California Asks Residents To Rat Out Neighbors With Out-Of-State Car Registrations

When you move to California from another state, the law only provides you a few weeks to register your car in California. But between the dread of dealing with bureaucrats and the state’s high registration fees, some drivers are perfectly content with just keeping those out-of-state tags on their vehicles. But authorities in California are asking residents — and have made it very easy — to rat on their neighbors for no updating their registrations.

The California Highway Patrol, an organization known around the world thanks to Erik Estrada’s fine dramatic work, has launched a program called Californians Help Eliminate All The Evasive Registration Scofflaws, which is a loooong way to go just to justify calling the program CHEATERS.

CHEATERS has actually been around for a bit, but the cash-strapped state is making a renewed push to remind residents that they have an easy way to peg a $400 fine on that jerk down the block who not only doesn’t mow his lawn, but has also been driving a Volvo with Oregon plates for two years now.

All they have to do is go to this website and provide pertinent info about the offending vehicle and where it was spotted… And then just sit back and wait for the CHiPs to roll up on that guy with his overgrown lawn and beat-up, out-of-state, hunk of metal.

“Most of the people in California, the vast, vast majority of them, are good upstanding people. They contribute and pay their registration, and they expect the same from the other people on the roadway,” a Highway Patrol officer tells CBS San Francisco, before putting on his mirrored glasses and riding off to some badass theme music.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Magical Pig says:

    More power to them. Fight the man! Occupy Chick Fil A! Wait what?

  2. dush says:

    If they state would have a simpler and cheaper registration they wouldn’t have this problem

    • Velvet Jones says:

      Of course, but then they would loose all of that money from enforcement. Government does this all of the time. They propose what sounds like a common sense law or fee. Then they either raise the fee, raise the enforcement, or both. Seat belt laws started the same way. It was originally only suppose to be a secondary offense with a tiny fine. Now you have “click-it or ticket” campaigns everywhere, seat belt checkpoints, and the fines are outrageous. Remember, the registration issue is what got Davis kicked out of the mansion.

      • NeverLetMeDown2 says:

        For seatbelt enforcement, we should stop the click it or ticket efforts, and just eliminate all liability and health insurance payouts for people who aren’t wearing seatbelts. Don’t want to wear one? Fine, but you don’t get to cost the rest of us money.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        You had me until you used seat belts as your example. There’s no reason every occupant of a vehicle shouldn’t be using a seat belt, period.

        • Actionable Mango says:

          People who need donor organs might disagree with you.

        • El_Fez says:

          And what if I drive off a bridge, and the car starts filling with water and I need to get out in a hurry!

          Provided that my car didn’t explode on impact, that is.

        • Velvet Jones says:

          Try reading again. I said the seat belt program started off as a good idea. Unfortunately it has morphed in to a monster though. It a good example of government gone bad.

        • Libertas1 says:

          Unless it’s your vehicle or passengers that you have direct control over, e.g. your kids, there is no reason why you should make that decision for me.

          We are a nation of hall monitors that need to relearn that what I choose to do with my life is none of your concern.

  3. JF says:

    Wow. They are going to waste a lot of time harassing military members with this one.

    • Marlin says:

      Why? If you live in CA it has to be registered. If you think that is bad see what VA does to Vets even though we have N.Va which has a lot of Vets.

      • somedaysomehow says:

        Property tax is *local* in Virginia, not state-wide. Virginia isn’t the one doing it to you, your county is. Northern Virginia is home to the state’s most affluent residents, so yes, property tax tends to be higher there. If you don’t like it, appeal to your local government, elect a different local government, or move to a different locality.

        Virginia’s tax burden is among the lowest in the country.

        • somedaysomehow says:

          Ah, I missed what you were saying here (your post a little further down clarified). Disregard my previous post.

      • who? says:

        If you are active duty military, your car can be registered either in your home state, or in the state where you are currently stationed. California has a lot of active duty military who keep their cars registered in their home states, because car registration is cheaper in Oklahoma or Tennessee than it is in CA. So yes, this will cause a lot of harassment of military servicemembers.

    • VA_White says:

      Exactly what I was thinking. We have two cars with Texas plates because my husband is active duty and we are not obliged to re-register our cars here. I will be 100 kinds of mad if we get harassed about out our of state tags.

