AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — Roses are red, and so is the 2023 sticker that should be on your license plates by now.

But a few Aurora Police officers spent their Valentine’s Day searching for something yellow: expired 2022 tags.

“It is crazy the amount of expired plates there are out there,” Aurora Police spokesperson Matthew Longshore said.

The ‘dead giveaway’ for expired vehicle registration

Just in the Aurora Municipal Center parking lot, FOX31 found nearly a dozen 2022 registrations and even one from 2021. 

Most Colorado drivers get a one-month grace period to renew registrations, meaning you’re still OK if your plates expired in January 2023.

But Longshore said the yellow 2022 tags are now an obvious sign that drivers are not up to date.

“The yellow tags were a dead giveaway,” he said. “We’d run the plate and if it came back expired, we were going to make that stop.”

Tags expired? Prepare to pay

People caught with expired registrations are given a court summons and can also face late fee fines from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Aurora Police posted about the operation on Facebook and received multiple comments from people questioning the move.

“Great use of police resources to go after people who are already struggling,” one commenter wrote.

“Worry about real crime, not expired plates,” another wrote.

But Longshore said expired tags are often a sign of a bigger problem, like a stolen car or a driver without insurance.

“Some people are like, ‘Why don’t you go out and catch bad guys?'” he said. “Well, you’d be surprised by the amount of guns and drugs and people wanted for crimes like murder are contacted on these simple traffic stops.”