Can I leave Virginia behind?
March 10, 2009 4:59 PM   Subscribe

My Virginia driver's license was suspended because I let the insurance on a car I own there lapse for several weeks before I unregistered it. This was several years ago, and I live in CA now and have a (as far as I know) legal driver's license for that state. I need to renew the CA license soon, am I going to have a problem?

All these problems with the car and insurance happened after I was already out of state but keeping the car in a family member's garage. I already got a valid CA driver's license (and I guess canceled my VA license in the process) before this happened.

I'd prefer to clear up the problem with VA, but they want $600 "statutory fee" plus certification of insurance even though I don't own a car now (which would cost a couple hundred dollars a year, I checked). So I'm inclined just to say screw them, but I don't know if this will interfere with my renewal. I'm hoping that since there were no accidents or moving violations involved nothing is going to show up. I don't want to do anything illegal. Will CA let me renew normally?
posted by bluejayk to Law & Government (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I had the exact same problem with the VA DMV, right down to the fee amount. Only difference was that I hadn't gotten a CA driver's license first. In my case, they wouldn't let me get a CA license because I had a suspension on a previous license, but I'm not sure if that's the case if you have a current CA license. Here's hoping not. The VA DMV insurance laws are ridiculous—I actually just went without a license for three years rather than get aggressive drivers' insurance, as I didn't have a car anyway.
posted by timoni at 5:09 PM on March 10, 2009

As MeFi kirkaracha noted several years ago in the blue: It was a sad day when they changed the state motto from "Virginia is for lovers" to "Radar detectors illegal."

In other words, VA has crazy-ass vehicle statutes. I can't help but think that the majority of them are designed to screw over students and out-of-staters in the DC area.

Anyway, I had problems changing my South Carolina driver's license over to an Illinois license because the IL DMV shared info with the VA DMV about some ticket or other that I received five years prior, but never paid for. During that time I had moved back home and gotten a new SC license - in other words, IL wouldn't license me, but SC would. Weird.

Anyway, hope for the best, but don't let it shock you if the bureaucracy has caught up with you.

Virginia wants their money, yo.
posted by wfrgms at 5:19 PM on March 10, 2009

Since 9/11, the Real ID Act and the National Driver Registry have collated all license and registration info from all 50 states. I experienced it's nightmare last year when my CA license came up for renewal. I had an old speeding ticket (14 years old!) in Tennessee that I got on the last day I ever set foot in the state, (that I had paid ) , but I was not aware of an addition $300 "reinstatement fee". I considered it extortion, but I had to pay it to Tennessee DMV before I could renew my CA license.

You will probably have to bend over, grab your ankles, and pay up to Virginia.
posted by TDIpod at 8:26 PM on March 10, 2009

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