      • Marlin says:

        Here are the rules for Military in CA…

        Nonresident Military Personnel Operating a Vehicle in California
        Nonresident military personnel, and both military or civilian members of NATO who are not citizens of the United States are permitted to operate a vehicle in this state with valid license plates from either:

        •the individual’s home state or country or
        •the state or country where the individual was regularly assigned and stationed when the license plates were issued, if the following requirements are met:
        1.The license plates displayed on the vehicle are valid plates issued by a foreign jurisdiction.
        2.The vehicle registration and license plates are issued to the military person or spouse of the military person.
        3.The vehicle registration and license plates are issued by the foreign jurisdiction where the military person was last regularly assigned and stationed for duty by military orders or a jurisdiction claimed by the nonresident military person as the permanent state of residence.
        4.If the vehicle is a motor vehicle, the owner or driver has insurance.
        NOTE: Military orders do not include military orders for leave, for temporary duty, or for any other assignment of any nature requiring the military person’s presence outside the foreign jurisdiction where the owner was regularly assigned and stationed for duty.

        This section applies to all vehicles owned by the military person or spouse except any commercial vehicle used in any business manner wherein the military person or spouse receives compensation.


    • MarkVII says:

      Unless something has changed since I was in the service, the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act (a federal statute) allows active duty military to stick with license and registration from their home state.

      • Marlin says:

        VA makes Military reg in VA if even 1 name on the car is not a military person. So say a Wife and husbands name are on a car but she is active duty and he is not, then they have to get VA tags.

        VA is one of the most anti-Vet states yet these rules were put in by republicans that vets usually vote for.

    • nishioka says:

      Not necessarily. If you’re military you probably either live in military housing or in a community where there are lots of military coming in and out, and people there know the drill.

      For example I don’t imagine they’d get very many reports in Monterey, where Naval Postgraduate School is located and where I lived for two years back in the 80s while my old man was working on his master’s.

    • framitz says:

      I served for over 20 years. There is a 2 out of 3 rule.
      If the car is registered in another stand AND your license is in the same state, you do NOT have to register the vehicle in the state.
      That’s 2 of 3.
      If the car is out of state, but your license isn’t, you have to register the vehicle.
      If the car is in state and your license is out of state you MAY need to change your license depending on the state.
      It’s not as complicated as it sounds… really it isn’t.

    • TheMansfieldMauler says:

      Wow. They are going to waste a lot of time harassing military members with this one.

      Yeah, and those same military rules usually go for college students also.

  4. Marlin says:

    Someone please enter the head of CA’s DMV address into the system. :-)

  5. tralfaz says:

    In Arizona, the grace period is only 10 days.

    The bonus thing is, though, that our licenses last for 30 years. (mine expires in 2038!)

    • mikedt says:

      The grace period for a lot of states is woefully short in my opinion. If you really did move in from out of state, you probably are dealing with a lot of issues and spending the day at the DMV is probably not easy to work into your schedule. “Yes, boss I know I’ve only been on the job 3 days, but I need a day off to sit at the DMV.”

      • tralfaz says:

        That’s just it, though… I’ve never had to wait at the DMV here. I think the longest I’ve ever spent waiting was 15 minutes at most.

        Even when I lived in California, I would just call, make an appointment, and show up at the designated time.

        • ChuckECheese says:

          The DMVs are pretty quick here. And the registrations aren’t too bad. And we have 2-year registration now. But they need a rule that people who aren’t computer- or English-literate should not be permitted to use the self-serve terminals. They hold everything up.

        • AlexPDL says:

          Amen! The CA DMV is actually rather fantastic. I’ve never waited more than 10 minutes. Last time I registered my car (6 months ago) I actually didn’t even get enough time to fill out the paperwork, they were so fast and efficient they called my window before I was done. I was in and out in less than 30 minutes — that includes the vehicle inspection and waiting for the actual metal plate. I have used the DMV in FL, IL, and MA. Hands down… CA is the best DMV.

      • chancyrendezvous says:

        Exactly — starting a new job and getting a new license/registration sorted out in time are not terribly compatible. Though I’ve never lived in California, I’ve never had a quick DMV trip in any of the states I’ve lived in.

    • AzCatz07 says:

      It cost me almost $400 to register my car in AZ for one year. One year.

      Screw this state. I can’t wait to get out.

      • Froggmann says:

        That made me laugh, I sold an 84 Ford Truck about 15 years ago for $1200. The person I sold it to never transferred the title so I get the registration notices on it every year. The amount this year?

        For. a. Twenty. Eight. Year. Old. Truck.

        You’re ranting about the wrong state.

    • JayDeEm says:

      Funny story about Arizona MVD. I moved from CA to AZ in 2006, and we got the cars both changed over, licenses switched, no problem. We move back to CA is 2010, and they require a bunch of papers to register the vehicle here, including something called a Vehicle Record from AZ. Fine.

