I can in fact put the plates from my old car onto the new car, drive it home, then visit the RMV within 7 days.

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=487039

So on that note, anyone want a banged up 1996 Honda Civic with 130k miles? (Although, living in Boston, I've never been nervous about someone scratching or dinging my car, and now I'm going to be a nervous wreck). lol
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      03-29-2011, 11:02 AM   #3
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congrats on the purchase, you'll love it compare to your previous car
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      03-29-2011, 11:57 AM   #4
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congrats! woohoo!

hmmm, I'd recommend giving your insurance a call and let them know what you're planning to do....add the new car to your policy just in case something happens on your way back.

I don't know whether using the plate is legal but definitely driving a car without insurance is illegal.
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      03-29-2011, 12:01 PM   #5
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I wouldn't for a million dollars drive without the car being fully insured - that's just asking for something bad to happen.

I just realized I have a friend of a friend who works in law enforcement. I'm going to ask him if the plate transfer as described on the RMV's website covers my particular situation. I'll let everyone know what I find out.
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      03-29-2011, 12:06 PM   #6
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Keep us posted. This is definitely a "gray" area ...

-D
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      03-29-2011, 12:22 PM   #7
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I know you cannot do that with a motorcycle. I purchased my motorcycle in upstate NY and the only way I could ride it home was to get it fully insured and registered so that I had the actual plate on it.

I would work something out with the current buyer and have them drive it up for you and then maybe purchase them a ticket on the Fung Wah bus back to NYC, hahaha.
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      03-29-2011, 12:27 PM   #8
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I bought my car in FL and drove it to PA, just left the old plates on. If the seller is cool about it, it's the easiest way to go about it.

Unless this is from a dealer...
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      03-29-2011, 01:58 PM   #9
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I agree that this is a gray area but from what I've read on the RMV site myself, I think it's trying to say that you can slap your existing plates on the new car and drive it with them for 7 days maximum until you go to the RMV and transfer the registration officially. It also says you should be carrying all the documentation with you, like proof of insurance, the signed title transferring ownership of the new car to you, and your existing registration from your old car to prove that you are within that 7 day grace period in case you get pulled over.

That's my take on it at least.
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      03-29-2011, 02:24 PM   #10
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Here's the word from a local MA police officer

I heard back from my friend of a friend who is a local MA police officer:

Don't worry, I get questions like these all the time. And the answer is yes. As long as you get the new registration within 7 days of purchase, you can put the plates from an old car onto your newly purchased one. Basically the law is there for precisely the reason that you're using it for. Just make sure to keep the bill of sale and any other paperwork from the transaction on hand in the vehicle. Before you register it, any cop who runs your plate through his onboard computer will see one car and his or her computer will tell them that its another type. That usually tells us its stolen. So if you get pulled over and the cops act a little more aggressive than usual, that's why. Just explain what you're doing and get it registered as soon as you can.

Now I'll have full piece of mind when driving back home and really enjoy the ride with no distractions. Can't wait!
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      03-29-2011, 03:15 PM   #11
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That's awesome! Congrats on your purchase and enjoy your new car!
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      03-29-2011, 08:14 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by etm001 View Post
I heard back from my friend of a friend who is a local MA police officer:

Don't worry, I get questions like these all the time. And the answer is yes. As long as you get the new registration within 7 days of purchase, you can put the plates from an old car onto your newly purchased one. Basically the law is there for precisely the reason that you're using it for. Just make sure to keep the bill of sale and any other paperwork from the transaction on hand in the vehicle. Before you register it, any cop who runs your plate through his onboard computer will see one car and his or her computer will tell them that its another type. That usually tells us its stolen. So if you get pulled over and the cops act a little more aggressive than usual, that's why. Just explain what you're doing and get it registered as soon as you can.

Now I'll have full piece of mind when driving back home and really enjoy the ride with no distractions. Can't wait!
That's good to know!
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      03-30-2011, 12:08 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by etm001 View Post
Hello,

I just put a deposit down on a well equipped 2007 335i being sold by a fellow e90 member. It's my first BMW and I'm psyched!

I'll be traveling to New York to pick up the car and drive it back to Boston. What's not clear to me is whether it's legal to drive the car back with no plates. My thinking is that having the bill of sale and title on hand would be acceptable (the car of course would be insured). However, I haven't found anything that definitively states that this is legal.

I reviewed the MA RMV website and here's what I've found:

--MA does not issue temporary plates.
--To register a car, a title is required (see the bottom of this page).

MA does allow the transfer of a registration from one vehicle to another within a 7 day grace period (see here). It's still not clear to me whether I could take the plates off my old car, put them on the new car, drive it home, then visit the RMV.

Anyone have experience with this?

Thanks!

I heard a similar story from a colleague from work purchasing in NH and coming back to MA having MAJOR problems. From what I understood you needed the plates first.
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      03-30-2011, 06:16 PM   #14
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Technically you need to show that you've disposed of your old car in some way to use your old plates on the car. But in reality you should be fine. Just don't do anything stupid on the way back. Good luck
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      03-30-2011, 09:33 PM   #15
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Today I saw a new Z4 with no plates at all. There was a 20 day temp rear window sticker though. Not too sure what the deal with that was but I think the MA DMV might be able to issue you something for now?
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      03-30-2011, 09:41 PM   #16
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awesome purchase. stop being a nervous wreck and enjoy the new ride....unless you're in Beantown....
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      03-30-2011, 11:17 PM   #17
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No temp plates in MA

Hi,

MA does not issue temp plates (AFAIK). Which is why I believe they have this 7 day grace period for transferring the plates from the old car.

At this point I'm confident that I'm following the letter of the law, and as someone else suggested, I'm just going to sit back and enjoy the ride home (and not do anything stupid, just to be safe).

