Vehicles Impounded for Improper or Expired Registration

Temporary Permit

Often, a vehicle impounded for expired registration must undergo a safety inspection, an emissions test, or have its vehicle identification number (VIN) or hull identification number (HIN) inspected before it may be registered and released from impound. But the owner cannot have these inspections done while the vehicle is impounded. In this case, the DMV may issue a 30-day temporary permit along with the impound release after collecting the appropriate fees. Once all the required inspections have been completed, the vehicle owner can return the required information to any DMV office to collect his/her plates and decals.

To obtain a temporary permit with the impound release for an improperly registered motor vehicle, the owner, or authorized agent, must complete all appropriate title/registration forms and submit all documents required to title and register or to renew the vehicle registration and pay all required fees, in addition to the permit fee.

The vehicle owner will be given a temporary permit valid for 30 days. This is placed in the vehicle’s rear window until the required inspections are completed and new plates can be issued by the DMV.

Note: This permit is not free and may only be issued for vehicles impounded for improper or expired registration.

Release to a Commercial Towing Company

If a vehicle cannot be properly registered because the necessary repairs are too extensive, the vehicle may be released to a licensed towing company to tow the vehicle to private property. (An individual may not tow the vehicle if not licensed to do so). The impound penalty must still be paid.

Note: Vehicles released for commercial towing only must have all title and registration fees, impound fees and related penalties paid before the vehicle is released.


The temporary permit is generally not needed to release an improperly registered boat from impound. In almost all instances, the owner will be able to complete the registration for the boat. The only exception would be if the vessel needs a HIN inspection prior to titling/registration.

Note: An impound release form for a boat’s trailer is not required unless an impound report has been completed for the trailer. However, if the trailer is not currently registered, it needs to be properly titled and registered or renewed prior to release of the boat from impound.


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