      Now, the AZ system has a field called Title Date, which will not accept a blank value, so when we moved there, they put the current date. CA DMV took that to mean that the vehicle had a title, and thus a potential lein, in AZ. They refused to register my car in CA until I could prove otherwise. Apparently the title for the car, which I received when I paid it off, and was also a CA title, was not enough. Much hoop jumping between MVD & DMV ensued, but it was eventually resolved.

      Bad database design AZ, bad.

  6. ScandalMgr says:

    Owning property in another state and “residing temporarily” in CA entitles a car owner to register in the other state, does it not?

    • Bsamm09 says:

      Generally, yes but each state has different rules and they must be closely followed. the super wealthy are big targets. In my city, the tax assessor went to the marinas and issued property tax bills to the owners of all the big yachts.

      One of our clients got one for $500k or so. We fought it and won. The owner had some bookkeepers that only did the books on the yacht. Very detailed books. Receipts for everything purchased. Use tax reports filed, the whole nine yards. Pretty easy to prove days in an area with something that big and uses a lot of resources.

    • Galium says:

      That is what the business’s do. They have an office in another state with low DMV cost and register their vehicles there, but drive them in other states that have high DMV cost with out of state registrations. I have yet to see a cable company vehicle registered in my state.

  7. wickedpixel says:

    Too bad there’s no reward involved. Even at just $10 a pop I think I could make a decent living doing this.

    • finbar says:

      Good point. Anyone living in a college town could make a bundle. On the other hand it’s kind of a dick move to nark on college students with (presumably) limited means.

  8. Blueskylaw says:

    And this from a state that paid its employees with IOUs?

  9. Hi_Hello says:

    I move around a lot… different time length. Each state have their own grace period.
    I don’t even remember some of the previous addresses….

    So to make things easier for me, I use my p.o. box or my parent’s address.

    Do they offer a national driver license and registration? That would save me the trouble, provide money to the fed, so they can use it on highway maintenance and safety.

    • JJFIII says:

      All the while fucking the actual roads you are driving on. You do realize the roads in cities and states are taken care of by counties and states.
      Man up, register your car like a big boy avoid sucking on mommy and daddy to avoid paying a bill that is yours all the while mooching off the rest of the people of the state

      • AzCatz07 says:

        Judgmental much? Wow.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          Agreed. His point was valid. Some people don’t really “live” anywhere, moving around a lot.
          He still wants to pay the fees to go improve roads, but if you’re traveling to 10 states and only paying fees to one,l that’s unfair to the other 9 states. Likewise, if you have to pay 10 different states the full fees and you use the road significantly less than a normal citizen, that’s incredibly unfair to you. Finally, if you’re traveling a lot, you’re using federal highways more, and thus makes more sense for your fees to go towards that.

      • Actionable Mango says:

        Yes, but said person paid for the whole year in the licensed state. Is the licensed state going to provide a partial refund once registered in California?

  10. RedOryx says:

    I got my car when I was in grad school in Kentucky, and it was plated and registered there. The tags in KY are Year/Month, so mine read 09/11. I moved back to Ohio in January 2009 and here the tags are Month/Year and I drove around on those expired tags until September 2011 without ever once being stopped.

    Another friend of mine bought his car when he was living in Hawaii and never changed the plates either when he moved back home. At least once he happened to be standing outside with the car and a cop drove by and stopped and asked him how he got his car from Hawaii to Ohio. Didn’t even notice the expired tags.

  11. Lyn Torden says:

    Some people live in one state but frequently travel to other states to carry out their work. Thus more than one state is involved. WHICH state to use? Depends on which state you ask.

    However, I did “the right thing” long ago when I was working a temporary gig in New Jersey, and registered the car I was keeping in New Jersey … in New Jersey. But NO! They would not have this … after the fact. They did let me register it, but later claimed it was not valid because I had a driver’s license from my home state. I asked them what state it should be registered in and they said New Jersey. WTF. Turns out they wanted me to have my drivers license in New Jersey, too. But wait, I don’t “live” in New Jersey. They said the law requires I get a New Jersey DL if I am there for more than 3 months. But I wasn’t there for more than 2 weeks at a time. Oh, but the car was … because I didn’t want to drive it all that distance every couple weeks. Them: But you rented an apartment in New Jersey. Yeah, and in two other states that aren’t trying to shake me down. My contract was up at the New Jersey company before this was over and I told them why I wasn’t renewing.

