Part 3. Registration and Certificates of Titles of Motor Vehicles.

20-50. Owner to secure registration and certificate of title; temporary registration markers.

(a) A vehicle intended to be operated upon any highway of this State must be registered with the Division in accordance with G.S. 20-52, and the owner of the vehicle must comply with G.S. 20-52 before operating the vehicle. A vehicle that is leased to an individual who is a resident of this State is a vehicle intended to be operated upon a highway of this State.

The Commissioner of Motor Vehicles or the Commissioner's duly authorized agent is empowered to grant a special one-way trip permit to move a vehicle without license upon good cause being shown. When the owner of a vehicle leases the vehicle to a carrier of passengers or property and the vehicle is actually used by the carrier in the operation of its business, the license plates may be obtained by the lessee, upon written consent of the owner, after the certificate of title has been obtained by the owner. When the owner of a vehicle leases the vehicle to a farmer and the vehicle is actually used by the farmer in the operation of a farm, the license plates may be obtained by the farmer at the applicable farmer rate, upon written consent of the owner, after the certificate of title has been obtained by the owner. The lessee shall make application on an appropriate form furnished by the Division and file such evidence of the lease as the Division may require.

(b) The Division may issue a temporary license plate for a vehicle. A temporary license plate is valid for the period set by the Division. The period may not be less than 10 days nor more than 60 days.

A person may obtain a temporary license plate for a vehicle by filing an application with the Division and paying the required fee. An application must be filed on a form provided by the Division.

The fee for a temporary license plate that is valid for 10 days is ten dollars ($10.00). The fee for a temporary license plate that is valid for more than 10 days is the amount that would be required with an application for a license plate for the vehicle. If a person obtains for a vehicle a temporary license plate that is valid for more than 10 days and files an application for a license plate for that vehicle before the temporary license plate expires, the person is not required to pay the fee that would otherwise be required for the license plate.

A temporary license plate is subject to the following limitations and conditions:

(1) It may be issued only upon proper proof that the applicant has met the applicable financial responsibility requirements.

(2) It expires on midnight of the day set for expiration.

(3) It may be used only on the vehicle for which issued and may not be transferred, loaned, or assigned to another.

(4) If it is lost or stolen, the person who applied for it must notify the Division.

(5) It may not be issued by a dealer.

(6) The provisions of G.S. 20-63, 20-71, 20-110 and 20-111 that apply to license plates apply to temporary license plates insofar as possible. (1937, c. 407, s. 15; 1943, c. 648; 1945, c. 956, s. 3; 1947, c. 219, s. 2; 1953, c. 831, s. 3; 1957, c. 246, s. 2; 1961, c. 360, s. 1; 1963, c. 552, s. 1; 1973, c. 919; 1975, c. 462; c. 716, s. 5; c. 767, s. 1; 1995, c. 394, s. 1; 1999-438, s. 26; 2005-276, s. 44.1(i); 2015-241, s. 29.35(b).)