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"Ask The DMV"

Expert Answers to Common DMV Questions
By the California Department of Motor Vehicles

Black news from Pasadena - Lifestyle - DMV answers your questionsSacramento, CA – Do you have questions about general driving related requirements like registration or 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. You can submit any DMV-related questions at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


1. Q. I've noticed lately that some drivers have the year sticker on the left side of their license plate and the month sticker on the right. Essentially, the stickers are reversed. What's the correct way to place stickers on license plates?

A. Manufactured California license plates indicate "Month" on the left side of the license plate and "Year" on the right side of the plate. Vehicle owners should place their registration year and month stickers/tabs correctly as indicated on the plates.


2. Q. Depending on the waiting time during my next visit to the DMV, I might need to check emails from work on my smart phone while I wait in the lobby. Is this allowed in the DMV office?

A. Excellent question! More customers than ever before have cell phones and mobile electronic devices. We simply ask customers to please put their phones away while they conduct transactions at the DMV customer service window. You can still use your mobile device while you wait in the DMV lobby, but once you approach the counter, we need your complete attention. Remember to make an appointment before visiting the DMV. "Save Time, Go Online," at www.dmv.ca.gov or call 1-800-777-0133.


3. Q. I paid for my vehicle registration well before the expiration date but am going to be moving out of California before the new registration period begins. Is it possible to receive a refund now that I'll need to register my vehicle in another state?

A. It depends on the circumstances. You must register the vehicle in the other state before the prior California expiration date, in order to be eligible for a refund. For your convenience, visit www.dmv.ca.gov/online/refund/refundprograms.htm and click on the "Refund Application" link. Once you have completed and submitted the Application for Refund, you will be notified of the status of your application within 30 days of its receipt. Don't forget to include the unused registration and sticker with your application and the date the vehicle left the state.


4. Q. I paid for my vehicle registration well before the expiration date but am going to be moving out of California before the new registration period begins. Is it possible to receive a refund now that I'll need to register my vehicle in another state?

A. It depends on the circumstances. You must register the vehicle in the other state before the prior California expiration date, in order to be eligible for a refund. For your convenience, visit www.dmv.ca.gov/online/refund/refundprograms.htm and click on the "Refund Application" link. Once you have completed and submitted the Application for Refund, you will be notified of the status of your application within 30 days of its receipt. Don't forget to include the unused registration and sticker with your application and the date the vehicle left the state.


5. Q. Does California use facial recognition technology in driver licenses and ID cards?

A. No, the California Department of Motor Vehicles does not use facial recognition technology in its issuance of driver licenses or identification (ID) cards.


6. Q. When is the best time to visit the DMV? I'm trying to avoid having to wait in line as much as possible.

A. California's Department of Motor Vehicles continues to make significant improvements in overall wait times at our field offices. The best time to visit a field office is with an appointment. You can make an appointment by visiting the DMV website at www.dmv.ca.gov or by calling 1-800-777-0133.


7. Q. What happens to people who attempt to cheat on their written tests at the DMV?

A. The use of testing aids is strictly prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to: The California Driver Handbook, cheat sheets, electronic communication devices such as a cell phone, hand-held computer, etc. If any testing aid is used during the written test, the written test will be marked as a "failure." DMV may also take an action against your driving privilege or the driving privilege of anyone else who assists you in the examination process. When a driver is suspected of cheating, the test is confiscated by Field Office personnel and is referred to the Driver Safety Branch for investigation. DMV may:

  • Refuse to issue a driver license or ID card.
  • Revoke the driving privilege of any driver involved in fraudulent activity.
  • Cancel an application for a higher class license when the applicant is found to have been cheating.
  • If the driver is revoked, the action will remain in effect for a period of one year.
  • The driver is eligible to retest at the end of the action.
  • If the application is cancelled for a higher class license the driver may be redirected to take all applicable tests under observation.

8. Q. My father gave me his old car as a birthday present. Since it was a gift, do I still need to get a smog inspection?

A. Maybe. If you acquire a vehicle from a spouse, domestic partner, sibling, child, parent, grandparent or grandchild, you may be entitled to an exemption from the smog inspection. If you are renewing your registration during a biennial period, a smog exemption for the family member transfer does not apply. Other family members or relations, however, are not exempt and are still required to obtain a transfer smog inspection certification. For more information on the requirements of transferring a vehicle between family members, please visit www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/brochures/howto/htvr1.htm.


Don't Stand In Line, Go Online! Doing business with the DMV has never been easier. The DMV offers an array of services to customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through its Website including online advance appointments for written and drive tests; vehicle registration and driver license renewals, selection of personalized license plates, changes of address and payment of fees via secure debit transactions. Customers can also effect transactions by calling DMV customer service at 1-800-777-0133. DMV is a department under the California Transportation Agency.

 

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