Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Key: (1) language to be deleted (2) new language


                         Laws of Minnesota 1988 

                         CHAPTER 647-S.F.No. 63 
           An act relating to motor vehicles; providing for 
          registration of motor vehicles by long-term lessees; 
          providing that passenger automobile license plates be 
          issued for a seven-year period; providing for license 
          plate replacement and late ownership transfer fees; 
          appropriating money; amending Minnesota Statutes 1986, 
          sections 168.011, by adding a subdivision; 168.013, 
          subdivision 7; 168.041, subdivision 7; 168.10, 
          subdivision 1; 168.11, subdivision 1; 168.12, 
          subdivisions 1, 2a, and 5; 168.13; and 168.33, 
          subdivision 3; 168A.10, by adding a subdivision; 
          repealing Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 168.30. 
    Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 168.011, is 
amended by adding a subdivision to read: 
    Subd. 5a.  [REGISTERED OWNER.] "Registered owner" means any 
person, firm, association, or corporation, other than a secured 
party, having title to a motor vehicle.  If a passenger 
automobile, as defined in subdivision 7, is under lease for a 
term of 180 days or more, the lessee is deemed to be the 
registered owner, for purposes of registration only, provided 
that the application for renewal of the registration of a 
passenger automobile described in this subdivision shall be sent 
to the lessor. 
    Sec. 2.  Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 168.013, 
subdivision 7, is amended to read:  
    Subd. 7.  [AGENTS.] Any act required herein of an a 
registered owner may be performed in the registered owner's 
behalf by a duly authorized agent.  Any person having a lien 
upon, or claim to, any motor vehicle may pay any tax due thereon 
to prevent the penalty for delayed registration from accruing, 
but the registration certificate and number plates shall not be 
issued until legal ownership is definitely determined. 
    Sec. 3.  Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 168.041, 
subdivision 7, is amended to read:  
    Subd. 7.  If an a registered owner wishes to sell a motor 
vehicle during the time its registration plates and registration 
certificate are impounded or during the time its registration 
plates bear a special series number, the registered owner may 
apply to the court which impounded such plates and certificate, 
for consent to transfer title to the motor vehicle.  If the 
court is satisfied that the proposed sale is in good faith and 
for a valid consideration, that the registered owner will 
thereby be deprived of the custody and control of the motor 
vehicle, and that the sale is not for the purpose of 
circumventing the provisions of this section, it may certify its 
consent to the registrar of motor vehicles and return the 
impounded registration plates and certificates.  If during the 
time the registration plates and certificate of registration are 
impounded the title to said motor vehicle is transferred by the 
foreclosure of a chattel mortgage, the cancellation of a 
conditional sales contract, a sale upon execution, or by decree 
or order of a court of competent jurisdiction, the court shall 
order the license plates and registration certificate 
surrendered to the new registered owner and notify the registrar 
of motor vehicles of such action.  The registrar of motor 
vehicles shall then transfer the registration plates and 
registration certificates to the new registered owner.  
    Sec. 4.  Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 168.10, 
subdivision 1, is amended to read:  
    Subdivision 1.  [APPLICATION.] Except as provided in 
subdivisions 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d, 1g, and 1h, every registered owner 
of any motor vehicle in this state, not exempted by section 
168.012 or 168.26, shall as soon as registered ownership of a 
motor vehicle is acquired and annually thereafter during the 
period provided in section 168.31, file with the commissioner of 
public safety on a blank provided by the commissioner a listing 
for taxation and application for the registration of such 
vehicle, stating the first, middle and last names, the dates of 
birth, and addresses of all registered owners thereof who are 
natural persons, the full names and addresses of all 
other registered owners, the name and address of the person from 
whom purchased, make of motor vehicle, year and number of the 
model, manufacturer's identification number or serial number, 
type of body, the weight of the vehicle in pounds, for trailers 
only, its rated load carrying capacity and for buses only, its 
seating capacity, and such other information as the commissioner 
may require.  Any false statement willfully and knowingly made 
in regard thereto shall be deemed perjury and punished 
accordingly.  The listing and application for registration by 
dealers or manufacturers' agents within the state, of motor 
vehicles received for sale or use within the state shall be 
accepted as compliance with the requirements of this chapter, 
imposed upon the manufacturer. 
