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Criminal Offense of Failing to Provide Proof of a Vehicle’s Inspection

Many states require a motorist to obtain a vehicle inspection before the vehicle can be titled in the state. The inspections in most states consist of two primary parts. The first part of the inspection is a safety inspection, which covers such items as tires, brakes, and windows. The second part of the inspection is an exhaust emissions inspection, which checks the vehicle's exhaust and tests the fuel system for leaks.

Upon successfully passing such an inspection, a certificate is issued as proof that the motor vehicle has passed the inspection. In most states requiring such inspections, failing to provide proof of a vehicle's inspection is a misdemeanor. Some states, for example California, suspend the registration of a motor vehicle where the motorist is unable or unwilling to provide proof of the vehicle's inspection.

Many of the inspection requirements were enacted to conform to the 1990 Clean Air Act. The Act takes a comprehensive approach to reducing pollution from motor vehicles and provides for cleaning up fuels, cars, trucks, buses and other motor vehicles. Auto inspection provisions were included in the Act to ensure that cars are well maintained.