In Alabama, the plates stay with the person, not the vehicle. Bought 2 and sold 2 cars last year, so I know the hassle of selling or buying private party, but still worth it on both ends as you get a better deal. On both of the sales, they gave me a deposit. Until I got the bank check I didn't sign over the title. We also have to have a bill of sale, and the date of the BOS must match the date you sign over the title. Had a little issue there, as the guy I bought my Jeep from wrote the BOS up for the wrong date, and he had to do another one before I could title it and get a tag in my name. But once you sign it over and take your plates off of it, you can take the BOS and your tag receipt with you to get the tag put on your new vehicle. Or you can get a refund for the unused portion. One of the old ones was in mine and my wife's name, and she put her truck in her name for the title, and since we hadn't sold the 2 cars yet she just got a new tag. Once we sold one, she took it down and got a refund issued for the old tag. It was just a prorated thing. The tag had been on there about 7 months, so we got the prorated amount for 5 months back on the fees.