    Registration shall be refused a motor vehicle if the 
original identification or serial number has been destroyed, 
removed, altered, covered or defaced.  However, if the 
commissioner is satisfied on the sworn statements of 
the registered owner or registered owners or such other persons 
as the commissioner may deem advisable that the applicant is the 
legal owner, a special identification number in the form 
prescribed by the commissioner shall be assigned to the motor 
vehicle.  When it has been determined that the number had been 
affixed to such vehicle in a manner prescribed by the 
commissioner, the vehicle may thereafter be registered in the 
same manner as other motor vehicles.  In the case of a new or 
rebuilt motor vehicle manufactured or assembled without an 
identification or serial number, the commissioner may assign an 
identification number to the motor vehicle in the same manner as 
prescribed heretofore. 
    Sec. 5.  Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 168.11, 
subdivision 1, is amended to read:  
    Subdivision 1.  The registrar shall file such application 
and, upon approval thereof and upon payment of the motor vehicle 
tax, as herein provided, together with all arrears and 
penalties, if any, and upon the delivery to the registrar of the 
duly endorsed registration certificate of title of the former 
owner, as hereinafter provided in chapter 168A, or proof of loss 
provided in lieu thereof, shall assign to it a distinctive 
number and issue to the registered owner a registration 
certificate, which shall contain the full name and date of 
birth, place of residence, with street and number, if in a city, 
and post office address of the registered owner, a specific 
description of the vehicle, and the number assigned, together 
with a place on the face of the certificate in which 
the registered owner shall, immediately upon receipt thereof, 
place the registered owner's signature and, on the reverse side 
thereof, an assignment and notice of sale or termination of 
ownership, with places for the signatures of both seller and 
purchaser, and a place for assignment of the credit for the 
tax.  The registration certificate shall be retained by 
the registered owner until expiration or surrender, as herein 
provided.  When in administering this chapter convenience or 
necessity requires, the registration certificate may also be 
called or referred to as the registration card shall be used in 
lieu of the certificate of title on vehicles exempt from chapter 
    Sec. 6.  Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 168.12, 
subdivision 1, is amended to read:  
ISSUANCE.] The registrar, upon the approval and payment, shall 
issue to the applicant the number plates required by law, 
bearing the state name and the number assigned.  The number 
assigned may be a combination of a letter or sign with figures.  
The color of the plates and the color of the abbreviation of the 
state name and the number assigned shall be in marked contrast.  
The plates shall be lettered, spaced, or distinguished to 
suitably indicate the registration of the vehicle according to 
the rules of the registrar, and when a vehicle is registered on 
the basis of total gross weight, the plates issued shall clearly 
indicate by letters or other suitable insignia the maximum gross 
weight for which the tax has been paid.  These number plates 
shall be so treated as to be at least 100 times brighter than 
the conventional painted number plates.  When properly mounted 
on an unlighted vehicle, these number plates, when viewed from a 
vehicle equipped with standard headlights, shall be visible for 
a distance of not less than 1,500 feet and readable for a 
distance of not less than 110 feet.  The registrar shall issue 
these number plates for the following periods: 
    (1) Number plates issued pursuant to sections 168.27, 
subdivisions 16 and 17, and 168.053 shall be for a one-year 
    (2) New number plates issued pursuant to section 168.012, 
subdivision 1, shall be issued to a vehicle for as long as it is 
owned by the exempt agency and shall not be transferable from 
one vehicle to another but may be transferred with the vehicle 
from one tax exempt agency to another;.  
