Citations down slightly for new residents not registering cars in Nevada

Michael Lopardi

Photo: Video by ktnv.com

Citations down slightly for new residents not registering cars in Nevada

CREATED Jan. 16, 2014

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Some new residents are learning a tough lesson: Register your car in Nevada or face a fine.

Others have already received the message. The Las Vegas Township Constable's Office said the number of citations issued for not obtaining Nevada plates was down slightly in 2013.

Deputies issued 3,491 citations in 2013, 3,520 in 2012 and 6,162 in 2011, according to numbers provided by spokesman Lou Toomin. The office did not have the amount of revenue generated in new registrations readily available, though 89-percent of people cited in 2013 eventually registered, the numbers show.

Toomin credits increased awareness of the rules and enforcement by staff for the drop as part of the state's Fair Share program. People who live, work and drive a vehicle in the state for more than 30 days must register their vehicle here, the state said. The goal is to make sure drivers pay their fair share to use the roads.

Violators face a $100 fee and fines of up to $1,000. Revenue from the fees pays for administration of the program and revenue from the fines goes towards education programs in the state, Toomin said.

The bright yellow ticket left on the car window quickly caught the attention of Princess Duke of Las Vegas.

"I was confused and I was kind of frightened because it said a criminal action could be brought against me and I really had no idea what I had done wrong," said Duke.

Duke moved to Las Vegas at the end of September. Her car has California plates. Her partner took the vehicle to California to continue her job. The couple was reunited in November when the partner arrived in Las Vegas with the car for a seasonal job. Duke said she was confused about registration because of the seasonal job status.

"We didn't have to get it registered right away," Duke said. "In our opinion, we didn't think we had to."

In January, the couple found the ticket on the car.

"We thought it was unfair, actually, for us to have to pay it when we were just maybe five days away from her seasonal job ending and to see if she was going back with the vehicle," said Duke.

The Las Vegas constable's office receives nearly 50 calls a day on its hotline from people reporting drivers who have not registered their vehicles in Nevada, Toomin said. Deputies investigate the cases but neither deputies or callers receive a reward for finding violators, Toomin said.

"We only enforce the laws that are already on the book," Toomin said. "They have to be enforced and the Vegas constable is the one that enforces that law."

The law includes exceptions for military, students and tourists. 

Turns out, being a seasonal employee doesn't necessarily mean you are a seasonal resident. The constable's office said seasonal residents must return to their permanent residence at least one month out of the year and cannot conduct a trade or earn wages within the state. 

Duke said she'll register the car in the Silver State and hopes others learn from her experience.

"I just hope that it brings light to the issue that other people who may be in a similar situation as us can be educated," she said.

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