    California is as goofed up as New Jersey.

    • Bob A Dobalina says:

      My solution: I not only did not update my tags, I didn’t update my license. i have been stopped a couple of times when I lived in GA and VA, the cops never questioned me

      My license is good for five years and I can renew my tags online because OR accepts inspections from other states.

      I love putting it to The Man, man

    • erinpac says:

      The rules for people who split lives and/or their family between states are a mess here. Depending on what it is (various taxes, car tags, license, insurance, voting, and even the pet vaccines & registration) I’d either be a ‘resident’ required to pay in both states, or qualify for neither. During various time periods those rules have stuck me into various cracks in the system and none of it works all that well unless you live and work one place and then just move, and also not more than once a year. It should not be such a mess. It’s one thing if the rates are different but they really need at least uniform residency requirements and what is tied to those or not. Sometimes you cannot really satisfy both states at once.

  12. XTREME TOW says:

    Now you know why California has so many earthquakes. Everyone driving their clunkers out to California is stessing out the Tectonic Plates. The extra weight will cause the plates to break off.
    Arizona: potential beachfront property!

  13. Costner says:

    South Dakota is home to several business that act as mail-forwarding companies. These companies also offer services to renew license plates, and they will send the plates and registration to out-of-staters.

    It is intended to be for the RV crowd who lives in SD in the summer, but head South during the winter. However, many, many, MANY people have figured out how to cheat the system because not only does SD have super-cheap registrations (around $35-50 a year depending upon what you drive), but they also have no state income tax and no estate taxes.

    However if you work in CA or live in CA, I don’t see how you could get away with not registering your vehicles in CA.

    Personally, I wish the US would go to a federal drivers license and a federal vehicle registration process. They can divert the funds from the registrations to the states just like they distribute highway and Medicare funds… but they should manage it. At least that way there wouldn’t be 50 different ways of doing it, and fraud would all but be eliminated.

  14. redskull says:

    I live in Indiana and back in the 1980s there was a big stink about people having Florida plates. The way I understood it, in Indiana the cost of your plates is determined by the age of your vehicle, but in Florida they had either a much cheaper rate or a cheap flat fee. So people from Indiana would actually drive all the way to Florida to get plates, then come back to Indiana to live. I used to wonder why I’d always see so many Florida plates around town.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      I think the people of Indiana picked up plates as a side errand. They were really down there for the Oxycontin.

  15. eccsame says:

    I was there for two years as a student. Then I left. I should have registered my car in California because….?

    Not to mention the that they (at the time) made you pay tax on the current value of the vehicle. Eff that noise. I already paid sales tax on my car once, I’m not paying it again.

    • JJFIII says:

      So you took advantage of all the ameneties of the state including the school, but you don’t think you should contribute to PAYING for it? Did you drive on the streets? Did you use a red light or stop sign ever? Typical self centered attitude that if it is good for you FUCK THE REST OF YOU. Why do you think rates are so high? Could it be morons like you cheat the system. Grow up and pay your bills

      • eccsame says:

        Oh, sorry, I forgot about the roads that I used. I guess the state doesn’t accept federal funding for that. It only comes out of vehicle registrations.

        Are you that much of a deluded a**hole?

        Also, the majority of states recognize student status. That’s why you pay OUT OF STATE TUITION RATES f**ktard.

        • RandomHookup says:

          Actually, that’s not why you pay out of state tuition. That only goes to the school, not the state coffers.

        • who? says:

          Wow, way to go. Calling somebody names because they call you out for being a whiny, self centered bitch is *so* cool. What are you? Twelve?

  16. dolemite says:

    Can I get $100 out of that $400 fine?

  17. Jane_Gage says:

    S.N.I.T.C.H.: Sneaky neighbors into Tattling and Causing Heartache

  18. carbonFE says:

    Another reason to never consider a move to California….

    I don’t know if anyone else has been in a situation like I have, but I had a car once that needed some serious repairs and I just wasn’t able to afford it. It really sucks when you can’t register the vehicle because the check engine light is on….an automatic fail on an emissions test. I let my registration go for some time because I didn’t have the money to put into the car. Let’s just say, being poor sucks.

    It was a stressful situation because I knew that if a cop saw that, they would impound my vehicle. That’s a great idea, take my transportation away so I can’t get to work. Then I can’t pay ANY taxes when I lose my job.

    I think people need to keep out of other peoples business. To be encouraged by the state to report something of this nature is a little creepy and sad to me. You never know what that other person is going through at the time.

