“Ask the DMV” Expert Answers to Common DMV Questions
Santa Paula News
Published: September 25, 2013
Do you have questions about general driving related requirements like registration and insurance? Are you unclear about laws and restrictions related to driving? The California Department of Motor Vehicles has answers. Save Time. Go Online at www.DMV.ca.gov.
Q: I see trucks with their beds filled and none of the items are secured. It’s dangerous if something falls out! Can they be cited for this?
A: Yes. It is illegal to drive any vehicle with an unsafe, unsecured load that is a safety hazard. Loose items such as ladders and buckets in the back of pickup trucks must be secured to ensure the safety of other vehicles.
Q: I saw a funeral procession taking place near my house and this rude driver interrupted the procession to get by. Can the driver be cited?
A: A funeral procession is led by a traffic officer. All vehicles taking part in the procession have windshield markers to identify them. Vehicles taking part in a funeral procession have the right-of-way, and if you interfere, obstruct, or interrupt the funeral procession, you are subject to a citation (CVC §2817). So, yes, that driver could have been cited. For more information, visit http://www.DMV.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d02/vc2817.htm. Remember to Save Time! Go Online!
Q: My brother was convicted of vandalism and said the court threatened to suspend his driver license. Is this an empty threat or does the court have power to do this?
A: Yes the court can suspend your brother’s license. If you are convicted of vandalism, including graffiti, the court can suspend your driver license for up to two years. If you are convicted and do not have a driver license, the courts can delay the issuance of your driver license for up to three years from the date you are legally eligible to drive. For more information on driver license suspension, visit http://www.DMV.ca.gov/hdbk/actions_vandalism_judge.htm. Remember to Save Time! Go Online!
Q: What languages does the California Driver License Handbook come in?
A: The handbook comes in the following languages, which can all be found online at http://DMV.ca.gov/pubs/pubs.htm:
Q: What are “buy-here-pay-here” dealers?
A: They are used car dealers that assign less than 90 percent of their conditional sales and lease contracts to third party lenders; and therefore provide direct financing to car buyers. “Buy-here-pay-here” dealers are prohibited from requiring buyers to make payments in person, except for the down payment. For more information on “buy-here-pay-here” dealers, visit http://DMV.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d01/vc241.htm. Remember to Save Time! Go Online!
Q: I am car shopping and want to go to a dealership that can directly finance the car. I was wondering what information these “buy-here-pay-here” used car dealerships must provide me.
A: AB 1534 requires “buy-here-pay-here” used car dealers to affix and prominently display a label on any used vehicle offered for retail sale that provides the reasonable market value of the vehicle. The label must contain specific information from a recognized pricing guide used to determine that value and the date the value was determined. The prospective purchaser must also be provided with a copy of the information that the dealer used to determine the vehicle’s value.
Q: I saw a Self-Service Terminal at my local DMV and wondered what they are used for and if people actually use them?
A: Yes, they are being used! About 773,688 people used the SSTs in 2012- that’s a 68 percent increase from 2011! Self-Service Terminals (SSTs) allow you to complete your registration renewal or file for Planned Non-Operation (PNO) Status without waiting in line. SSTs accept cash, check; credit/debit cards for payment and a registration card and sticker or PNO Acknowledgement are printed at the terminal after the completion of your transaction. But, if your billing notice indicates insurance or a smog inspection is required, please be sure to complete those requirements first. If not, you can still pay fees so you don’t incur late payment penalties. For more information on SSTs, visit http://www.DMV.ca.gov/fo/fo_sst.htm. Remember to Save Time! Go Online!
Q: I see a lot of information about all of the different things I can do online, instead of going to a field office. I still seem more comfortable going in, though, and wonder how many people are actually using the DMV website instead?
A: The numbers are growing rapidly! Californians conducted more than 11.9 million online transactions during 2012. In fact, there are approximately twenty transactions that can be made online using DMV’s website. Since 1996, the number of services offered online has grown. In addition, customers can also download DMV’s iPhone and Android app for their smartphone. iPhone and Android users now have DMV information and services at their fingertips. Downloading the app is free! DMV was the first state agency to develop an iPhone application in-house, while keeping costs to a minimum. Follow the trend and visit http://www.dmv.ca.gov/online/onlinesvcs.htm. Remember to Save Time! Go Online!
Q: What are the fees that are collected for the Veteran’s license plates used for?
A: The fees for the issuance, renewal and personalization of Veterans Organization license plates benefit the County Veterans Service Officers Fund. The fund is used by local agencies to assist veterans and their families in obtaining benefits and services accrued through military service. For more information on Veterans Organization license plates, please visit, http://www.DMV.ca.gov/online/elp/elp.htm. Remember to Save Time! Go Online!
