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Maine trailer registration still legal in NY ???

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by john56h, Feb 4, 2009.

  1. john56h
    Joined: Jan 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,767


    I've heard recently of a few New Yorkers being hassled about their trailers being registered in Maine as out-of-state-residents. I have never had any trouble in the ten or so years that I've had my open trailer registered in Maine, but using it mostly on New York highways.

    Supposedly, NY police are now saying the Maine plates are "the same as having no plate". Perhaps this applies to commercial use? Does anyone have any light to shed on the subject? I'd like to find out before trailering season begins.

  2. john56h
    Joined: Jan 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,767


    I think I may have found what the NY Police are "catching" people with Maine plates in violation of.


    The link is to a Maine DMV page that gives specific requirements for safety inspection of certain trailers. I have printed the brochure version to carry in my truck in case I get pulled over and questioned. Looks to me like the trailers are exempt from inspection if their gross weight is 7000 lbs or less AND the trailer/truck combination is NOT used for commerce. That covers me okay, because my trailer has dual 3500 lb axles and I am not a business (just hobbyist racer).

    Here is how Maine DMV determines whether or not a "commerce" use:

    "For purposes of the Commercial Motor Vehicle regulations, you are in commerce if there is an expectation or possibility of earning money (above reasonable expenses), or receiving other valuable considerations. Competing for prize money at a fair would be considered commerce only if the underlying activity generates income (such as selling animals), or related expenses are taken as an income tax deduction, or if corporate sponsorship is involved. Simply winning a nominal cash prize is not commerce."

    Looks like you guys with larger race trailers, or that are businesses, might indeed be in be careful!
  3. jetmek
    Joined: Jan 12, 2006
    Posts: 1,844


    i assume your reason for doing this is its cheaper to reg out of state? the fuzz are looking to collect $ any way they can. i got the treatment 2x this past year pulling my trailer ( ny reg btw). once they were waiting at a t-way toll both anther pulled over just to ask where i was going/coming from etc. seems they can pull you over now with no justification.
  4. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 5,448


    A buddy of mine has his 5th wheel registered in Maine, as a way of avoiding paying tax on the purchase price and cheap reg. Seemed a little "iffy" to me, but, he drags it all over the country.
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  5. Pontiac Slim
    Joined: Jan 16, 2003
    Posts: 1,188

    Pontiac Slim
    Member Emeritus

    Strange.. have friends here in Maine that reg. motorhomes in Vt.
    Pontiac Slim
  6. gaspumpchas
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 175


    Just reg'ed my 22 ft flatbed trl inn maine; easy enough and 1/3 the price of nys thieves, plus all NY dmv fees going up 25% thanks to the jerks in albany that ran NY into the ground. If I get stopped, I'll do what I do best and play dumb... they would rather hassle u about that than chase a criminal..stay tuned.....


    The only difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits- A. Einstein
  7. purdysd
    Joined: Nov 2, 2006
    Posts: 20


    I live in NY and have 3 cars registered in Maine (all < 1960). Never a problem so far. I have heard that they have been giving some comercial businesses with trailers a warning. It's no different than registering a company in the state of Delaware for tax purposes; they all do it. NY has gotten out of hand with their taxation. We are the second largest taxed state in the US. I'm planning on moving south just as soon as I can retire!
  8. john56h
    Joined: Jan 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,767


    I printed the Maine State Motor Vehicle literature to carry with me when towing. At least if I get stopped by an uninformed cop, I can show him the rules and that I comply.

    Here's the on the "open" button
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2009
  9. gaspumpchas
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 175


    Thanks for the Link, John...printed and will carry...Charlie


    " here's one for justice....."
  10. Angry Frenchman
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 1,690

    Angry Frenchman

    born free, tax to death
  11. NYS requires a yearly inspection of trailers that get towed behind cars and trucks, too. Owners don't seem to realize it and my bet is that they'll start nailing residents for THAT, too. Having been "on the job" in Upstate NY for 20 years (retired now), I know that the Vehicle and Traffic laws are NOT to make the roads safer, but to add to the coffers of State and Local governments...ANY way they can. In my town, it's big money nailing people for not showing a front plate, or the plate being "dirty/illegible". I registered my 32 in Florida, just so I wouldn't have to run a plate on the front of the car, plaster all the damn NYS stickers all over my windshield, and put cycle fenders on my wheels. THAT'LL piss 'em off...but there isn't a damn thing they can do about it!
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2009
  12. john56h
    Joined: Jan 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,767


    "NYS requires a yearly inspection of trailers that get towed behind cars and trucks, too. Owners don't seem to realize it and my bet is that they'll start nailing residents for THAT, too."

