(a)(1)(A) Except as provided in subsections (b) and (d) of this Code section and subsection (a) of Code Section 40-2-47 , every owner of a motor vehicle, including a tractor or motorcycle, and every owner of a trailer shall, during the owner's registration period in each year, register such vehicle as provided in this chapter and obtain a license to operate it for the 12 month period until such person's next registration period.
(B)(i) The purchaser or other transferee owner of every new or used motor vehicle, including tractors and motorcycles, or trailer shall register such vehicle as provided in Code Section 40-2-8 and obtain or transfer as provided in this chapter a license to operate it for the period remaining until such person's next registration period which immediately follows such initial registration period, without regard to whether such next registration period occurs in the same calendar year as the initial registration period or how soon such next registration period follows the initial registration period; provided, however, that this registration and licensing requirement does not apply to a dealer which acquires a new or used motor vehicle and holds it for resale. The commissioner may provide by rule or regulation for one 30 day extension of such initial registration period which may be granted by the county tag agent if the transferor has not provided such purchaser or other transferee owner with a title to the motor vehicle more than five business days prior to the expiration of such initial registration period. The county tag agent shall grant an extension of the initial registration period when the transferor, purchaser, or transferee can demonstrate by affidavit in a form provided by the commissioner that title has not been provided to the purchaser or transferee due to the failure of a security interest or lienholder to timely release a security interest or lien in accordance with Code Section 40-3-56 .
(ii) No person, company, or corporation, including, but not limited to, used motor vehicle dealers and auto auctions, shall sell or transfer a motor vehicle without providing to the purchaser or transferee of such motor vehicle the last certificate of registration on such vehicle at the time of such sale or transfer; provided, however, that in the case of a salvage motor vehicle or a motor vehicle which is stolen but subsequently recovered by the insurance company after payment of a total loss claim, the salvage dealer or insurer, respectively, shall not be required to provide the certificate of registration for such vehicle; and provided, further, that in the case of a repossessed motor vehicle or a court ordered sale or other involuntary transfer, the lienholder or the transferor shall not be required to provide the certificate of registration for such vehicle but shall, prior to the sale of such vehicle, surrender the license plate of such vehicle to the commissioner or the county tag agent by personal delivery or by certified mail or statutory overnight delivery for cancellation.
(C) The county tag agent may issue a temporary operating permit for any vehicle that fails to comply with applicable federal emission standards, provided that the owner of such vehicle has provided verification of the existence of minimum motor vehicle liability insurance coverage and paid all applicable taxes, penalties, insurance lapse fees, and fees other than the registration fee. Such temporary operating permit shall be valid for 30 days and shall not be renewable.
(2) An application for the registration of a motor vehicle may not be submitted separately from the application for a certificate of title for such motor vehicle, unless a certificate of title has been issued in the owner's name, has been applied for in the owner's name, or the motor vehicle is not required to be titled. An application for a certificate of title for a motor vehicle may be submitted separately from the application for the registration of such motor vehicle.
(b) Subsection (a) of this Code section shall not apply:
(1) To any motor vehicle or trailer owned by the state or any municipality or other political subdivision of this state and used exclusively for governmental functions except to the extent provided by Code Section 40-2-37 ;
(2) To any tractor or three-wheeled motorcycle used only for agricultural purposes;
(2.1) To any vehicle or equipment used for transporting cargo or containers between and within wharves, storage areas, or terminals within the facilities of any port under the jurisdiction of the Georgia Ports Authority when such vehicle or equipment is being operated upon any public road not part of The Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways by the owner thereof or his or her agent within a radius of ten miles of the port facility of origin and accompanied by an escort vehicle equipped with one or more operating amber flashing lights that are visible from a distance of 500 feet;
(3) To any trailer which has no springs and which is being employed in hauling unprocessed farm products to their first market destination;
(4) To any trailer which has no springs, which is pulled from a tongue, and which is used primarily to transport fertilizer to a farm;
(5) To any electric powered personal transportation vehicle;
(6) To any moped; or
(7) To any golf car.
(c) Any person who fails to register a new or used motor vehicle as required in subsection (a) of this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $100.00.
(d) Upon the payment of the requisite fee, the purchaser of a new motor vehicle passenger car, as such terms are defined in paragraphs (34) and (41) of Code Section 40-1-1 , for which such purchaser has paid state and local title ad valorem taxes may choose to register such passenger car for an initial period of two years instead of the annual registration provided for in this Code section, provided that the motor vehicle owner does not elect a prestige or special license plate. Thereafter, such passenger car shall be subject to the annual registration requirements of this Code section.
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