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Leaving California before car registration expires likely won’t get you a refund

Q. Hi Honk: Any chance this could be answered quickly? We’ve just sold our house. Yeah! We’re moving by June and we’ll need to register our vehicles in the state of Washington. Because we just paid California for vehicle registration, any possibility of getting the state to reimburse us for the months of registration we’re not living in California? Doesn’t seem fair for them to keep our money when we are no longer California residents.

– Joyce Combes, Rancho Santa Margarita

A. Honk would prefer you remember us here in the Golden State fondly, Joyce.

But the state won’t give you a refund for registration fees. Further, the Department of Motor Vehicles insists that you tell it when any vehicle is registered elsewhere.

“Since the customer paid for the registration, and drove for a portion of the year before moving out of state, registration fees will not be refunded or prorated,” Chris Orrock, a spokesman for the DMV, told Honk in an email.

There are exceptions, such as if you paid and moved before the new registration period kicked in. Or the car was junked before that first day of the new, year-long time frame.

Honk will miss you being in these parts, Joyce, but he hopes you keep reading him online.

Q. Can I get a Real ID when I renew my California driver’s license?

– Scott Irwin, Fullerton

A. Yes.

But getting a Real ID requires going into a field office, although much can be accomplished online.

During our recent chat, you said you were more than 70 years old. Typically after that threshold, drivers must renew their licenses every five years by going into a field office and taking a vision and a knowledge test. Younger folk typically can renew online except every 15 years when they, too, must get the thrill of heading into a DMV office.

But because of the pandemic, in September Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a temporary waiver – most drivers 70 and older can renew via online or mail through the end of this year.

So, Scott, you can head into an office and tackle both this year, or renew online or by mail this time and get a Real ID later.

Many desire a Real ID, because beginning May 3, 2023, it will be one of the federally accepted IDs needed to board a domestic flight. There are other IDs that will also work, including a U.S. passport and military ID.

HONKIN’ FACT: San Francisco police pulled over a Chevy Bolt the night of April 1 because it didn’t have its headlights on. A cop walked up to the car, looked inside, didn’t see a driver, tried the door handle, started to returning to his patrol car and then the Bolt went through a green light and pulled over to the curb and put on its flashers. It was operated by Cruise, which has a driverless taxi service. “How does that happen?” a bystander says on a video posted to Instagram of the unusual traffic stop. A Cruise rep told Business Insider: “Our AV (autonomous vehicle) yielded to the police vehicle, then pulled over to the nearest safe location for the traffic stop, as intended. An officer contacted Cruise personnel and no citation was issued.”

To ask Honk questions, reach him at He only answers those that are published. To see Honk online: Twitter: @OCRegisterHonk

Source: Orange County Register

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