I've fallen into a Motor Vehicle Rabbit Hole
October 13, 2007 9:34 AM Subscribe
When you find yourself in a life-harming situation due to a unique administrative hiccup in a government bureaucracy (and since no one's anticipated this sort of hiccup, no one's empowered to override it)....what do you do?
posted by jimmyjimjim to law & government (38 answers total)
I'd be immensely grateful to anyone with patience to read through and advise. I'm usually crafty enough to find a solution to any problem, but I'm stumped on this one.
I've lived in New York State for years, and recently moved to Connecticut. I maintain an office address in New York where I can get mail.
I need to switch my drivers licence from New York to Connecticut, but during the move, I lost my (NY) license. I went to New York dept of motor vehicles for a temporary license, and they said they'd mail me a permanent one. Connecticut won't switch my license unless I give them a full one...they won't accept the temporary. So I awaited the permanent one for weeks. Unfortunately, it was mailed to an old address so I never received it.
I called New York dept of motor vehicles and they confirmed it had been returned to them in the mail. I asked them to send it to my current New York address, and they noticed something in my record. According to their computer, I surrendered my New York license two weeks ago and currently hold a Connecticut driver's license. I have NO idea where they got this idea, and my mind breaks (zen enlightenment!) every time I ponder it. I've never successfully submitted anything to Connecticut motor vehicle (again, they need a full license to do the switch) and Connecticut has confirmed to me that I'm nowhere in their system.
I went directly to a New York motor vehicle office to sort it out, but was told this is what the computer says, and unless I can PROVE I'm unlicensed in Connecticut, New York will not give me a license.
Frantic, nearly hysterical at this point, I returned to Connecticut motor vehicles, and begged/pleaded for them to give me a written statement attesting to my non-existence as a Connecticut driver. But they have no mechanism for proving to anyone that a given person is NOT in their system. There's no form for that! They could only print me up a driver's abstract, which shows I have no VIOLATIONS in Connecticut. That won't cut it.
So I'm between unyielding bureaucracies. NY won't license me. Connecticut won't license me. I'm essentially an unlicensed driver with no options whatsoever. No one in the system has ever anticipated this unique situation, so there's no mechanism to override it.
What would you do?
One option: apply for a fresh new Connecticut license, take a driving test, etc etc, along with the 17 year olds. Problem is it will take weeks to apply for a test appointment (must be done via mail), wait for the date, and finally pass through the bureaucracy. And I NEED to drive! Also, I suspect there will be a question on the application asking whether I've ever held a license before...and, being disinclined to lie, I worry I'd find myself straight back in this loop.