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rachelpaige98
01-27-2018, 10:14 AM
So this really isn't important to my plot, but it got me thinking.
I know driver's licenses have to be renewed about every four years or upon moving to a new state.
My MC moved every six months as a kid because her parents were trying to avoid some particular people (and the police). They moved to a new state each time.
I just don't see them bothering to renew their licenses each time. They'd renew them when they expire, but do they have to every time they move? Is this one of those things that no one would notice or necessarily care about? Or that they could play off saying they "forgot" or just hadn't done it yet?

Again, not vital to my plot, but good to know.

MaeZe
01-27-2018, 10:36 AM
You can drive with an out-of-state driver's license, no problem in the US. I used to keep my old one, saying I lost it when I went in for a new one when I moved. You are supposed to get a new license if you move to a new state but it would rarely be an issue.

benbenberi
01-27-2018, 06:54 PM
I think most states have a grace period for people who move in, but after that time you're supposed to get a license for the state you're living in. HOWEVER, if you're not trying to do something that requires proof of residency (like registering for school or voting) it's unlikely anybody is going to come after you proactively. If they're moving twice a year, they're probably safe keeping a valid out-of-state license even if it's from a couple of states ago.

You'll want to check the specific rules for the states you're using, of course. Things like residence requirements and license renewal/changes are different from place to place.

RobertLCollins
01-27-2018, 07:06 PM
I think it's safe to also say that renewal periods have changed over time. I recall that when I first got my license, in Kansas they had to be renewed every 4 years. Now I think the renewal is every 6 years, probably so long as you have a good driving record.

Which makes me ask, did you MC's parents do much driving while they were doing all this moving around? The more you drive, the more you risk getting into an accident. Did they find work that they could walk to, or live on the work site? Have those habits, or others, gotten into the head of your MC? Who knows? Maybe you question might be relevant to your story after all.

pdichellis
01-27-2018, 09:08 PM
Likely depends on the state. If you move to California, you're required to get a California license and registration after a grace period. An out-of state-license can become an issue in some transactions because banks, landlords, insurance agents, and others want to see local ID. And in any police traffic stop, you can get ticketed if you are a resident but don't have local license and registration. Some of this is simply about state revenues. Registration (especially) is expensive in CA and the state wants the $$$. (At least, all this is how it was when I moved here, though that was quite a few years ago.)

Good luck!

Sage
01-27-2018, 09:57 PM
If your characters are on the run from people including the police, they're probably not going to bother with worrying about whether their license needs to be changed at each state. It feels like an easy way to track them, to be honest.

It's more likely, in that scenario, that they'd hook up with someone who could make them fake IDs that they could use in a pinch.

Chris P
01-27-2018, 10:05 PM
If your characters are on the run from people including the police, they're probably not going to bother with worrying about whether their license needs to be changed at each state. It feels like an easy way to track them, to be honest.

It's more likely, in that scenario, that they'd hook up with someone who could make them fake IDs that they could use in a pinch.

This. Example: when I registered to get my Virginia driver's license, several of the security questions were things like "Of the following five, which one is a make and model of car you have driven?" And: "Of the following five, which one is the name of a street you have lived on?" and then it listed five options, one of which was correct. They could only have gotten this information from my previous license and car registration information. If your characters are running from the cops, they absolutely do not want to renew their licenses. Or voting registration. Or apply for government assistance (food stamps, etc.).

MaeZe
01-28-2018, 12:45 AM
I think most states have a grace period for people who move in, but after that time you're supposed to get a license for the state you're living in. HOWEVER, if you're not trying to do something that requires proof of residency (like registering for school or voting) it's unlikely anybody is going to come after you proactively. If they're moving twice a year, they're probably safe keeping a valid out-of-state license even if it's from a couple of states ago.

You'll want to check the specific rules for the states you're using, of course. Things like residence requirements and license renewal/changes are different from place to place.

Speaking again from experience, I registered my son for school under my name, not his father's and the school never asked for any documentation, not of his birthday or his name. I eventually got his name changed and the first time we had any problems were opening a bank account for him. Since the USAPATRIOT Act, banks are big on your SSN matching your bank account name. Long story I won't get into here, needless to say Social Security Admin is woefully a mess.

MaeZe
01-28-2018, 12:48 AM
This. Example: when I registered to get my Virginia driver's license, several of the security questions were things like "Of the following five, which one is a make and model of car you have driven?" And: "Of the following five, which one is the name of a street you have lived on?" and then it listed five options, one of which was correct. They could only have gotten this information from my previous license and car registration information. If your characters are running from the cops, they absolutely do not want to renew their licenses. Or voting registration. Or apply for government assistance (food stamps, etc.).

That's weird. I've never been asked any such questions. Wonder if that is a state thing?

They send out renewal notices now, though, to renew by mail. There could be issues if they didn't forward the notice.

jclarkdawe
01-28-2018, 01:04 AM
If you're hiding from the police, you do not get a new driver's license. Police run a motor vehicle record and your new address shows up in about thirty seconds. Police in searching for someone run a check through the computers every so often.

