Late with your car registration? Be prepared to face new late fees

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
There are a bunch of SUVs in this parking lot at the University of Denver. Sept. 28, 2021.

Several new regulations regarding vehicles went into effect Wednesday, including new late fees for people who fail to register their vehicles on time. 

The changes come due to House Bill 22-1254, which was signed into law last year. People who fail to meet registration deadlines for newly purchased or existing vehicles past the 60-day deadline set by temporary license plates will be charged $25 a month, with a $100 cap.

Adam Wilms, the director for vehicle services for the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles, said the late fees are aimed at reducing the number of unregistered vehicles on the road.

“There was no enforcement from an administrative standpoint either, because Colorado statute expressly prohibited us from having a late fee on a temporary registration. So, there was really no reason for somebody to go in,” Wilms said.

The introduction of the fees marks the end of a more lax approach to enforcing vehicle laws. During the height of the pandemic, county DMV offices experienced frequent closures and slowdowns that prevented people from getting their registration done on time.

“We had reached out to law enforcement during the pandemic to ask for a little bit of grace with expired registrations and that's both on hard plates as well as the temporary registrations, while the DMVs and governments kind of got back up and running,” Wilms said. “Now you're starting to see law enforcement step that back up because, obviously, we've resolved most of the supply chain issues, you can basically get an appointment almost anytime that you want to go.”

In addition to the late fees, the new law introduces other fees for some vehicle owners, including back taxes and fees for new Colorado residents who fail to register their vehicle within 90 days of moving to the state. 

The law also reduces registration fees based on the age of a vehicle.