10 months late, a whole lotta dollars short?
June 11, 2011 6:10 AM   Subscribe

Apparently I was supposed to get Texas plates on my car within 30 days of moving here and get a Texas driver's license within 90 days of moving here. I didn't, and that was 10 months ago. What's going to happen to me?

I moved to Texas back in August of 2010. The plates (Wisconsin) on my car don't expire until July 2011, so I thought I'd just wait until it was closer to that time. My driver's license (Iowa) doesn't expire until 2014, so I didn't see the need to get a new one.

Looking at the Texas DMV website, I'm apparently in gross violation of their policies. If/when I go into a DMV and try to get new plates and a new license, am I going to be hit with some exorbitant fees? I live in Hays county (San Marcos).
posted by King Bee to Travel & Transportation around Texas (20 answers total)
And how do they know when you moved? I can't speak for Texas, but I did the same thing when I moved to Ohio and it wasn't a big deal.

Now, on the other hand one year I forgot to get my tags and the next year I was hit with a fine, but it wasn't as bad as my paranoid overactive imagination had made it out to be.
posted by Caravantea at 6:14 AM on June 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

I would act like I just moved there when I went in. If one of the DMV drones figures it out, just plead ignorance with a smile. If they push it, well, it was going to happen anyway.
posted by lobstah at 6:15 AM on June 11, 2011

Don't forget the inspection sticker! Make sure that thing stays up to date. Better to pay $15 instead of the nasty ticket we received.
posted by WowLookStars at 6:20 AM on June 11, 2011

Yep, go first thing Monday morning and get it taken car of. My ticket was about $300 in TN (pulled over for expired tags). Not sure how much it would be in TX but probably similar.
posted by dawkins_7 at 6:25 AM on June 11, 2011

I lived in Texas for a while, and if memory serves, unless you get a real stickler at the DMV, it isn't going to matter too much. But do pay attention to the inspection sticker, like WowLookStars says.

Incidentally, I am currently running into the same problem here in Virginia - they want you to get new plates within a month, but you have to have a utility bill to prove residency. I haven't received yet, so they'll just have to wait.
posted by backwards compatible at 6:29 AM on June 11, 2011

I can't say for certain given that it's Texas, but I did the same thing when I moved to Virginia and the topic never even came up when I went down to the DMV to make everything local.
posted by indubitable at 6:31 AM on June 11, 2011

When I moved to California, it wasn't until my first trip back home that I brought my truck out with me, wink wink.
posted by carsonb at 6:32 AM on June 11, 2011 [10 favorites]

Not in Texas, but-
My mom got pulled over for speeding about a year after we moved to Maine. She had not updated her license or tags. Her Virginia license had, in fact, recently expired. The officer let her go with a warning. He put a flag on her license so that if she didn't get the new license/tags in 7 days, the next time she was pulled over she would be arrested. She updated everything the next day. The DMV didn't charge her a fine, that I recall. So that is what may happen to you if you DON"T get it taken care of.
I would definitely suggest getting this taken care of now. If you go in to the DMV it won't be a big problem. If you get pulled over... it might be.
posted by Adridne at 6:34 AM on June 11, 2011

Thanks everyone for alleviating my fears somewhat. I'm looking now at the DMV websites for other states I've lived in, and they all have these same policies (even though I never changed the plates before). I can breathe a little more easily. I'll get this taken care of ASAP.
posted by King Bee at 6:39 AM on June 11, 2011

I moved to Texas 10 months ago and didn't change either my drivers license (from Georgia) or my registration/plates (from Oregon). (In even more of a weird coincidence, I too am a math professor). Actually, I just changed my drivers license yesterday.

Before yesterday, I had heard contradictory information from different people I spoke to. Some said that the order of changing things over should be (1) Get the inspection sticker on your car, (2) get your car registered, (3) then get a new license. I opted to start with (3) since the DMV webpage didn't say anything about getting your car registered first (or at least I didn't see anything). After waiting in line for 45 minutes at the DMV, I finally was able to see a sign that said out of state license applicants MUST have vehicle registration for ALL vehicles that they own. I almost left, but decided to wait (another 30 minutes) it out and see. I'm glad I did because I was able to get the license (in Walker County) with no questions asked about my vehicle registration.