    • JJFIII says:

      So if you are poor and stealing from your neighbors to feed yourself, I as another neighbor should just ignore it because you are poor?

    • AlexPDL says:

      Impound your vehicle? What are you talking about? I’ve been ticketed for no registration — it’s a $35 fix it ticket here in CA.

      The problem here is people avoiding the law because they don’t want to smog or they want to bail on CA property tax. Sometimes it’s people with second homes.

      • carbonFE says:

        I’m not talking about California. I was living in Utah at the time. If your registration is expired the cops will impound your vehicle.

        • who? says:

          “Another reason to never consider a move to California….”

          …and then you talk about a situation in Utah that isn’t relevant to California. You see our confusion.

      • VeiledThreats says:

        In CA your car can be towed for expired registration more than 6 months out of date while being driven or parked on public roads.

    • wickedpixel says:

      You can get a provisional registration in CA if you car doesn’t pass smog and I believe it gives you an extra 3 months to get it fixed. That’s what those red tags with numbers you see on some cars’ rear windows are. That’s the month their registration has been provisionally extended to.

  19. Torchwood says:

    WIIFM? What’s In It For Me?

    Please let me know when I can escape Taxifornia. While I realize that taxes are needed to pay for roads, law enforcement, and education. I also see a lot of money being wasted on unnecessary stuff. If I get a job in a better state (not New York or Illinois, perhaps Texas), I’ll take it and moving out.

    • Jane_Gage says:

      The joy of hurting someone, sweet candy and reward enough for the majority of assholes out there.

    • who? says:

      I wish I could find it, but an article I read said that “Taxifornia” is something like 23rd of the 50 states in levels of overall taxation. Right about in the middle, anyway, even if it wasn’t exactly 23.

      I mean, you can move to Arkansas or something, and it would probably be cheaper, but then you’d have to live in Arkansas. My life in California isn’t cheap, but I also make 3x what I would make in Arkansas.

  20. ChuckECheese says:

    There’s a school across the street from my workplace. School started up last week. This week I’ve seen cars with Mexico license plates dropping off kids at school. Just sayin’.

    I live in Arizona. But Arizona has had this registration-narc law for some time now. And they also send DMV reps to large workplaces to scour the parking lots, assuming people working in AZ are also residents and therefore should have AZ plates.

    • sir_eccles says:

      Damn snowbirds

    • who? says:

      I live near the Mexican border too, in California. There are plenty of Mexican license plates here, too, but most of them are coming up for the day to work and stuff. They don’t live here 24×7. Cars with Mexican plates dropping kids off at school is an issue, but it’s a separate issue from car registrations.

  21. MikeHerbst says:

    This whole article (and comments), I’m surprised to see not one single mention of the other main driver behind out-of-state car registration: SMOG

    Specifically, cars that can’t pass California’s biennial emissions testing and thus can’t be registered here. Of all of the out-of-state “scofflaws” I’m aware of (about a dozen between my neighborhood and social circles), 100% of these are vehicles that have cannot be registered here due to either modifications, engine swaps, or other CARB-violating shenanigans.

    It’s a mixed bag with this demographic. There are many cars that run clean enough but have some non-sanctioned modification (I know of at least 3 Miatae in the local club running non-CARB stickered turbochargers, but they’re WAY cleaner than the 30 year old Oldsmobile my next door neighbor drives). Others are purely filthy beasts. There a couple of late ’70’s and ’80’s era Jeeps in my area that are setup as rock crawlers or general off-roaders. All of these are running older GM V8s, no cats, etc. and wouldn’t even pass a 5-second visual inspection, but get driven around sporting Oregon and Arizona tags.

    Buying any sort of “project” car in this market is equally tricky for the same reason – you see a lot of used cars sporting out-of-state tags that will never be registered in CA, so you have to shop carefully unless you’re willing to become a “scofflaw” yourself.

    Of course, this in San Diego, where the value of a used car (particularly beaters) fluctuates significantly based on the number of months left on the registration tags – since undocumented aliens have a certain amount of trouble getting a car registered, they often buy a used car with 11 months on the tags, then sell it round the time the tags expire and roll into a different used car.

  22. AlexPDL says:

    So can I report the car rental lots that have hundreds of cars with Washington plates because they want to avoid paying CA registration???

  23. KrispyKrink says:

    Fine. Whatever CHP. One major problem though. Our DMV system is continually crashing or down like clockwork. Latest outage was last week, all-day-long. And many people are still waiting for their DL, ID, or registration to show up for over a YEAR now. I personally have been waiting a little over 6 months on new tags for my motorcycle.

