After private party purchase in CA can I drive the car without license plates?

Asked by Feb 06, 2019 at 06:02 PM about the 2011 Audi Q7 3.0T quattro S-Line Prestige AWD

Question type: General

In CA I purchased a car that is registered in OH and seller kept his
personalized license plates, so I have no plates on the car right now. Seller
lives in CA but never transferred registration to CA and never smogged the
car. Now waiting for title from bank after Autopay pays off his loan. They said
can take up to 30 days to get title. I have bill of sale in my possession. I
cannot go to DMV and get plates right now because technically car is
registered in OH so I think I have to wait for the title before CA DMV can help
me. Can I drive the car without plates for now?

1 Answer

New update. I finally got a call back from the DMV. Seller was supposed to transfer registration to CA and get CA plates and smog done but never did, too late for that now that the title is being transferred. They advise not to drive it due because I might get pulled over due to the new dealership law in 2019 that requires dealers to provide a temporary paper plate IDs. So now police are more likely to pull someone over. But if I absolutely had to drive it then they recommend to keep all the documentation readily available to explain myself if pulled over. Need bill of sale, copy of previous OH registration showing current tags, payment confirmation or other proof that I purchased it etc. I will also keep a copy of the cargurus ad and cargurus correspondence. Also I looked up the DMV website on the new law and they state that "the intent is to assist law enforcement and parking/toll agencies in identifying vehicles driven without license plates". Also it states that the temp plates are NOT required for private party sales. I will print this out and keep in the car.

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