A Davis woman says the DMV suspended her license and it all has to do with where she turned in her old New York license plates.

It was time to call Kurtis.

Some states force you to turn in your license plates when you move out of state.

New York is one of them. But where she turned in her plates has caused quite a mess, stripping her of her driver’s license.

Forced to bike 12 miles a day to work, Robin Stears says a misunderstanding caused the suspension of her California driver’s license.

“I was horrified, it’s got to be a mistake.  I have no points on my license, I have no tickets, no violations, perfectly clean,” said Robin.

Robin soon realized it was because she didn’t return her New York license plates to New York’s DMV when she moved here last year.

Instead, she turned them into this DMV office in Davis.

“The person behind the counter said, you want me to take those for you? I said yeah sure. And then I got my new plates, put them on the car, and I was ready to go and that was a big mistake,” said Robin.

We’ve learned 16 states—Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, Delaware, Kansas, Kentucky, South Carolina, Florida—require you to turn in your license plates to them when you move.

After explaining what happened to New York, the DMV there sent her this notice, showing her record was cleared.

But she says the California DMV wouldn’t accept the notice, keeping her from reinstating her license.

“I have to rely on friends to go grocery shopping. Can’t take the dogs to the dog park,” said Robin.

So what’s going on?

California’s DMV tells us the notice wasn’t good enough:

“By law, the California DMV cannot update and clear a driving record until the problem driver point system /national database is updated by the state that put a hold on the DL (driver’s license)”… which they say there may have been a delay before that national database was updated.

— Jan Mendoza, spokesperson

But guess what? After we got involved, California’s DMV checked that database.  It showed New York cleared Robin’s record so California will now let her drive again.

“Luckily Davis is bike friendly but there’s a world outside of Davis also that I’d like to experience,” said Robin.

The California Transportation Agency oversees the DMV and they say the best way to deal with DMV issues is to call the DMV’s 800 number.

DMV Customer Service Line

(800) 777-0133

If that doesn’t work, you may want to contact your local assembly member or state senator, who may be able to advocate on your behalf.


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