  24. Cerne says:

    Classic statist thinking. We could lower fees and streamline the process, but that would be doing something nice for the peons we call taxpayers. Instead lets encourage people to inform on their neighbours, because that’s always worked out well historically.

  25. JakeChance84 says:

    Don’t most registrations only last a year? How can you keep it registered out of state for more than the remainder of the year?

    • MikeHerbst says:

      The people I know of that do this, do it by having the car registered out of state at the address of friends, family, or a second home.

      • JakeChance84 says:

        Doesn’t doing that have tax implications for the state in which your car is claiming residency?

    • iesika says:

      Some registrations are for more than that. Louisiana was 2 years when I lived there, I think.

  26. thomwithanh says:

    When I used to live in Massachusetts the big thing was to use a friend’s address in NH to get Old Man of the Mountain license plates for your car. The registration fee was a bit higher, but the main benefit was no annual excise tax (which in MA can run thousands if your vehicle is less than a few years old) as well as no mandatory auto insurance or emissions test.

    It got so bad the state started the “I Pay Tax” hotline to turn in residents with out of state plates. “Know somebody with a car registered in another state but who actually lives here? Please call 1-800-I-PAY-TAX and tell us about it.”

    Now I’ve lived in NY for the past seven years… I know plenty of residents with PA tags and nobody seems to care.

    • scoosdad says:

      Since you’re in NY now, maybe you can tell me what the benefit would be to a MA resident who registers his autos in NY. I have some neighbors up the street from me here in MA who’ve had several NY-registered vehicles parked in their driveway for as long as I’ve lived here (10-plus years). Is it just our MA excise taxes or is there some big registration fee differential?

      One vehicle, I might think was a work-provided car. More than one, I suspect they’re benefiting from some disparity between MA and NY. I’ve just never sat down to compare registration fees and excise tax rules between the two states to see what that might be. Thanks.

      • thomwithanh says:

        I’m 99% sure it’s an excise tax issue. Except in a few cases, Massachusetts would cheaper from a registration standpoint. New York registration fees are based on your vehicle’s weight, which county you live in, and whether you’re subject to the MCTD supplement (residents of the Five Boroughs, Long Island, Westchester County, Rockland County, and persons who commute there with their own car three or more days per week have to pay an extra $50 every other year to help fund the MTA.) Total fees range anywhere from $25 every other year for a sub-compact car in Ontario County to a whopping $230 for an SUV or truck in Manhattan.

        Additionally unless the rules have changed since I moved, you don’t need to prove residency or have an NYS driver’s license when you register a car, just a mailing address in the state.

        • scoosdad says:

          I think you’re right. They always seem to have multiple NY-plated very new looking Subarus in the driveway, almost like they buy new every other year. So I was thinking it was to avoid paying the excise tax to MA. Thanks for the info.

          • thomwithanh says:

            If they were driving an older car another possibility could be inspections. Our safety/ emissions inspection is a joke in upstate and cars that fail in MA usually pass with no problem in NY.

  27. Bob A Dobalina says:

    Despite this dramatic play, Kalifornia is still behind New Yorkigrad in the Nannyist playoffs

  28. momoftwokids says:

    I got hauled into court on this once. I was a graduate student in Idaho on a temporary internship program in Washington one summer for about 8-10 weeks. I didn’t need a car in Idaho, but to get to a well-known nuclear site miles out of town, I picked up a cheap beater car in Washington to get back and forth.

    When I got stopped for something (I can’t recall what maybe a taillight out?), the cop saw that I had an ID drivers license and WA plates and tried to stick me with a several hundred dollar ticket (this was about 25 years ago when that was real money). I went to court and told the judge that I couldn’t get a WA drivers license when I was only going to be there 10 weeks because I would lose my in-state resident status in Idaho when I returned to school ($$$$). I also mentioned that I was going to sell the car when I left Washington about two weeks from then, because I had no use for it at home.

    The cop tried to protest that I was trying to get around the law and that the ticket was good but the judge took one look at him and told him the case was dropped because he wasn’t about to start targeting visiting students over about WA $15 for a drivers license fee.

  29. scoosdad says:

    Of course any program like this would be a lot more effective if the whistle blower got a cut of the fees and any penalties collected as a result.

    • who? says:

      Indeed. I’ve lived in California for 25 years, and I’ve yet to meet anybody who gives a crap about where somebody else’s car is registered.

