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"Ask The DMV"

Expert Answers to Common DMV Questions

African American news from Pasadena - Liefstyles - Ask California DMVSacramento, 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'd like to know more about the types of payment accepted at the DMV offices. I have an appointment coming up and want to make sure I have the correct form of payment.

A. Thank you for making an appointment with DMV before your next visit. We value your time. If you plan to pay with "plastic" the only form of payment currently accepted at the DMV is with debit (ATM), which is automatically debited from your bank account. The DMV does accept checks, cash, cashier checks and money orders, which you will need to make payable to the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Again, we remind customers that we do not accept credit cards in our field office. Credit cards can be used via our web online services. "Save Time, Go Online," at www.dmv.ca.gov or call 1-800-777-0133.

2. Q. I agreed with a dealership to sell my vehicle by consignment for $20,000. However, the dealer only paid me $8,000. I don't have a signed contract because the dealer gave me a verbal contract for the consignment agreement.

A. Dealer consignments are within the DMV's scope of authority and all consignments are actually required to be in writing pursuant to Vehicle Code Section 11729 – 30. If you suspect wrongdoing, you are encouraged to submit a complaint form to the Department's Investigations Division. The DMV Investigations Division diligently enforces laws, rules, and regulations that apply to new and used vehicle dealers, brokers, dismantlers, registrations services, vehicle verifiers, driving schools or traffic violator schools, and other vehicle-related businesses. If you'd like to file a consumer complaint against any of the above-listed groups, please fill the Record of Complaint Form (INV 172). Follow the directions for completing the form and then mail it to an Investigations office in your area-see address listing on form: http://apps.dmv.ca.gov/forms/inv/inv172.pdf.

3. Q. I am concerned about my privacy and where my personal information goes. Does the California DMV share my license information with third parties?

A. Excellent question! At the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), protecting your privacy is very important. We are committed to ensuring your privacy and securing your confidential information. California Vehicle Code 1808 and the Public Records Act (Government Code Section 6253 et seq.) provide that information collected by the Department is generally considered public information and is subject to inspection by the public. Exceptions to this public disclosure obligation include personal information and confidential information. DMV will not release personal information such as your name, social security number, physical description, home address, home telephone number, education, financial matters, and medical or employment history. Information regarding any motor vehicle liability insurance policy or surety bond provided to DMV is confidential and shall not be disclosed to any person, except to the following:

  • A court of competent jurisdiction.
  • A law enforcement or other governmental agency.
  • An insurance company or its assignees to verify a record the company or its assignees previously submitted to the department.

DMV may further restrict the release of any information from its files if it determines that, on the facts of the particular case, the public interest served by not disclosing the record clearly outweighs the public interest served by disclosure of the record.

4. Q. I have an old car that I don't drive because it doesn't work that well. Do I still have to pay to have it registered?

A. It depends. If you plan to store and not operate your vehicle during the next renewal year, you can apply for the Planned Non-Operation option online. There is a filing fee of $19 for the PNO. The PNO filing fee may be paid up to 60 days prior to the expiration date. If you file up to 90 days after the expiration date, you will be liable for late fees on the full registration amount. If at any time the vehicle is operated or parked where it may be subject to citation, then full registration fees and penalties for that year become due. For more information or to apply for the PNO online, visit www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/brochures/fast_facts/ffvr01.htm.

5. Q. My wife and I were on vacation and drove from Southern California to Northern California. Somewhere along the first several hours of the trip I lost my wallet along with my driver license. I tried to recover my steps but I had no luck in finding my wallet. What can I do?

A. If you lost your driver license, you will need to apply for a duplicate license. To apply for a duplicate license or ID card, you will need to make an appointment to visit a DMV office, complete an application and pay the application fee. You will also need to verify your identity by giving a thumb print and you will have a new picture taken. You will be issued an interim license valid for 90 days and/or a receipt for your ID card until you receive your new photo license and/or photo ID card in the mail. Save Time, Go Online. Schedule an appointment before visiting the DMV. Visit us at www.dmv.ca.gov or call 1-800-777-0133.

6. Q. I just bought a boat. How do I know if it needs to be registered?

A. In California, every sail powered vessel (boat) over eight feet in length and every motor driven vessel (regardless of length) that is not documented by the US Coast Guard and is used or on the waters of California is subject to be registered by the DMV. The vessel must be located in California. For detailed information on registering a vessel, please visit the following page on the California Department of Motor Vehicles Web site: http://dmv.ca.gov/boatsinfo/boatreg.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 State Transportation Agency (CalSTA).]



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