    ...but, is that NY requirement valid for a trailer legally registered in Maine where their law says that no inspection is required if 7000 lbs or less and not used for commerce?
  13. Slag Kustom
    Joined: May 10, 2004
    Posts: 4,315

    Slag Kustom

    if you guys are going to play the out of state game make sure you have everything out of state.

    it looks really bad towing out of state trailer in your name with a instate truck also in your name.

    i think it is a $5000 fine for it

    they can also check your easy pass to see where the bill goes to and if you have been in the state you claim to live.
  14. NYS goes by the V&T laws of the State the vehicle is registered in...for the most part. As an example, FL doesn't require a helmet for a Motorcycle rider, but if you're a FL rider riding a bike in NYS you must wear one.
  15. john56h
    Joined: Jan 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,767


    We're not "pretending" to be Maine residents. The State of Maine has trailer registration laws that allow out-of-state residents to register their trailers legally in Maine. I believe the intention of the relaxed laws were for vacationers/campers who seasonally reside in Maine and would like to leave their trailer there in the off-season. No need to tow it home to get an inspection on it.

    So, we are not tricking anyone, just trying to take advantage of an economical and convenient way of keeping a trailer used for recreational/hobby purposes on the road. I have done so for about ten years without any trouble, but recently had heard of others being hassled in NY due to trailering with Maine plates. I think I found the problem...the trailers over 7000 lb weight capacity, or used commercially, must be inspected which would negate any benefit to registering in Maine. In my case, I'm not commercial and trailer is 7000 lbs max, so I'm legal (I hope).
  16. bulletholeracing
    Joined: Feb 18, 2010
    Posts: 1

    from NY

    So does anyone have a reference to the Maine law that allows for out-of-state people to register <7000lb GVWR trailers. It might be handy to have that in case NY decides to pull you over.
  17. OldBuzzard
    Joined: Mar 8, 2008
    Posts: 879


    Just went around on this with the registry in Maine. They will register your vehicle or trailer but you are subject to the laws of your state regarding such things. Just because it is legal in Maine, it may not be legal in your state. Mass is one of those places where one had best not get into any problems on the road with a Maine trailer plate, a Mass license and a Mass reg on your vehicle. Or with a Mass licence and a Maine plate on the vehicle you are driving that is registered to you. I know it is being done but it could lead to problems.
  18. Antny
    Joined: Aug 19, 2009
    Posts: 1,071

    from Noo Yawk

    How much money does one save by playing this game, anyway? What are we talking about here, 100's of dollars per year? Or thousands?
  19. ssffnomad
    Joined: Jul 23, 2008
    Posts: 564


    1) No state INSP
    2)only have to deal with it every 7 years
    3)Less costly per year
  20. My buddy just registeres everything as Farm, but he has a place that can pass for a farm. I think a car trailer is only $70 or so a year and the later in the year you register it the cheaper it is. When I got a plate for my 510-lb single axle it cost me all of 10 bucks. The postage back and forth to get a Maine tag would cost that much.
  21. mkmkmk
    Joined: Dec 19, 2010
    Posts: 1

    from sf

    Please contact me at MBI Trailers in Scarborough Maine for how to registers your trailers from New York or in Maine. Generally no sales tax and its only 90 dollars for a 5 year plate. Please feel free to contact us at


    I understand that this forum is not intended for commercial purposes I came across this post after doing research and wanted to relay my information in helping anyone in this community with regards to registering in Maine. You can find out why so many trailers are registered in Maine. Please feel free to contact me as I am happy to help

    Sam Kelley
  22. tjm73
    Joined: Feb 17, 2006
    Posts: 3,207


    That's just like a seat belt law. They apply regardless of where you are from. The difference is a vehicle registered in/from a different state doesn't need to comply with NY's inspection. If someone from VA. travels to NY, their car doesn't have to meet the NY inspection requirements. A guy from FL doesn't have to pull into the first NY inspection station and have his car inspected becase that's NY's rule. His car or trailer only has to meet the laws of the state it is registered in. I'd be very surprised if they could make the NY resident comply with NY laws for the trailer registered in Maine since the rules that apply are based on the state in which it is registered.

