You don't have to look hard to see paper tags with hand written dates on cars. Dealerships hang them on the back of your car until it's time to get the real deal.
But some drivers' temporary tags aren't so temporary.
In one parking lot alone we spotted three cars with expired paper tags. So our News 9 crew asked one driver why?
"Well, I get it Friday," she said. "I wait on payday."
Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Betsy Randolph said she sees the problem often. So we rode around the metro with her, looking for violators who face costly fines. The first driver's paper tag was so old, the numbers had faded. We asked her, what took so long?
"Because I had to get one for my other car," she said. "I'm fixing to get it because I don't like getting pulled over at all."
The excuses Trooper Randolph hears are endless.
"The title was lost in the mail," Randolph said. "Sometimes they will try to change the tag."
A paper tag is one thing. We even found cars with no tag at all. The passenger in an Eclipse told Randolph he works for a dealership and was on a test drive. And the conversation got heated when he tried to argue that a state issued paper inside the car was all he needed. Randolph said that's illegal and there must be a tag on the car, that law enforcement can see.
Just a few minutes later, we spotted a pickup truck without a tag.
The driver told Randolph the dealership refused to give him the title until he paid off the truck.
He told us, "It's just real nerve wracking you have to keep doing all this stuff that the dealership don't tell you about."
Trooper Randolph said that's against the law too.
"State law says a dealership has to issue them even a title that shows they still have a lien on it," Randolph said. "They can do that, but they cannot hold a title hostage."
No matter who's at fault, you're responsible for your tag or there's a good chance you'll be pulled over.
Law enforcement can pull you over on the 31st day you've had a paper tag. The fine is $211. If the tag is past due 60 or more days, the fine with the tag agency increases per day. 90 days late, the citation goes up even more and your car can be towed.
If you know someone driving around with an expired paper tag, report it to the Oklahoma Tax Commission. Also, if you are having trouble with a dealership not releasing the title so you can get a tag, contact the Motor Vehicle Commission for help:
Used Motor Vehicle Commission: 405.521.3600
New Motor Vehicle Commission: 405.607.8227