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Ask the Chief: Register your vehicle or risk a ticket

"Ask The Chief" allows readers access to useful information about law enforcement issues in Red Wing. This communication tool has been developed to enhance community policing efforts by providing residents and visitors with the opportunity to ask questions about local laws, programs and the department in general.

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Q: What are Red Wing's laws regarding expired license plate tabs? I race every year to make sure my license plate tabs are up to date before they expire to avoid large fines. Why are those with expired license plate tabs not being fined? Please explain. Thanks!

A: Thank you for this question, Red Wing does not have a city ordinance regarding motor vehicle registration on passenger vehicles and trucks.

Minnesota Statute 168.09, Registration; Reregistration states that no trailer or vehicle may be used or operated on the public streets or highways of the state without the proper registration.

In short, this means that the vehicle or trailer must be in use or operation on the public street or roadway for a law enforcement officer to ticket the vehicle for no registration. Registration must be purchased by the last day of the expiration month and must be affixed and displayed on the license plate within 10 days following the last day of the registration month.

Failure to register your vehicle is a misdemeanor offense and could result in fine/fees of $175. Also, if the officer can show that the owner of a motor vehicle intentionally delayed or failed to register a motor vehicle, the owner of that vehicle may be arrested for Minnesota Statute 168.35, Intent to escape tax, which is a gross misdemeanor.

New residents have 60 days to obtain a Minnesota registration for their passenger vehicle upon becoming a resident of the state.

In a situation where you observe a vehicle parked in the street with expired registration, you can contact Red Wing Police Department to have the vehicle checked on. In this situation the community service officer or patrol officer responding will normally check the vehicle to ensure it is not stolen and then will "chalk" the tires to ensure the vehicle is moved within 20 hours, which is a city parking ordinance (no vehicle may be parked on the street for longer than 20 hours).

Keep that receipt handy

RWPD realizes that there is currently a delay with vehicle registrations, pending implementation of the new software system.

Due to this delay, I highly recommend that you keep a copy of your receipt to show the officer that you have applied for the proper registration or renewal within the required timeframe as mandated by state statute.


1. Minnesota Statue 168.09 REGISTRATION; REREGISTRATION. Online at:

2. Minnesota Statute 168.35 INTENT TO ESCAPE TAX; GROSS MISDEMEANOR. Online at:

3. Minnesota Courts Statewide Payables. Online at:

4. Minnesota Department of Vehicle Services — new resident requirement.