1. Whenever the ownership of a vehicle registered under the provisions of this chapter, chapter 39-18, or chapter 39-29.2 is transferred or assigned, the registration of the vehicle expires and the transferor shall remove the number plates.
2. Upon applying for the transfer of the registration and paying a five dollar fee, a person who transfers or assigns to another person the ownership of a registered vehicle may receive credit for the unused portion of the fees paid for the transferred vehicle. The transferor must use a number plate previously removed pursuant to subsection 1, regardless of whether there is any license fee credit remaining. If the number plate has become lost, stolen, or mutilated, the transferor may apply for duplicate plates. The department may establish procedures that permit the transferor to assign the credit to the transferee if the transferor is the spouse, a sibling, or a lineal ancestor or descendant of the transferee. Any remaining credit on a vehicle owned by a leasing company must be credited to the lessee. One-twelfth of the annual fee must be credited for each month of the registration period remaining after the month in which the transfer is made. The credit may not extend beyond the original expiration of the registration. Except as provided in section 39-04-44 , the credit must be applied to the registration fees for a replacement vehicle. The transferor shall apply for the transfer of registration within thirty days of the purchase of the replacement vehicle.
3. Except as otherwise permitted in this chapter, before the transferee of a registered vehicle may operate the vehicle on a highway, the transferee must apply for and obtain a new registration of the vehicle, as on an original registration. To provide the transferee adequate time to obtain a new registration, the director may provide for the issuance of a temporary registration certificate to permit the transferee to operate the vehicle for thirty days after the date of acquisition. The certificate must be printed on the reverse side of each vehicle registration card and must be available to the transferee from licensed vehicle dealers, law enforcement agencies, and motor vehicle branch offices. The vehicle may be operated for five days from date of purchase without a plate or certificate of ownership if dated evidence of ownership is carried in the vehicle. The evidence of ownership must be in a form as prescribed by the department.
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