Q: If the Legacy License Plate Program is implemented, what other fees will be due?
A: In addition to the $50 original plate fee, vehicle owners who purchase replicas of California license plates similar to those issued in the 1950’s, 1960’s, and 1970’s are required to pay:
• $40 for renewal
• $15 to transfer the plates to another vehicle
• $35 for substitute plates
Remember, a minimum of 7,500 pre-paid applications are required prior to January 1, 2015. For more information on the Legacy Plates Program, visit http://www.DMV.ca.gov/legacyplates/index.htm. Remember to Save Time! Go Online!
Q: Do you need to be examined by a medical professional before you are eligible to obtain a commercial driver license?
A: Yes. All drivers applying for, or who hold, any commercial driver license, a certificate to drive a school bus, School Pupil Activity Bus, Youth Bus, General Public Para Transit Vehicle or Farm Labor Vehicle must have their examination performed by a Physician Assistant, Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, Doctor of Medicine, or Doctor of Osteopathy. The Medical Examination Report and Medical Certificate must be signed by the medical examiner that performed the examination. For more information on medical reports, please visit http://www.dmv.ca.gov/forms/dl/dl51.htm
Q: I was arrested for a DUI and the officer confiscated my driver license. How do I get it back?
A: DMV will impose Administrative Per Se (APS) licensing sanctions against individuals arrested for a DUI. If a person is also convicted of a DUI by the court, DMV imposes additional mandatory sanctions. If you are not convicted by the court, you will be eligible to reapply for a license at the end of your APS suspension or revocation period. You must pay a $125 reissue fee to the DMV and file proof of financial responsibility. The reissue fee is $100 if you were under age 21 and were suspended under the Zero Tolerance Law. If it is determined that there is not a basis for the suspension or revocation, your driver license will be reissued or returned to you. For more information on DUI arrests, please visit http://www.DMV.ca.gov/dl/driversafety/dsalcohol.htm#conf
If you are subsequently convicted of a DUI, the court will impose additional fines and penalties. In addition, DMV will impose new mandatory licensing sanctions based on the conviction and the number of prior DUI offenses, which can require an additional $55 reissue fee, proof of financial responsibility, completion of an alcohol treatment program, and in some counties, installation of an ignition interlock device (IID). You will not be eligible to reinstate your driving privileges and get your license back until you meet all reinstatement requirements for either full or restricted driving privileges.
Q: How do I find an Occupational Licensing (OL) Inspector Office?
A: California has 16 OL Inspector Offices located throughout the state. As part of the application process, OL Inspectors perform background verifications and physically inspect places of business for compliance with applicable laws and regulations. The OL Inspectors routinely monitor businesses for continued compliance and also perform annual reviews of Driving Schools and Traffic Violator Schools. Visit http://www.DMV.ca.gov/fo/inspector_office.htm for more information.
Q: What is a STAR station?
A: STAR stations are smog check stations that meet higher performance standards established by the Bureau of Automotive Repair. Some STAR stations are licensed to perform only tests, while others are licensed to perform both tests and repairs. The station is required to post a sign on the services it performs. The new STAR Program began on January 1, 2013, and will replace the Gold Shield and Test Only program. Vehicles with expected high emissions levels are selected for testing at these stations. For more information on smog inspections, visit http://www.DMV.ca.gov/vr/smogfaq.htm
Q: What is the PAS test?
A: The preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test is used by law enforcement to measure the blood alcohol level for suspected drunk drivers. The PAS device is a handheld breath-testing unit that gives an instant and accurate measure of your blood alcohol concentration. For more information on PAS or other chemical testing, visit http://www.DMV.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d06/vc13388.htm
Q: How long is the Purchaser’s Temporary Operating Copy valid?
A: The permit the dealer provides for display on the passenger side of the front window is valid until the plates and stickers are received by the customer, or for 180 days from the sale date, whichever comes first.
Q: How does the DMV protect the public from identity theft?
A: Because the driver license (DL) and identification (ID) card are the primary identification documents in California, they are targets for identity fraud. DMV is doing everything possible to protect your personal information and your identity. For example, DMV employees are continuously trained on fraud document detention. DMV has designed a brochure to help you understand what identity theft is as well as what DMV is doing to protect your identity. To access this brochure, visit http://www.DMV.ca.gov/pubs/brochures/fast_facts/ffdl24.htm
Q: What do I need to get a personalized license plate?
A: You will need current registration on the vehicle, a completed special interest license plate application (REG 17), payment of the appropriate fees. These plates can be ordered online at http://www.DMV.ca.gov/ipp2/welcome.do?localeName=en or mail in a completed form and payment to:
P.O. Box 932345-MSD238
Sacramento, CA 94232-3450
Remember to Save Time! Go Online!