A colleague of mine was denied a license because his truck wasn't yet registered so YMMV. You are technically in violation of the law, but no one at the DMV asked me how long I had been in the state and the form you fill out (found here) doesn't ask either.
posted by El_Marto at 6:41 AM on June 11, 2011 [2 favorites]

I think I was a little outside of the required window when we moved to Texas a few years back, and I don't remember any complications at the DMV. Ditto Adridne--just be careful not to get pulled over in the meantime. My husband almost got a lecture/fine for not updating his address on his license, but was lucky because he is a student and that makes him exempt from some requirements.
posted by Terriniski at 6:53 AM on June 11, 2011

If you happen to get pulled over for any registration issues, just know that you can get the ticked dismissed if you take care of the issue within the next 7-10 days. I'm notoriously bad at getting my registration and inspection taken care of, but the police have always told me to go to the court house once the issue is taken care of, and it's always resulted in dismissal. As for the DMV -- they'd rather have you paying your licence and registration than to fine you. I think you're ok, provided you get it handled soon.
posted by Gilbert at 7:19 AM on June 11, 2011

I did the same thing when I moved to TX in 1999. I kept my NY plates and license for probably a year or so before bothering to get all TX stuff. Nothing will happen and you'll be fine.
posted by Jinkeez at 7:32 AM on June 11, 2011

I ran late, but not as late as you, when I got back from NJ in late 2007. El_Marto has the order right, which I remember because I tried to do it in the wrong order and had to go back to get it in the right order.

The DPS also gave me back my old driver's license number. Turned out I was within some mandated period after my "previous" Texas license, which I had surrendered to get an NJ license, had "expired", so I got a renewal license with a lower fee and less hassle. I mention this to point out that the DPS folks at least are helpful about these things.

Also please note that you won't get your photo license immediately and they confiscated my NJ license. Do anything that needs photo ID beforehand if you don't have something like a university ID with a picture on it. It was kind of a pain not to be able to present my old license with my credit card or whatever while I was waiting on them to mail me the new one.
posted by immlass at 7:50 AM on June 11, 2011

Virginia has a similar policy. Despite quite a bit of nagging (I'm very by-the-books about these things), my husband didn't update our car registration for about six months after moving here, despite the fact that he updated our insurance immediately.

Nothing happened. When he finally went, they gave him the plates without a problem.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:05 AM on June 11, 2011

I did this in a different state. Eventually went to DMV before getting a ticket. No fine or penalty at all.

Having it hanging over my head sucked. No matter what, just go and take care of it.
posted by J. Wilson at 8:19 AM on June 11, 2011

Went and got the car inspected this morning (right after El_Marto's response), heading to the DMV on Monday for registration. Thanks to all of you for your answers.
posted by King Bee at 8:56 AM on June 11, 2011

Great that you're taking care of this right now! Posting mainly for future readers:

Right after I moved to Alaska, within the three month period, I was a passenger in a car that was pulled over for a minor equipment violation (brake light cover was broken or something). I was given the royal stink-eye by the trooper for my out-of-state license, even though I was clearly not driving, there was no suspicion that I had been driving, I was within the legal range, and I was a student who could have elected not to get residency anyway. So definitely something you need to consider, even if you don't have a car when you move.
posted by charmcityblues at 12:09 PM on June 11, 2011

I've lived in Chicago for four years and have *never* changed my plates, registration or drivers' license. I had out of date tags and got a city ticket for it, but nothing else.
posted by santojulieta at 8:13 AM on June 12, 2011

One thing. You need TEXAS insurance in order to both register and inspect your car. Do that first. I got my car inspected in the morning and then got it registered in the afternoon. I still have a CA driver license.
posted by magnetsphere at 9:35 AM on June 12, 2011

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