Thursday, February 15, 2007

Public Service Announcement for NC Drivers

It has come to my attention that the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles has made a change in policy. They will no longer send reminders to renew your license tags/vehicle registration. I thought I should share this with readers from North Carolina to save you some of the hassle and embarrassment that I am experiencing right now. It would have been nice to be notified of the change in policy at the DMV. When you receive reminders by mail for many, many years that your tags are due for renewal, it creates a false sense of security that you will be reminded again in years to come. Don't count on it.

Please check your registration and tags to make sure that you are up to date. I didn't expect to be stopped on January 31 when I learned that my tags had expired in April of last year. Because it had been so long since I had renewed my tags, I was ticketed by the officer who stopped me. He indicated on the ticket that I "displayed an expired tag with knowledge that it had expired." That was not true at the time he stopped me, but technically was true by the time he wrote the ticket out. In the process of talking with the DMV and with potential legal representation, I learned of the policy change by the DMV.

I immediately crossed the street and renewed my tags (I was near the DMV office at Northgate Mall), but found that the fees were much more expensive and that my tags could only be renewed through April of this year (at $63/tag). Now I have to renew again in April and I have to go to court to try to explain that I did not receive notice of the change in policy nor a reminder to renew my tags. Should the District Attorney find my arguments inadequate, I will have to pay a $50 fine and $110 in court costs. That is significantly more expensive than the renewal rate. It will also be recorded against my driving record. Anyone with good sense and prior knowledge that their tags have expired would obviously choose instead to pay the registration fee and not the court costs and fine.

Had the officer who stopped me waited a week, I would have had my truck inspected the first week of February and would have learned that my registration was expired at that time.

CHECK YOUR REGISTRATION for renewal date and mark your calendars...the State will no longer notify you that your tags have expired.

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