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Why Guy: Why don't police pull over drivers with expired license plate stickers?

"CHP enforces registration violations for all vehicles, regardless of the state in which they are registered," CHP Officer Elo Ceja said.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Today's Why Guy question came to us via voicemail from ABC10 viewer Lesa Asher.

"Here's my question: Why are we going after out-of-state license plates when we have all of these ones that are running around that haven't been registered for years. I see it every single day on the freeway and in town. Why aren't we pulling those people over?"  

Lesa, legit question. One news survey found 23% of California drivers are late on their registration. 

How do they get caught? Drivers get pulled over for speeding or another traffic violation and that's when police will nail you for the out-of-date registration. That gets added to the ticket. While it's easier to catch an out-of-state car with expired tags, officials with the California High Patrol [CHP] say they're on the lookout for expired in-state tags, too.

"CHP enforces registration violations for all vehicles, regardless of the state in which they are registered," CHP Officer Elo Ceja said. 

If your registration is late by ten days, the fine is $20. If it's up to a year late, it's $60, then from one year to two years late, it's $100. The max fine for two years or more is $200 in late fees.

So, is law enforcement specifically on the lookout for expired license plate tags? To put it honestly, probably not.

"We have a finite number of resources...and speaking honestly, that's not high on our priority list," retired Bakersfield police Sgt. Joe Grubbs.

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