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Washington State Police crack down on residents with out-of-state license plates

Washington troopers checking license plates (KATU News photo)

The Washington State Patrol (WSP) is cracking down on people with out of state license plates.

Friday morning, the troopers set up outside Laurin Middle School and Glenwood Heights Primary School and handed out multiple tickets.

Troopers said someone tipped off the License Investigation Unit at the start of the school year. The tip was about seeing out of state plates at Clark County schools.

"Obviously, if you're dropping a student off at the school then, more than likely, you are a Washington resident," Trooper Will Finn said.

Finn said troopers came by the schools and took inventory twice over the past month and a half. After doing research, WSP said it sent out notices to the people failing to follow the law. On Friday morning, the unit cracked down.

"So, today we are no longer asking for compliance we're going to be having a different conversation,” Finn said. "That conversation has the ability to have a $1,122 infraction associated with it."

Troopers pulled over every car with an out of state plate. Those that had been spotted before got a ticket because WSP said it's given them proper time to fix the issue.

In Washington, new residents have 30 days to register their cars. If a current resident gets a new, or new to them, car, that resident only has 15 days to register it.

“We're not out there just trying to take folk's money,” Finn said. “We're trying to get the information out there and say we need you to follow the law we need you to register your vehicle in Washington.”

Although a $1,120 ticket is a lot, it can get worse.

"So we have four vehicles in particular that troopers have identified as potential fraud cases," Finn said.

In those cases, troopers said they can prove the people are actively registering their cars in another state to avoid paying sales tax.

“The motivation is to save some money," Finn said.

If that's the intention -- it could end up meaning criminal charges or jail time, and the Department of Revenue can require the person to pay taxes on all their cars.

"If you look at a $50,000 car, you have the potential to have to pay $4,500 in sales tax to the state of Washington," Trooper Finn explained.

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