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In case your license plates or registration card get stolen, lost or defaced, you have to apply for a replacement at your local DMV office. You are not allowed to drive your car without valid license plates, so you must obtain a replacement as soon as possible after they get lost or stolen.
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You can apply for a duplicate registration by mail or in person. If you want to do it in person, it's best if you make an appointment before you go to the DMV, for faster service. You have to submit a valid driver's license, along with a copy of your car's title, complete an application for registration replacement, and pay the replacement fee, which is less than $10 in most states. If your plates have been damaged, you have to surrender them to the DMV. If they've been stolen, you have to report it to a local law enforcement agency.
If you want to apply for duplicate license plates by mail, you have to complete an application for replacement plates, provide a proof that you are the legal owner of the vehicle, and your current address must be the same as the address the DMV has on record, otherwise, you will first have to inform the DMV that you have changed your address, and then apply for replacement plates.
If your vehicle registration has expired, you won't be able to replace your license plates. In this case, you have to pay the appropriate renewal fees, and then apply for duplicate plates.