Penalty for Not Returning License Plates in NY

Penalty for Not Returning License Plates in NY

Let’s say you have a car you want to sell. Now, you have to surrender your license plate after the sale, unless you register a different vehicle almost immediately. In this article, you will get to know the penalty for not returning license plates in NY. In New York, license plates, registration, and insurance are all tied, and you need all three at the same time to be legal.

Penalty for Not Returning License Plates in NY

Penalty for Not Returning License Plates in NY

If you are buying/registering a new car, keep your NY plates and indicate that you want them transferred to the new vehicle. If you’re not registering a new car, you have to surrender your plates immediately. Once you surrender your plates, you can then call and cancel your insurance. So, what is the penalty for not returning license plates in NY?

In cases where the insurance on a vehicle is terminated without proper notification or transfer of ownership, the penalties may include suspension of vehicle registration or the driver’s license, as well as potential fines. The exact timing of when the vehicle was sold might be difficult to determine, but authorities are typically notified immediately once you cancel your insurance.

Before you cancel your insurance

You must turn in your NY plates before you cancel the insurance on your vehicle. If you don’t, your vehicle registration may be suspended, and your driver’s license could also be at risk of suspension.

When registering your vehicle in a different state

If you register your car in another state, you must first surrender your New York State vehicle plates to the New York DMV to complete the process.

How to Surrender New York State Plates by Mail

penalty for not returning license plates in NY

Here’s a simple guide on how to return New York State vehicle plates:

1. Check Your Address

Before sending your plates back, ensure the address on your registration is up to date. This is where you’ll get the plate surrender receipt (form FS-6T) and any refund check.

If your address has changed, update it first. This applies to both personal and business registrations. Also, update your address with the United States Postal Service to make sure you get your mail at your new place.

2. Remove Plates and Stickers

Take off your plates, including any frames or fasteners. Destroy the registration and inspection stickers from your windshield. Don’t hand your plates to someone else unless they are returning them for you.

3. Fill Out the PD-7 Form

Complete the Plate Surrender Application (PD-7) for each set of plates you’re giving back.

4. Mail Everything

Put the completed PD-7 form and your plates in an envelope (avoid using boxes) and mail them to: NYS DMV, 6 Empire State Plaza, Room B240, Albany, NY 12228. The date on the postmark is considered the date you surrendered your plates. Wait for about 21 days to get your FS-6T receipt. If you don’t receive it, contact the DMV.

Remember, if you have plates from another state, you need to return them to the DMV of that particular state, not to the New York State DMV.

How to Surrender New York Plates at a DMV Office

Penalty for Not Returning License Plates in NY

Here’s how to return your vehicle plates in three easy steps:

1. Take Off Plates and Stickers

First, remove the plates from your vehicle, including the frames and fasteners. We can’t take them if these are still attached. Also, you should remove and destroy the registration and inspection stickers on your windshield. Remember, you cannot give your NY plates to someone else.

2. Fill Out the PD-7 Form

For each set of plates you’re returning, you need to fill out the Plate Surrender Application (PD-7). This form is important and needs to be completed properly.

3. Go to a DMV Office

Once you have your plates and the completed PD-7 form, take them to a nearby DMV office. You can look up the closest DMV office. County motor vehicle offices will charge a $1 fee to process the plate surrender. If someone else is doing this for you, make sure they give you the FS-6T receipt. This receipt is important for your records.

Do You Surrender Lost Registration?

In NY, yes. If your plates are lost, stolen, or destroyed, you should report this to the DMV and surrender the vehicle’s registration. After that, the DMV can give you a new registration and plates.


When selling a car in New York, consider transferring the title to the new owner in a private location such as their garage, where the absence of license plates won’t attract a ticket, or in a DMV parking lot for immediate plate acquisition. Regardless of the location, retain your license plates and remove them when transferring the title.

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