Ask a Trooper: When can I drive my car with collector plates?
Question: I own a 1994 BMW. Last time registration was up, I purchased collector plates and joined the BMW club. I know you're not supposed to drive the car for everyday use, such as driving to the grocery store or running errands. I have a friend who told me I can drive the car only to club meetings or auto shows. True or not true? If not true, what are the restrictions to driving the car? If I'm going to sell the car, can I drive it to a mutual meeting point? Can I take it out every once in awhile for a "spin"?
Answer: There are several different requirements for "collector" license plates.
• The vehicle needs to be at least 20 years old.
• The owner must prove that he or she also has one or more vehicles with regular license plates.
• The vehicle must be owned and operated solely as a collector's item and not for general transportation purposes.
What are general transportation purposes? To law enforcement, it means you can drive it to show it, but you cannot use it to go to work, school, shopping and other everyday activities. It is going to be a judgment call on the part of the officer, but the intent of the law is to use it only for fairs, shows, etc., and not as another vehicle for your family.
As the owner, you are responsible for maintaining the proper registration on your vehicle. So if you were in violation of one of those requirements listed above, you could be charged with:
• Improper use of registration — a misdemeanor (90 days and/or $1,000 fine).
• Intent to escape tax — a gross misdemeanor (up to one year and/or $3,000 fine), depending on the situation.
The license plates also would be subject to impoundment. So if you are going to use the vehicle for other purposes, have regular plates on it.
A portion of state statutes were used with permission from the Office of the Revisor of Statutes.
If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send them to Sgt. Neil Dickenson — Minnesota State Patrol at 1131 Mesaba Ave, Duluth, MN 55811, @MSPPIO_NE or firstname.lastname@example.org.