When is this set? This makes a lot of difference on what you use, but basically you'd use a forged license. Or even more likely, no license. Photo ID is needed these days, but definitely not a license as those are easily checked.

Jim Clark-Dawe

Al X.
01-28-2018, 01:21 AM
Made me look.

California has a four year renewal interval, but you don't have to re-test or get a new photograph every time. My photo is over 13 years old and the only reason I even had to go in back then was to add a motorcycle endorsement.

Al X.
01-28-2018, 01:25 AM
Also, active duty military are exempt from getting a local license and there is a grace period (six months I think, depending on the state for driving on an expired license.

Another thing of note is that International drivers' licenses (which are just translations of your native license) are a thing of the past. I have yet to drive in another country which will not recognize my US license.

lonestarlibrarian
01-28-2018, 03:30 AM
I have tenants who apply for rental houses. Two of the questions I ask are "what is your current address" and "what is your prior address". I have a number of prospects whose driver's licenses depict yet a third address. So for people who bounce around--- for whatever reason--- renewing the driver's license is less of a priority than I'd expect.

The biggest issue I could think of would be if voting is important to that person-- you'd want your name and address to show up on the voter registration rolls, and be able to provide proper documentation that that's you and you have sufficient residency to vote. But otherwise, it would be relatively easy to skate and say, "Oh, I was meaning to..." especially if they expect to uproot five months later.

jclarkdawe
01-28-2018, 04:22 AM
People in hiding don't go to places where ID is asked. They go to the cheap places whose only concern is cash.

You also don't work in jobs where you're paid in checks and have to report the income.

Jim Clark-Dawe

frimble3
01-28-2018, 04:34 AM
And drive carefully, but not suspiciously so, 'cause if you're stopped by the police, they seem to take an inordinate amount of interest in your driver's license. Do you have one, is it valid, is it coming up on our records, does it match you or your other information? They appear to be looking for any tiny infraction or oddity.(This I gather from watching 'Cops' etc.)

Tazlima
01-28-2018, 06:25 AM
I've personally seen the extreme limits on both ends of the spectrum re: driver's license renewal regulations. (Disclaimer: This was all a long time ago, and the regulations may have changed since then).

If you want them to not have to renew, have their original licenses be from Arizona. I got my first driver's license there on my 16th birthday. I rushed home to show off my newly-minted license, and my mother noticed it didn't expire for approx. 40 years. She was like, "Oh, they made a mistake," and made me go back to the DMV to get it corrected. Turns out, nope, it was right. This was in the 90s, and they'd recently changed the laws so that licenses were automatically good until you were 60, regardless of current age. I think you were still supposed to go every 10 years or so to get a new picture, but that was it. I bounced around a lot after high school and lived internationally for several years. I saw no point updating it, since I didn't need to drive during those years, and my passport was my primary ID (US passports don't have addresses on them), so I just kept that old license and used my parents' address as my permanent/mailing address. I have to say, I was really sorry to lose it when I finally settled down and had to update it.

On the other end of the spectrum, I have a story of enforcement. My parents moved to Virginia at one point and, like many states, VA has a fairly short window in which you're supposed to update your license. I think it was maybe six or eight weeks? Anyway, they moved into an apartment short-term while they looked for a house. Turns out this particular apartment complex was often used by people in their situation, short-term rentals while house-shopping, and the local PD knew it. They also knew that it can take months to find and purchase a house, so every day they'd stop by the complex and write down license plate numbers to track how long people had been in the state. My folks got slapped with a fine the day after the deadline ticked over.

Oh! One other thing that may or may not be useful. I do HR work at my job and one of the forms new hires have to complete is the I-9 form, which is used to confirm eligibility to work in the US. There are different documents you can show to satisfy the I-9 requirements (the most common being a combination of DL and social security card), but a US passport is, by itself, sufficient documentation. If they got jobs in these different states and had unexpired passports, they'd have no problem on that front.

rachelpaige98
01-30-2018, 09:32 AM
THANK YOU ALL!
This is truly fascinating information and super helpful! Thank you all for your input, it helped me see into my MC's parents a bit!

Bren McDonnall
01-31-2018, 09:39 AM
Just in the last couple of years, it seems like ID rules are much more stringent due to the Patriot Act and its offspring. I had to pony up a birth cert last time I renewed, in spite of having had the same license and number for the past thirty plus years. It's comical that they wouldn't accept my state issued CCW, but readily accepted a 60 year old typed document.

In the old days, before every police car was a mobile computer terminal, it was much easier. These days? You may get your plates run just being parked legally. Plates come back dirty, you'll get a knock on the window (so to speak) New licenses are also MUCH harder to fake. My first license in high school, I could almost fake with then current tech. My current license is a multi-layer holographic that you can't even photocopy.

Short answer is that it gets harder and harder to stay under the radar every month.

If the cops or anybody with access to the cops is looking, you take public transportation, you work construction or food service for cash (while competing with illegals who'll underbid you unless you're willing to live a pretty barren lifestyle) You steal license plates regularly and ditch them after a couple of weeks, and you hope that you don't zig when you should have zagged.