2012 South Carolina Code of Laws
Title 56 - Motor Vehicles
Chapter 3 - MOTOR VEHICLE REGISTRATION AND LICENSING
Section 56-3-210 - Time period for procuring registration and license; temporary license plates; transfer of license plates.


SC Code § 56-3-210 (2012) What's This?

(A) A person who newly acquires a vehicle or an owner of a foreign vehicle being moved into this State and required to be registered under this chapter, before operating the vehicle on the state's highways during the forty-five day period contained in this section must:

(1) transfer a license plate from another vehicle pursuant to subsection (D) of this section and Section 56-3-1290;

(2) purchase a new license plate and registration;

(3) purchase a temporary license plate from the Department of Motor Vehicles pursuant to subsection (B) of this section;

(4) purchase a temporary license plate from the county auditor's office in the county in which the person resides pursuant to subsection (B) of this section;

(5) obtain a temporary license plate from a dealer of new or used vehicles pursuant to subsection (C) of this section; or

(6) obtain a temporary license plate from the casual seller of the vehicle pursuant to subsection (B) of this section.

(B) The Department of Motor Vehicles or the county auditor's office must, upon proper application, issue a temporary license plate designed by the Department of Motor Vehicles to a casual seller or buyer of a vehicle pursuant to subsection (A) of this section. The county auditor's office may obtain temporary license plates from the Department of Motor Vehicles. If the applicant is a casual buyer of a vehicle, the Department of Motor Vehicles or the county auditor's office must insert clearly and indelibly on the face of the temporary license plate the date of expiration and other information the Department of Motor Vehicles may require. If the applicant is the casual seller of a vehicle, at the time of the sale, he must insert clearly and indelibly on the face of the temporary license plate the date of expiration and other information the Department of Motor Vehicles may require. The expiration date may not extend beyond forty-five days from the vehicle's date of purchase. Neither the casual seller nor the casual buyer may place the temporary license plate on the vehicle until the sale has been completed. The bill of sale, title, rental contract, or a copy of either document must be maintained in the vehicle at all times to verify the vehicle's date of purchase to a law enforcement officer. The bill of sale, title, rental contract, or a copy of either document must provide a description of the vehicle, the name and address of both the seller and purchaser of the vehicle, and its date of sale. A casual seller who issues a temporary license plate or allows a temporary license plate to be issued in violation of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined one hundred dollars for each occurrence. The Department of Motor Vehicles may charge a five dollar fee for the temporary license plate which the Comptroller General must place into a special restricted account to be used by the Department of Motor Vehicles to defray its expenses associated with the production and issuance of the temporary license plates. The county auditor's office also may charge a five dollar fee for the temporary license plate to defray the expenses of the county auditor's office associated with the production and issuance of the temporary license plates.

(C) A dealer of new or used vehicles may issue to the purchaser of a vehicle at the time of its sale a temporary license plate. The plate must contain the dealer's name, city, and phone number, or the dealer's name and computer website address. The plate also must contain a rectangular box, with a white background, on the bottom of the plate, in dimensions not less than six inches wide and two inches high. The rectangular box must contain, in characters not less than one quarter inch wide and one and one half inches high, the expiration date of the period within which the purchaser must register the vehicle pursuant to subsection (E) of this section. The expiration date must be clearly legible from a distance of at least twenty-five feet, written using a permanent black marker with at least a one quarter inch wide tip, and must contain a numerical month, day, and year. The expiration date may not extend beyond forty-five days from the date of purchase. The temporary license plate must be made of heavy stock paper or plastic, and designed to resist deterioration or fading from exposure to the elements during the period for which display is required. The bill of sale, title, rental contract, or a copy of either document must be maintained in the vehicle at all times to verify the vehicle's date of purchase to a law enforcement officer. The bill of sale, title, rental contract, or a copy of either document must contain a description of the vehicle, the name and address of both the seller and purchaser of the vehicle, and its date of sale. Except as provided for in this section, a dealer may not use a temporary license plate for any other purpose, which includes, but is not limited to, vehicle demonstration, employee use, or transporting vehicles from one location to another location. A dealer may not place a temporary license plate on a vehicle, regardless of whether the expiration date has been written on the plate, until the vehicle is sold to a purchaser. A person who issues or uses a temporary license plate or allows a temporary license plate to be issued or used in violation of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined one hundred dollars for each occurrence.

(D) If a person intends to transfer a license plate from one vehicle to another vehicle, he may place the license plate to be transferred on the newly acquired vehicle on the date of its purchase. The bill of sale and a copy of the registration which corresponds to the license plate must be maintained in the newly acquired vehicle at all times to verify its date of purchase to a law enforcement officer. The purchaser must register the vehicle with the Department of Motor Vehicles within forty-five days from its purchase date. A person who transfers a license plate or allows a license plate to be transferred in violation of this subsection is subject to the vehicle registration and licensing provisions of law.

(E) A person must replace a temporary license plate issued pursuant to this section with a permanent license plate and registration card as required by Section 56-3-110 within forty-five days of acquiring the vehicle or moving a foreign vehicle into this State. A person who operates a vehicle in violation of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than one hundred dollars.

(F) Nothing in this section may be construed to displace or effect the responsibility of a person to obtain insurance before operating a vehicle.

(G) Only one temporary license plate shall be issued to a purchaser of a vehicle for the vehicle he has purchased before it is registered permanently.

HISTORY: 1962 Code Section 46-15; 1952 Code Section 46-15; 1949 (46) 342; 1951 (47) 527; 1984 Act No. 371, Section 1; 1985 Act No. 40, Section 3; 1994 Act No. 497, Part II, Section 121H; 2002 Act No. 251, Section 1, subsections (A), (B), (C); 2004 Act No. 288, Section 1.

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