When you get pulled over by a police officer for speeding, the officer asks to see your registration and insurance.
Uh oh! Your tags expired last month, and you completely forgot to renew them. It happens.
In addition to issuing you a moving violation, the police officer adds tickets for other violations, like failure to have proper registration or having a broken taillight. The next thing you know your $250 speeding ticket just went upwards of $600 with the additional citations. So, what do you need to do to make sure your car is road ready?
You must have car insurance.
Louisiana state law mandates that all drivers have a minimum amount of liability coverage. Liability insurance is what will pay for damages or injuries in the case of an accident in which you were at fault. The insurance company will pay out the amount of coverage that is outlined in your insurance plan. These are the minimum liability amounts set by the state:
- $15,000 of bodily injury coverage per person.
- $30,000 of bodily injury coverage per accident.
- $25,000 of property damage coverage.
**You must purchase car insurance BEFORE you register your vehicle in Louisiana.**
Your car must be registered.
You cannot drive legally on the Louisiana streets unless your vehicle is registered with the state Office of Motor Vehicles. You can do this in person at a local DMV office, or by mail. In order to register your car, you will need the following documents:
- The Vehicle Application (Form DPSMV 1799).
- Your driver’s license (or a copy for mailed applications).
- The current title and registration.
- Proof of car insurance.
- Proof of sales tax payment IF you paid tax in another state and will be claiming credit for it.
- Payment for fees and taxes.
When you register your vehicle, you will have to pay both registration fees and taxes on your vehicle. The tax amount will vary based on the value of your vehicle and the parish in which you reside. Although fees may vary, you can bet on paying at least the following:
- Title fee: $68.50.
- Lien recording fee (if applicable): $10 to $15.
- License plate fee: $20 to $82 based on the value of your vehicle.
Your car must pass inspection.
Safety inspections are an absolute must for all vehicles in Louisiana. There are five parishes in and around Baton Rouge that also require emissions inspections on their vehicles every year. Those parishes are Ascension, East Baton Rouge, Iberville, Livingston, and West Baton Rouge.
It’s important to note that if your vehicle is registered in New Orleans, Kenner or Westwego, you CANNOT get a vehicle inspection at a state inspection station. You must contact your local government for more information.
When you go for an inspection, you must present a valid driver’s license, vehicle registration and insurance.
An inspector will drive your vehicle to test the following elements:
- Brakes – The vehicle shall be driven at 20 MPH and the brakes applied slowly.
- Mirrors, outside and inside rearview
- Seat Belts
- Steering Mechanism – Must be original type steering wheel with no excessive play, binding, or tightness
- Floor Pan – No holes or rusted area are allowed in the passenger compartment
- Parking Brakes
Here are the other things on your vehicle that must be inspected:
- Parking Lamps
- Turn Indicator Lamps – Front and Rear
- Turn Indicator Lamps – Left and Right
- Tail Lamps
- Stop Lamps
- High Mount Brake Lamp
- Back-up Lamps
- Overhead Lights
- Windshield Wipers
- Windshield Washers – Vehicles six years old or older are exempt.
Click here for more information on inspection requirements from Louisiana State Police.
What can happen if your car is not up to inspection and you get pulled over?
Even if you were stopped solely for a moving violation, a police officer can add additional tickets for failure to prove insurance, registration, or inspection. These non-moving violations can add up.
Failure to maintain your vehicle– i.e. not having working headlights, cracked windshield, or broken turn-signals– will add nonmoving violations to your already-costly ticket.
A traffic ticket attorney will be able to assist you in removing some of the nonmoving violations, so you pay less.
Traffic laws and vehicle requirements in Louisiana can be confusing. Don’t end up with an expensive ticket — or worse — because you didn’t know the laws.