Once again, I am stuck in Department of Motor Vehicles hell

I often tell folks I’m cursed when it comes to dealing with the DMV, and most often they shrug, as if to say – we’re all cursed, it’s banal. To which I assert that you’ve seen nothing till you’ve seen the trouble I’ve been through. My latest story:

I moved to MA. I go get insurance, they charge me an extra $80 a year for driving without insurance in ’92, which I did not do, it’s a paperwork error from NY that I discovered when I moved to NY 2 years ago.

Anyway, next I go in to MA DMV, take a ticket, wait 45 minutes, and get my turn at the window. Some minutes later, I am informed that my right to drive in MA is suspended, and has been since 1992. Why, I ask. Turns out I had a ticket which I paid, but which they claim I paid late. Suddenly I remember what happened 14 years ago – I got a ticket returning to Maine from NY after Thanksgiving. I paid the ticket. A year later I get a letter informing me I did not pay, and that my right to drive is suspended. I dig up the canceled check and send it via registered mail to MA, saying ‘I did pay, here’s a copy of my check you cashed.’ They respond – ‘ok, but you paid late,’ because they calculate the payment not by when the check was cashed, but by when I responded via registered mail (!!!). I write them back a registered snarky mail which amounts to, fuck you, your system is mistaken, look at the date again, you cashed my check before the due date of the ticket.’ They respond ‘no. Pay up.’ I start ignoring them, and 14 years pass. We forget about each other.

Until this past Friday. It costs me 4.5 hours and several hundred dollars to resolve this, get my new license and registration, and escape DMV. I go home. As I am putting the registration into its pouch, what do I notice? They’ve issued me a license with my Dad’s name (David C. Hamilton instead of the correct David L. Hamilton). This despite me having provided multiple forms of ID with the correct identity on it (NY License, Passport, Birth Certificate, Social Security Card).

So, back to DMV for me today. What do you want to bet this costs me hundreds to resolve? And trust me, you don’t want my Dad’s identity, he has creditors looking for him, they sometimes end up calling me. Now that my license says me is him, I almost guarantee they come looking for me.

I’m cursed when it comes to the DMV, I tell you. Cursed!

(I never wrote about my last run in with them, when I moved to NY, but it was similar. Failed to turn in license plates when I moved to maine in ’92, so NY recorded me as driving without insurance, which I had not done (I had simply failed to turn in my plates), so NY recorded me as driving unregistered and uninsured. For 13 years. I say fine, how much will it cost to fix this, they say ‘$25’ I ask to pay, and they say ‘you can’t do that here, this is a regional office, go pay at the central office.’)


Fucking DMV.

0 thoughts on “Once again, I am stuck in Department of Motor Vehicles hell

  1. Nick S. says:

    I sympathize man. It cost me almost $1000 to register a van, trailer and bike here in California. $1000!!!!!! WTF?? Plus I took the seats out of van. Now they insist it must be for commercial use, so… pay up!
    You’re story reminded me that I still have a plate on the m/c I just sold to Andrew. Oops…. pay up!


  2. dlh says:

    It only gets worse – I went back yesterday to try and get this fixed – showed up and the machine that dispenses the tickets (like at a deli counter) was out of paper tape, and there were several clerks fussing with it and a line of people out the door. They couldn’t figure out how to thread the paper through it….So 20 minutes later this gets resolved, I see the clerk, and they say ‘that sucks, but there is nothing we can do. You have to wait till the real driver’s license shows up in the mail, then come back and see us. (as much as 2 weeks). When I asked what I should do if I got pulled over and the police questioned the difference between my name on the license and my name on the insurance, they had no answer. When I asked if I could have printed aknowledgement from them that they made this mistake, they could not provide it.’

    Chances are I am making a mountain of a molehill, but man, it irks me.

    Meanwhile Nick, were those super high reg fees in CA because of their stringent emissions laws and your old van? That was my first thought.


  3. Drew says:

    The high registration fees in CA has to do with the freeways doesn’t it? No tolls and such?
    New Hampshire does the same sort of thing due to not having income tax. When Patty and I got our marriage license, we watched some lady pay around $800 to register her car. $500 or so to the state and the rest to the town or county.


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