You Must Notify the DMV Within Five Days If You

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is a government entity that is in charge of car registration and the issuance of driver’s licenses in the United States. Therefore,

You must notify the DMV within five (5) days if you sold your vehicle or transferred title or interest in and delivered possession of a vehicle to another person by completing a Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability.

You Must Notify the DMV Within Five Days If You?

You must notify the DMV within five days if you sold your car. The same goes for when you transferred title or interest in and delivered possession of a vehicle to another person.

For example, if you are in California, the law requires you to do so within 5 days by completing a Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability on The same goes for various other states in the US.

If you don’t notify the DMV after selling your car, you will be breaking the law. If the vehicle is sold in an out-of-state transaction, then it’s up to that buyer to notify the DMV of the purchase.

If you live in a state such as Florida or New York where there are special laws surrounding the registration of vehicles, for example, requiring annual registration, then calling up your local DMV office before selling would be wise.

The reason for calling the DMV office would be to notify them of the kind of vehicles or vehicles that have been sold to their new owners.

How Many Days Do You Have to Notify the DMV When You Sell Your Car?

When you sell your car, you have 5 days to notify the DMV. You can always notify the DMV in different ways. You can either send a letter via mail or fax to the address on their website to inform them that you’ve sold a car.

Notifying them online by going to their website and clicking on “Notify DMV of a Vehicle” and you’ll also have to fill out the form on the website with all of your information.

Some of the information that is required is the make and model of the vehicle that you own, as well as its license plate number.

If there are any issues with this method or if it takes too long for them to respond after sending the mail, you can stop by any DMV customer care office around you.

What Happens if You Fail to Notify the DMV After Selling Your Car?

If you fail to notify the DMV of your car’s sale after it has been sold, there are several consequences that you could face.

  • The DMV is usually very accountable and not reporting the sale of a car would make them look unaccountable and ineffective.
  • You may be fined up to $1,000 for each day that you do not notify the state. The price is placed high so that people would not want to default.
  • You could also face criminal charges for failing to report a vehicle’s sale or transfer within 30 days of taking ownership of it.
  • Depending on the duration of the car sale from when it was discovered. It can be considered an offense or you could even be charged with selling a stolen vehicle because not reporting the sale indicates there’s something shady.

If you fail to properly register your vehicle in your name and pay fees associated with reregistration, then law enforcement will have no choice but to ticket and/or arrest you.

Your arrest would be dependent on how long they’ve known about this issue before now, this means if they knew back when they issued their citation.

If convicted of these crimes related specifically to notifying the DMV after selling vehicles without proper documentation being filed, you could spend a lot on bail or spend some time in detention.

Benefits of Notifying the DMV After Selling Your Car

The benefits of notifying the DMV within 5 days of selling your car include:

1. Prevents Sale of Stolen Cars

Notifying the DMV after selling your car will prevent stolen cars from being driven around and sold on online shops like eBay. The DMV has a database of the Vehicle Identification Numbers of all the registered vehicles.

This number can be used by law enforcement officials to track different vehicles without having to look at every single vehicle.

2. Prevents Identity Theft

It will also prevent identity theft. If someone steals your license plate and then uses it fraudulently, their information will show up on state records instead of yours.

This greatly reduces the rate at which people use other people’s cars or plates to cover their tracks when they do illegal things or commit offenses.

3. Reduced Rate of Falsifying Information

If there’s any chance that someone has falsified information about themselves online such as their name or address, this could lead back to them in court proceedings down the road

Notifying the Department of Motor Vehicles of any car sale or change in ownership of a vehicle helps ensure fairness between parties involved since both sides have access.

4. Helps You Get a New License

When you notify the Department of Motor Vehicles of the sale of a vehicle, they can regulate your license, help with the change in name and ownership on the car title, and register the car in the name of the new owner.

5. You’ll Get a New Registration Sticker

When you sell a vehicle to another person, once you have completed the transfer of ownership between yourself and the new owner, the new owner will have to get a new registration sticker for the car.

6. New Car Title

You can get a new title, if applicable although this is not always required. The new title will have your name and the details of the other vehicle you have (if you have any).


You must notify the DMV within five days if you sold your car. This is more important if you’re paying sales tax or have other fees or taxes associated with the sale. If you don’t notify the DMV within 5 – 30 days of selling your vehicle, they can suspend your registration privileges indefinitely and potentially confiscate it from you.