  30. Portlandia says:

    When I moved to a new state I had 6 months left on my current registration. I sure the hell was not going to pay for a new registration until I had to.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      Some states (fewer than ever now) pay back prorated registration fees when you move.

      • thomwithanh says:

        New York does. My car died and I’m not planning to get a new one until the fall… when I turned the plates in a check for prorated registration fees came in the mail.

  31. Shorebreak says:

    License and registration fees go toward maintaining roads. The “scofflaws” are just just depleting that funding. when I was in the military I was reassigned to my home state, at the time, of California. I had a North Dakota drivers license and Illinois plates on my vehicle. Within 30 days I went to the DMV and got a California license and plates. You do what you are supposed to do and you won’t have problems down the road. After I was out of the military I laughed at my boss after he got caught running around with North Carolina plates while residing in California for eight months. I told him he deserved the fine and should have known better.

    • MrEvil says:

      Texas has more road to maintain yet somehow manages to scrape by on registration fees that are much less than California’s. Enough to where out of state registrations aren’t an issue.

    • richxcfw says:

      Well, shore break….You, as a “California Resident” military member on active duty were required to update your vehicles.

      I will not become a California Resident…and therefore…since I’m stationed in California because the DoD says so…trust me it’s never been my first choice…I don’t have to pay for you “I don’t know how to drive plates”.


    • luxosaucer13 says:

      I thought California’s high gas taxes went towards maintaining roads and bridges.

      Seriously, if you’re gonna be a resident of a particular state or Canadian province, the right thing to do is to formalise the process. I suspect that one of the reasons why more folks don’t do this not only has to do with registration fees, but also having to re-take the driving test. The fact that most DMV offices are only open 8-5, Mon-Fri, doesn’t exactly make this easier for working folks either.

      What I’d like to see is uniform traffic laws and DMV testing procedures across the entire US. You take your initial driving exam in one state and if you move……no problem just register in the new state and get your new plates and license, without having to take another set of exams. The only exceptions would be for the elderly, those with certain medical conditions like epliepsy or narcolepsy, etc, and if your hearing/vision changes and you require corrective lenses/hearing aids since you passed your first test.

      • bigroblee says:

        @luxosaucer13 This is how testing is for my commercial license. I thing this would be a change for the better, and I also believe that you should need a medical card that’s renewed every four years or so for a regular drivers license also.

      • ncoclub says:

        The problem is that there is no uniformity in the process from state to state. When I moved from Georgia to Virginia I wasn’t required to retake a test but they required a certified birth record and would not accept my birth certificate. I went through he!! obtaining a certified birth record. There needs to be a uniform federal regulation in how the DMV works. There also needs to be some major changes in how people obtain handicap licence. This thing with the placard needs to be eliminated and only have handicap PLATES on vehicles as the placards are too easy to display from any vehicle and causes them to be abused.

      • Ace Rothstein says:

        I’m not sure about California but many states make you repay the sales tax when you register your car there. If you move around a lot and don’t have expired tags then you want to put off registering as long as you can in case you move again. Who wants to repay a tax they already paid back when they bought the car? And why should they? This isn’t about registration fees but sales tax (what some state’s call title tax or document fees). It should cost next to nothing to transfer your registration from one state to another and then you can just pay whatever the annual fee is in that new state. Unfortunately in many states it doesn’t work that way. There’s nothing stopping these states from enacting unfair double taxing laws so many of them go ahead and do just that.

      • mharris127 says:

        In most states if you have a valid out of state license and meet the residency and US citizenship requirements of the new state (in this case California) all you have to do is mosey on over to the DMV (in this case) or Secretary of State (many states) take a vision test, pay the licensing fee and authorize the other state to send your driver record to the new state (California). Usually the sending state sends over the pertinent records within twenty minutes and you walk out with your new (California in this case) license that day. This is true in both Michigan and California.

        The problem in CA is the emissions requirements — however there is a solution to that as well. You may exempt cars brought in from other states from emissions testing if you agree to remove them from California before selling or disposing of them. You are required to pay the difference in tax rate between your former state and CA upon registration (standard in most states) and the registration fee.

    • bigroblee says:

      I would have no issue with California registration costs if they were apportioned based on annual driving or some other method. As it currently stands, however, they are apportioned based on the age and value of your vehicle which, frankly, has absolutely nothing to do with the vehicles impact on the road. In California my ’07 Dodge Ram was nearly three hundred and fifty a year, whereas in Oregon it’s eighty six dollars for two years. Also, in Oregon, if your vehicle is a brand new sports car or a forty year old pickup the registration is the same; that’s a much fairer system until, again, someplace starts charging based on instate mileage.