    (3) Plates issued for passenger automobiles as defined in 
section 168.011, subdivision 7, motorcycles, motorized bicycles, 
and motor scooters shall be issued for a six-year seven-year 
period starting not later than October 1986, or until the next 
general reissuance of plates every six years thereafter, 
whichever is less; and.  All plates issued under this paragraph 
must be replaced if they are seven years old or older at the 
time of annual registration or will become so during the 
registration period. 
    (4) Plates for any vehicle not specified in clauses (1), 
(2) and (3), except for trailers as hereafter provided, shall be 
issued for the life of the vehicle.  Beginning with number 
plates issued for the year 1981, plates issued for trailers with 
a total gross weight of 3,000 pounds or less shall be issued for 
the life of the trailer and shall be not more than seven inches 
in length and four inches in width. 
    In a year in which plates are not issued, the registrar 
shall issue for each registration a tab or sticker to designate 
the year of registration.  This tab or sticker shall show the 
calendar year or years for which issued, and is valid only for 
that period.  The number plates, number tabs, or stickers issued 
for a motor vehicle may not be transferred to another motor 
vehicle during the period for which it is issued. 
    Notwithstanding any other provision of this subdivision, 
number plates issued to a vehicle which is used for 
behind-the-wheel instruction in a driver education course in a 
public school may be transferred to another vehicle used for the 
same purpose without payment of any additional fee.  The 
registrar shall be notified of each transfer of number plates 
under this paragraph, and may prescribe a form for notification. 
    Sec. 7.  Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 168.12, 
subdivision 2a, is amended to read:  
    Subd. 2a.  [PERSONALIZED LICENSE PLATES.] Personalized 
license plates must be issued to an applicant for registration 
of a passenger automobile, van, or pickup truck, motorcycle, or 
self-propelled recreational vehicle, upon compliance with the 
laws of this state relating to registration of the vehicle and 
upon payment of a one-time fee of $100 in addition to the 
registration tax required by law for the vehicle.  The 
commissioner shall designate a replacement fee for personalized 
license plates that is calculated to cover the cost of 
replacement.  This fee must be paid whenever the law requires 
the personalized license plates to be replaced.  In lieu of the 
numbers assigned as provided in subdivision 1, personalized 
license plates must have imprinted on them a series of not more 
than six numbers and letters in any combination.  When an 
applicant has once obtained personalized plates, the applicant 
shall have a prior claim for similar personalized plates in the 
next succeeding year that plates are issued if application is 
made for them at least 30 days before the first date that 
registration can be renewed.  The commissioner of public safety 
shall adopt rules in the manner provided by chapter 14, 
regulating the issuance and transfer of personalized license 
plates.  No words or combination of letters placed on 
personalized license plates may be used for commercial 
advertising, be of an obscene, indecent, or immoral nature, or 
be of a nature that would offend public morals or decency.  The 
call signals or letters of a radio or television station are not 
commercial advertising for the purposes of this subdivision. 
    Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision 1, 
personalized license plates issued under this subdivision may be 
transferred to another motor vehicle owned or jointly owned by 
the applicant, upon the payment of a fee of $5, which must be 
paid into the state treasury and credited to the highway user 
tax distribution fund.  The registrar may by rule provide a form 
for notification.  
    Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, if the 
personalized license plates are lost, stolen, or destroyed, the 
applicant may apply and shall receive duplicate license plates 
bearing the same combination of letters and numbers as the 
former personalized plates upon the payment of a $5 fee.  
    The fee prescribed for personalized license plates must be 
paid only in those years in which the number plate itself is 
issued, and must not be payable in a year in which a year plate, 
tab, or sticker is issued in lieu of a number plate. 
    Fees from the sale of permanent and duplicate personalized 
license plates must be paid into the state treasury and credited 
to the highway user tax distribution fund. 
