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Driving an unregistered vehicle? Here are the fines and penalties

Along with all the other violations relating to your car’s LTO registration
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Registering your vehicle with the Land Transportation Office (LTO)—no matter how old or new your car is—takes work. It takes a good amount of money, too, of course.

As taxing as it is, though, the hours and the few thousands of pesos we spend registering our cars year in and year out is a small price to pay when compared to the corresponding fines and penalties that come with non-compliance. In case you didn’t know, simply driving an unregistered car, for example, can easily cost you five digits.

But there are a lot of other violations apart from just operating an unregistered motor vehicle, and some of them cost way, way more. In this article, we’ll cover eight LTO registration-related violations that every motorist should know. As with all of our previous guides, the information we have here were lifted from the Land Transportation Management System (LTMS) Portal.

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1) Driving an unregistered motor vehicle

This includes driving an improperly registered motor vehicle or a motor vehicle with an expired, revoked, suspended, or invalid registration. This also covers driving a motor vehicle with an unregistered or fake substitute or replacement engine, engine block, or chassis.

  • Fine: P10,000
  • Penalties: In case of non-registration and the violation has exceeded one month, the motor vehicle shall be impounded and shall be released only upon its valid registration and payment of appropriate fines and penalties. In the case of undocumented engines, the motor vehicle shall be impounded and shall be barred for a period of one year from payment of the fines. The undocumented engines shall likewise be confiscated in favor of the government.

2) Unauthorized motor-vehicle modification

This includes the change in color and other unauthorized modifications of the standard manufacturer's specification not covered by the preceding section.

  • Fine: P5,000
  • Penalties: The motor vehicle shall be released only upon inspection, correction of defect, and payment of the fine.

3) Operating a right-hand-drive motor vehicle

  • Fine: P50,000
  • Penalties: The motor vehicle shall be impounded and shall be released subject to inspection—if the defect was corrected—and after payment of the fine.

4) Motor vehicle operating without or with defective, improper, unauthorized accessories, devices, equipment, and parts

This includes bells, sirens, whistles, blinkers, horns, grilles, brakes, brake lights, mirrors, mufflers, spare tires, speedometers, windshields, wipers, or any other accessory, device, or equipment that can affect road safety.

  • Fine: P5,000
  • Penalties: The motor vehicle shall be impounded until the accessory, device, equipment or part is properly installed, corrected, or removed, as the case may be, and after the fine has been settled. The improper or unauthorized accessory, device, equipment, or part shall likewise be confiscated in favor of the government.

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5) Failure to attach, improper attachment of, or tampering of authorized motor vehicle license plates and third plate sticker

This includes the attachment of any unauthorized plates or any accessory or device to and/or around the authorized motor vehicle license plate, or any manner of attachment that impedes in any way the visibility or reflectivity of the authorized motor vehicle license plate and/or the third plate sticker.

  • Fine: P5,000
  • Penalties: The authorized motor vehicle license plate or third plate sticker shall be properly attached and the unauthorized plate, accessory, and/or device shall be removed and confiscated in favor of the government.

6) Smoke belching

Any vehicle suspected of violation of emission standards through visual signs such as, but not limited to, smoke-belching shall be subjected to an emission test.

  • Fine:
    • First offense – fine not exceeding P2,000
    • Second offense – fine not exceeding P4,000
    • Third and succeeding offenses – one-year suspension of motor-vehicle registration and a fine not exceeding P6,000
  • Penalties:  The motor vehicle shall be impounded and the MV license plate shall not be released until the vehicle has passed the standard emission test and the fine has been paid. In addition, the driver and operator of the apprehended vehicle shall undergo a seminar on pollution control management conducted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

7) Fraud in relation to the registration of the motor vehicle and/or its renewal

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  • Fine: P3,000
  • Penalties: The motor vehicle shall be impounded and shall be barred from registration for a period of one year from the payment of the fine.

8) All other violations in connection with motor-vehicle registration renewal or operation

  • Fine: P2,000

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