  32. Weekilter says:

    Actually, most states have laws on the books that you must get that state’s plates if you’re in the state over a certain time and (at least in Washington) there’s a hefty fine if you’re caught not getting local plates.

  33. prosumer1 says:

    I’m a resident of California, and I want my state to get its fair share of funding, but I side with people who don’t register their cars here until the time runs out. California is, by far, one of the most expensive states to register an out of state vehicle, and the registration each year is pricey as well. This would be okay if we actually see the money go towards fixing roads and improve our freeways, but we don’t see any of that money being used appropriately.

    • Oh_No84 says:

      My company has a 2 year training program for recent grads.
      They put you in two different locations for a year each. Both could be in different states and you could end up working in neither of those states.
      Most states say if you live there for longer than 6 months you have to register your car there, but there is no way you will waste money registering a car in a state that you know you will only work in for exactly 1 year and then move to another state.

  34. brink006 says:

    I got daggered for the gap in sales tax (5.5% vs the CA rate) when I bought a car and then accepted a surprise job offer in CA two months later, even though I bought it in a state 2,000 miles away. Anyway, it wasn’t really a big deal. It was less than an iPad, and they didn’t even hassle me about keeping my old driver’s license. It’s still good for another 5 years!

    • Cacao says:

      The cops don’t like it when your license doesn’t match your registration. Be careful!

      • Lyn Torden says:

        Even though people might travel to California often enough to own a 2nd car and leave it at their 2nd apartment in California to avoid driving all the way (just fly instead). So should they do the right thing and it in California with all the extra pollution equipment and register the car that stays in California IN California? Too bad the cops in California can’t figure that out. BTW, New Jersey has the same idiocy.

  35. Paisley says:

    I live in California and recently had to pay over $700 registration on an old 58 pickup. We paid DMV to had it non-op’ed, then had to pay $14 to take it out on Non-op and pay the full price for the year it wasn’t operational! DMV in So-Cal is a nightmare, it is an all-day process. However, the biggest issue in this article is the fact they want you to “rat out” your neighbor for an out of state plate. The sad thing is some California’s will actually do it. “Gotta pay your fair share”. They will sell your soul if they thought it would make them feel important. The good news is….I don’t see a lot of out of state plates, so that tells me the rest of the country is too smart to move here.

  36. MarsVolta187 says:

    My company provides my vehicle in California, but is currently registered in Illinois. Does my employer have to change registration to CA? They own it, so would they pay any fines/penalties?

  37. curlymama says:

    Someone tell me what to do, because I honestly don’t know. I recently moved to CA and my husband still resides in NY and I haven’t changed my residency. I am only living here temporarily but it could be a year or two. Originally, I was renting a car but then my husband drove my car out here. I thought I would need to register it here and get a CA residency but my NY Insurance agent told me I did not have to do that because I still have a home in NY and my move is temporary. So, I drive around with my NY plates. I do not want to get in trouble and I want to honor the law, but frankly I am a bit confused! I pay taxes in NY and CA and am registered to vote in NY, etc…I have a NY drivers license. I got all the paperwork from the DMV and frankly after talking to my insurer was under the impression that I was fine. Any advice would be appreciated!

  38. Ilovegnomes says:

    I use to have a co-worker who owned a house in Reno, NV but would rent a room mid-week in Santa Cruz, CA to work M-F in CA but go home to NV on the weekends. I wonder what his obligations for registration would have been. I never envied his commute.

  39. APCO25guy says:

    We need this in Georgia. Too many blow-ins ignore the fact that REGARDLESS of when you’re out of state tag expires, GA law says you have 30 days as a new resident to get both a GA registration and GA license.

    Turn these freeloaders in. You use the roads, you should pay like everyone else. No one rides for free.

  40. kobresia says:

    I’d propose eliminating all local road taxes and just having the USDOT manage an apportioned registration system like they do with interstate motor carriers. Such a system could be coupled with the plate-reading cameras in certain areas such as ports of entry, rather than just reading trucks, they could read all vehicles and calculate the way each vehicle’s registration fees should be divided between states accordingly.

  41. pablohdez3 says:

    The good Comunist Republic of California

  42. Angoisette says:

    We live in Indiana which seems to have the same model year/value system for registrations. We moved here in March and have just this month got our license plates switched over – it took us that long to save up the almost 350 for my ’08, and the over 800 for my husband’s ’12. 30 days just isn’t enough time, especially when it’s a last minute move/transfer.