20-64. Transfer of registration plates to another vehicle.

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this Article, registration plates shall be retained by the owner thereof upon disposition of the vehicle to which assigned, and may be assigned to another vehicle, belonging to such owner and of a like vehicle category within the meaning of G.S. 20-87 and 20-88, upon proper application to the Division and payment of a transfer fee and such additional fees as may be due because the vehicle to which the plates are to be assigned requires a greater registration fee than that vehicle to which the license plates were last assigned. In cases where the plate is assigned to another vehicle belonging to such owner, and is not of a like vehicle category within the meaning of G.S. 20-87 and 20-88, the owner shall surrender the plate to the Division and receive therefor a plate of the proper category, and the unexpired portion of the fee originally paid by the owner for the plate so surrendered shall be a credit toward the fee charged for the new plate of the proper category. Provided, that the owner shall not be entitled to a cash refund when the registration fee for the vehicle to which the plates are to be assigned is less than the registration fee for that vehicle to which the license plates were last assigned. An owner assigning or transferring plates to another vehicle as provided herein shall be subject to the same assessments and penalties for use of the plates on another vehicle or for improper use of the plates, as he could have been for the use of the plates on the vehicle to which last assigned. Provided, however, that upon compliance with the requirements of this section, the registration plates of vehicles owned by and registered in the name of a corporation may be transferred and assigned to a like vehicle category within the meaning of G.S. 20-87 and 20-88, upon the showing that the vehicle to which the transfer and assignment is to be made is owned by a corporation which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the corporation applying for such transfer and assignment.

(b) Upon a change of the name of a corporation or a change of the name under which a proprietorship or partnership is doing business, the corporation, partnership or proprietorship shall forthwith apply for correction of the certificate of title of all vehicles owned by such corporation, partnership or proprietorship so as to correctly reflect the name of the corporation or the name under which the proprietorship or partnership is doing business, and pay the fees required by law.

(c) Upon a change in the composition of a partnership, ownership of vehicles belonging to such partnership shall not be deemed to have changed so long as one partner of the predecessor partnership remains a partner in the reconstituted partnership, but the reconstituted partnership shall forthwith apply for correction of the certificate of title of all vehicles owned by such partnership so as to correctly reflect the composition of the partnership and the name under which it is doing business, if any, and pay the fees required by law.

(d) When a proprietorship or partnership is incorporated, the corporation shall retain license plates assigned to vehicles belonging to it and may use the same, provided the corporation applies for and obtains transfers of the certificates of title of all vehicles and pays the fees required by law.

(e) Upon death of the owner of a registered vehicle, such registration shall continue in force as a valid registration until the end of the year for which the license is issued unless ownership of the vehicle passes or is transferred to any person other than the surviving spouse before the end of the year.

(f) The owner or transferor of a registered vehicle who surrenders the registration plate to the division may secure a refund for the unexpired portion of such plate prorated on a monthly basis, beginning the first day of the month following surrender of the plate to the division, provided the annual fee of such surrendered plate is sixty dollars ($60.00) or more. This refund may not exceed one half of the annual license fee. No refund shall be made unless the owner or transferor furnishes proof of financial responsibility on the registered vehicle effective until the date of the surrender of the plate. Proof of financial responsibility shall be furnished in a manner prescribed by the Commissioner.

(g) The Commissioner of Motor Vehicles shall have the power to make such rules and regulations as he may deem necessary for the administration of transfers of license plates and vehicles under this Article. (1937, c. 407, s. 28; 1945, c. 576, s. 1; 1947, c. 914, s. 1; 1951, c. 188; c. 819, s. 1; 1961, c. 360, s. 5; 1963, cc. 1067, 1190; 1967, c. 995; 1973, c. 1134; 1975, c. 716, s. 5; 1981, c. 227; 2004-167, s. 1; 2004-199, s. 59; 2007-491, s. 5.)