Quote:
Originally Posted by pnutty View Post
Today I saw a new Z4 with no plates at all. There was a 20 day temp rear window sticker though. Not too sure what the deal with that was but I think the MA DMV might be able to issue you something for now?
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      03-31-2011, 09:42 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by etm001 View Post
Hi,

MA does not issue temp plates (AFAIK). Which is why I believe they have this 7 day grace period for transferring the plates from the old car.

At this point I'm confident that I'm following the letter of the law, and as someone else suggested, I'm just going to sit back and enjoy the ride home (and not do anything stupid, just to be safe).

Sorry for my mistake, I'm new to the state myself. Car def had no plates and had a temp paper up on the rear window, It was prob. bought out of state in that case.
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      04-14-2011, 05:14 AM   #19
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i wish i had read this earlier and could have saved you some trouble.

i bought a car out of state (FL) from a dealer, activated my insurance and drove it back to MA. Had the dealer paper plate taped in the window.

At the start of memorial day weekend, i got pulled over in MA 5 days later with the reason being "no plate in the vehicle plate holder." because it was a holiday weekend, and 10pm on a friday night, the officer mentioned that he had no way to verify if i actually had insurance or that it was a legit plate- no one to call apparently. long story short... my car was towed on the spot to a tow-yard in BFE (this all happened on the stretch of 95 just south of the NH/ MA border).

a few days later during my court mediation, i showed my bill of sale and other dealer docs. because i was adding to my car collection (not replacing) i didn't think it was reasonable to slap plates on the new car for transport when i had no intention of swapping registrations. i figured a dealer temp plate would be legit- wrong. but the case was dismissed, outside of a $50 court fee and over $400 for tow and storage costs i was on my way.

lesson learned- slap plates on it from your current car when transporting into MA from out of state.

ps
got into a nice argument with the officer and tow operator about why my awd vw phaeton w12 needed to be flatbedded instead of hoisted. they said vw didn't make an awd car! fml.
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      04-14-2011, 07:31 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x96283 View Post
lesson learned- slap plates on it from your current car when transporting into MA from out of state.
This isn't legal either. If you attach plates from another vehicle you still legally own, then the new car is still unregistered and uninsured (and you'll get charged criminally for the attaching plates and having no insurance).

The only legal way to do it is this:

Quote:
To Register and Title Vehicles Purchased from an Out-of-State Dealer:

You must go to a licensed Massachusetts insurance agent to obtain an active insurance policy and have the agent complete, stamp and sign an Application for Registration and Title (RMV-1).

If there is a lien against the vehicle, please make sure the lienholder information is complete and accurate.
After verifying all information, sign the RMV-1 application.

Along with the completed RMV-1 application, you must submit one of the following documents:
A Certificate of Origin (new vehicles only), or
The previous owner's title, Dealer Re-assignment if applicable, or
The bill of sale and proof of last Registration, if a non-titled vehicle if exempt due to age.

If presenting the Certificate of Origin or the previous owner's title, be sure the date sold, the odometer reading and the purchase price have been completed on the back. The dealer or the previous owner(s) and you must sign the back of either of these forms.

Take the completed RMV-1 application and supporting documents to the nearest full service RMV center.

If the dealer is not registered with the Department of Revenue, the sales tax will be calculated at 6.25% of the purchase price or the National Automotive Dealer Association (NADA) trade-in value, whichever is higher.

After completing the transaction, you will receive a registration certificate, new plates and a year of expiration decal for the rear plate. The title will be processed and mailed in approximately six (6) to eight (8) weeks. If you have a loan on the vehicle, the title will be mailed directly to your lienholder.

You must obtain a vehicle inspection sticker within seven (7) days of the registration date.
And for the original poster, buying privately out of state requires this:

Quote:
To Register and Title Vehicles Purchased from a Non-Dealer:

You must go to a licensed Massachusetts insurance agent to obtain an active insurance policy and have the agent complete, stamp and sign an Application for Registration and Title (RMV-1).

If there is a lien against the vehicle, please make sure the lienholder information is complete and accurate.
After verifying all information, sign the RMV-1 application. Along with the completed RMV-1 application, you must submit the following documents:

The previous owner's Certificate of Title, or
The previous registration and bill of sale for vehicles that are exempt because of their age.
Note: If the title is from another state, and does not have a line on the back for the purchase price, you must submit both the previous title and a bill of sale.

Federal and Massachusetts's laws require that the seller(s) state the mileage upon transfer of ownership. Also, both buyer(s) and seller(s) are required to sign and hand print their name and date the transfer document. If the previous title has a space for a sales price, the price must be filled in. If the previous title does not have a space for a sales price, a bill of sale showing the sales price must be submitted.

Take the completed RMV-1 application and supporting documents to the nearest full service RMV center.

The sales tax for a private sale is calculated at 6.25% of the purchase price or the National Automotive Dealer Association (NADA) trade-in value, whichever is higher.

After completing the transaction, you will receive a registration certificate, new plates and a year of expiration decal for the rear plate. The title will be processed and mailed in approximately six (6) to eight (8) weeks. If you have a loan on the vehicle, the title will be mailed directly to your lienholder.
You must obtain a vehicle inspection sticker within seven (7) days of the registration date.
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      04-14-2011, 07:35 AM   #21
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And FYI, at least here in MA, once you buy a car it is illegal to attach a dealer plate to the vehicle. Dealer plates can only be used for vehicles that are available for sale. Once you own it, it has to be a permanent registration (no temp tags in MA).
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      04-14-2011, 09:19 AM   #22
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Yep, it's a complete flustercluck. Basically there is no legal way to drive your car back from a different state.
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