    Now if NY passed a law that said residents of NY could not register their vehicles in other states while they maintained a legally recognized NY residence, this would all go down very differently.
  23. LadyInMaine
    Joined: Apr 23, 2013
    Posts: 1

    from Maine

    Registering your trailer in Maine is cheaper and more convenient especially if you have a large fleet of trailers. Can you imagine hunting down hundreds of trailers all over the U.S. just to put a sticker on the plate??? This is how it was once done in Maine until my relative petitioned legislation for Longterm plates - plates that are good for 2 to 20 years. WOW! No more chasing down your fleet!

    Maine is (so far) the only State that has Longterm plates for which you pay ahead of time or, as of right now, can make payments.

    No annual inspections on some trailers.

    I did just read a newspaper article that stated it is illegal in Delaware to register your trailer in another State so you need to check with your state laws. Bureau of Motor Vehicles or Department of Motor Vehicles? If it is not illegal, then you can register in any state.

    For more info. see The oldest agent in the State of Maine. :)
  24. Spuddy98
    Joined: Mar 30, 2014
    Posts: 1


    I know this is an old thread but here is my two cents from my experience. If you are a resident of New York State I believe state law REQUIRES that you register your vehicles ( trailers too) in NYS. While the state may respect driver license, vehicle registrations from other states I do not believe they are in the business of enforcing other states laws. You still need to comply with NYS requirements of good tires, exhaust, windshield, seat belt use etc. for all the people that say "well I have a house in Florida and have a car registered there!" It die sent matter what any other state allows. You get caught in NYS with a NYS driver license and a vehicle or trailer registered in your name somewhere else you can be cited. Does it happen? YES! Does it happen often? Unlikely. Do most police even know this law? Don't know but seriously doubt it. I felt guilty about 4 years ago and just to be safe I change from my Maine registration @ $25 per year to a whopper of a bill at $125/ year! BUT I'M LEGAL.
  25. Engine man
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,020

    Engine man
    from Wisconsin

    I know a man who lived in Wisconsin but registered his vehicles in South Dakota by using an address in South Dakota. It was a problem when his drivers license lists a Wisconsin address.

    Budweiser had all of their trailers registered in Maine but corporations can probably get by with it by maintaining an office in Maine. Maine makes money on trailers that are never in the state while the states that maintain the roads that the trailers run on get no money.

    The states used to require commercial vehicles to be registered in every state they operated in. I recall seeing license plates with another plate alongside with stickers from many states. Reciprocity deals were made to allow vehicles to operate from state to state but I think there are still states that require a fuel permit. If you purchase fuel in a state you pay taxes that are used to maintain roads. Some states fuel taxes are higher than others so there is the temptation to fill up in a state where fuel is cheaper before driving into the higher taxed state which leaves the higher taxed state short of money to repair roads. The answer seems to be toll roads where you pay by the axle and miles driven but toll roads are a pain.
  26. bandit14569
    Joined: Jul 18, 2011
    Posts: 69


    I just renewed my tandem axle car trailer last week. Under #7000 lbs and it was $39.00 in wyo. county, western N.Y. The advantage of Maine is a 7yr reg. so i guess in NY that would equal $273 over 7yrs if it stayed the same. How much is a 7yr Maine reg?
  27. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 7,755

    Blue One
    from Alberta

    I have not read all of the posts in this thread so am not aware of the different reasons for having a trailer registered in another state.

    It seems common sense to me however that living in NY it would be a requirement to have all your vehicles registered in your home state including trailers.

    Anything else just seems wrong and shady and I don't blame anyone in the least from trying to stop it.

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