St. Charles County police confiscating expired temporary tags during traffic stops, drivers issued warnings or tickets

Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 6:24 PM CDT
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ST. CHARLES COUNTY (KMOV) -- St. Charles County police are increasing their efforts to crack down on expired temporary tags, with officers now confiscating expired tags whether the driver is issued a ticket or a warning.

“A lot of people always blamed COVID for their tags, but now that we’re almost three years past that excuse is going away and now it’s more of the, ‘I can’t afford it,’” said Officer Mchail Clarke. “It’s tough time for people right now financially, but it is the law.”

Previously, officers would issue warnings or tickets but would not necessarily take the expired tag off the vehicle, according to a department spokesperson. In taking possession of the tag, the department hopes it forces drivers to properly register their vehicles to avoid driving around with no plates.

“A car with no plates at all is going to get pulled over every time,” said Clarke. “We’re going to investigate what is going on there.”

A new Missouri law enacted in August will require car dealerships to factor the sales tax of a vehicle into the financing agreement. The goal of the law is to limit the number of expired temporary tags on the roadways.

In just the last few weeks, the department has confiscated dozens of expired tags, some dating as far back as 2017.

“Usually when it’s expired, the owner is not keeping up with maintenance on things,” said Clarke. “They usually don’t have insurance on the vehicle, which effects not only the driver but the other motoring public.”

The increased enforcement comes a few weeks after St. Charles Mayor Dan Borgmeyer announced residents can now send the city pictures of expired temporary tags to aid in the city police department’s efforts.

Critics argue removing the plate makes the vehicle more difficult to identify if it’s involved in a crime or captured on a surveillance camera. The department said while it acknowledges the risk, it believes taking the tag will force drivers to register their cars in a more timely fashion.