    Sec. 8.  Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 168.12, 
subdivision 5, is amended to read:  
    Subd. 5.  [ADDITIONAL FEE.] In addition to any fee 
otherwise authorized or any tax otherwise imposed upon any motor 
vehicle, the payment of which is required as a condition to the 
issuance of any number license plate or plates, the commissioner 
of public safety may impose a fee of $2 for a license plate for 
a motorcycle, motorized bicycle, or motorized sidecar, and $3 $2 
for license plates, other than license plates issued pursuant to 
section 168.27, subdivisions 16 and 17, for passenger 
automobiles; provided that no fee is required for plates issued 
within one calendar year before a general reissuance of plates 
under subdivision 1.  Graphic design license plates shall only 
be issued for vehicles registered pursuant to section 168.017 
and recreational vehicles registered pursuant to section 
168.013, subdivision 1g. 
    Sec. 9.  Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 168.13, is 
amended to read:  
    168.13 [PROOF OF OWNERSHIP.] 
    The registrar shall approve no application and issue no 
number plates for any motor vehicle, except such as may have 
come direct from the manufacturer, or from another state, unless 
and until the registration title certificate theretofore issued 
or proof of loss thereof by sworn statement shall be under 
chapter 168A is delivered to the registrar, who shall be 
satisfied from the records that all taxes and fees due hereunder 
shall have been paid, and endorsements upon the certificate or 
sworn proof of loss, are in writing, and have been signed by the 
seller and purchaser, shall furnish proof that the applicant for 
registration is paying or receiving credit for the tax upon the 
vehicle of which the applicant is the rightful possessor; or, in 
case such certificate or proof is not available, the registrar, 
or the registrar's deputy, shall be satisfied of such fact by 
personal view of the motor vehicle serial and motor numbers and 
by proof of the claim of ownership thereof.  
    Motor vehicles brought into Minnesota from other states 
shall not be registered or have number plates issued therefor 
until such registration certificate or other evidence of title 
as may reasonably be required from the registrant within that 
state be surrendered to the registrar in the same manner as 
certificates of this state, or in lieu thereof, such view and 
evidence of the chain of ownership be had as will assure the 
payment of the proper tax so long as the motor vehicle shall be 
in the state.  
    Sec. 10.  Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 168.33, 
subdivision 3, is amended to read:  
    Subd. 3.  [RECORD.] The registrar shall keep a suitable 
record of all motor vehicles registered in the registrar's 
office, indexed, according to registration number, according to 
name of the registered owner, according to make of motor vehicle 
and the factory identification number for such makes as are so 
identified or according to the serial number of such makes as 
are so identified until the manufacturers thereof adopt and use 
an identification number, and according to such other 
information as the registrar shall deem advisable.  Duplicates 
of the certificate of registration shall be used, until a more 
efficient system is evolved, to make the registration number and 
registered owner's indexes herein required, and such other 
copies as are desirable.  The registrar may furnish to any one 
applying therefor transcripts of such records for not less than 
the cost of preparing the same; provided, that any sums in 
excess of such cost received by the registrar for furnishing 
such transcripts shall be paid by the registrar into the state 
treasury.  The registrar shall also furnish copies thereof, 
without charge, to the chiefs of police of the cities of 
Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Duluth. 
    Sec. 11.  Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 168A.10, is 
amended by adding a subdivision to read: 
    Subd. 6.  Every owner or transferor of a motor vehicle who 
fails or delays for more than 14 days to file the transfer of 
ownership with the registrar shall pay the registrar a fee of $2.
    Sec. 12.  [APPROPRIATION.] 
    $103,000 is appropriated from the highway user tax 
distribution fund to the commissioner of public safety to 
implement sections 1 to 5, and 9 to 11. 
    Sec. 13.  [REPEALER.] 
    Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 168.30, is repealed. 
    Sec. 14.  [EFFECTIVE DATE.] 
    Sections 6 and 8 are effective January 1, 1989.  Section 7 
is effective the day following final enactment. 
    Approved April 26, 1988

Official Publication of the State of Minnesota
Revisor of Statutes