By Julie Watts


SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The DMV is urging people to use their “virtual field offices” amid the coronavirus closures.

CBS13 has heard from a variety of viewers who’ve reported struggles and concerns related to expired licenses ranging from the ability to travel to the ability to purchase alcohol. At least one viewer said he was told he couldn’t purchase a gun.

On Tuesday, DMV Director Steve Gordon acknowledged there may be a lack of awareness about new policies intended to help people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re doing what we’re doing our best to make sure that people are aware. Part of that awareness campaign, again, is what we’re doing here today,” Gordon said.

The DMV held a press conference on Facebook live where the director touted the agency’s new virtual services. From unmanned DMV kiosks to new online service, Gordon said the DMV has rolled out a variety of virtual options that allow people to “be able to resolve those issues without having a trip to the field office.

Following an executive order, the DMV extended newly expired California driver’s licenses through the end of May. The agency waived in-person requirements for renewal and drivers can now log on and print out an extension to carry along with their expired ID.

But commenters on Facebook live raised a series of other issues. One woman said she’d been waiting six weeks for the replacement license that she ordered online and several people raised concerns about needing a new license or a driving test.

Gordon acknowledged those are just some of the things the DMV can accomplish virtually.

“There’s a number of people that have written me and some of them have been teenagers trying to get their permit,” Gordon said. 

He says while people can extend their permits and licenses online, and commercial truck drivers can take their exams remotely, most Californians still have to wait to apply for a new license or permit in person.

“We are looking at something as part of our modernization effort, finding a way to extend our exams so that people can take them where they are,” Gordon said.

But what about people being turned away from services due to federal driver’s license requirements?

CBS13 called several local gun stores Tuesday. Each said they would not sell a gun to someone with an expired license, despite the DMV extension.

Though the Department of Justice told CBS13: “If a state issues an executive order extending the expiration date on state licenses, a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) can accept the license as a valid identification document for purposes of a firearms transaction.”

TSA says tells us they will allow people to travel with licenses that “expired on or after March 1.”

The Bureau of Alcohol and Beverage Control says the decision to sell alcohol to someone with an expired license is up to the store owner. The law only says they can’t sell to a minor, it doesn’t require they check IDs.

Some people are worried about getting their Real IDs, but the federal government has now extended that deadline until October 2021.

Julie Watts

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