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Repeat Offender Update--Registration Denial Web Site (05/25/2000)
The registration denial portion of the repeat offender legislation goes into effect on June 1, 2000. Michigan residents subject to registration denial cannot purchase, renew, or transfer a license plate, or obtain a registration for any motor vehicle they purchase, lease, or already own. This includes all motor vehicles they own, co-own, lease, or co-lease. Registration denial also affects duplicate and corrected registrations.
The dealer bulletin mailed to dealers last October announced the Department was working on several initiatives to help dealers comply with this important new law. The new initiatives included legislation to remove the titling prohibition and the development of a database that dealers can use to verify whether their customers are eligible to register their vehicle. Secretary of State Miller sent a letter to all dealers in January 2000 announcing that legislation to remove the titling restriction was enacted in December 1999.
REGISTRATION ELIGIBILITY WEB SITE
The registration denial database is located on the Department of State web site at http://www.michigan.gov/sos/0,4670,7-127-49534-32563--,00.html. There are two types of inquiries that are available after reaching the site. Dealers may enter either a driver license number or a personal identification number. If a driver license number is entered, the entry must contain one letter and 12 numbers, e.g., B123456789012.
REGISTRATION ELIGIBILITY WEB SITE
A confirmation that the "purchaser is eligible for vehicle registration."
A warning that the "purchaser may be denied vehicle registration."
A response that either the driver license or personal identification number is invalid.
A response that the Department of State has no record of either the driver license or personal identification number entered with a request to "Resubmit entry: Department of State has no record of this?number."
Dealers are advised to enter a driver license or personal identification number with care, as the number entered may be a legitimate number that belongs to a person other than your customer. The database will return a response with one of the messages described above, and will display the number you originally entered and a message advising you to print the page as a receipt. The receipt is to be retained by you as a file copy for your records. Do not include it with your paperwork that you present to the branch office for processing.
The web site contains a warning that the information is accurate at the time of inquiry but because the database may be updated daily, the registration eligibility information may change by the time you present the RD-108 transaction to the Secretary of State branch office for processing.
Following are some questions that dealers have posed since last fall's bulletin was published; and their answers:
Question: Does registration denial apply to mopeds, watercraft, or snowmobiles?
Answer: Registration denial does apply to mopeds. Watercraft and snowmobiles are registered under the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act and registration denial does not affect these transactions.
Question: Does registration denial apply to travel trailers or fifth wheel trailers?
Answer: Registration denial does not apply to trailers. The towing vehicle is subject to registration denial.
Question: The lease for a vehicle leased to a repeat offender who is subject to registration denial is ending. The vehicle's record with the Department of State has a message that no metal plate can be purchased nor can the vehicle be transferred except to a non-family member. The lessee will turn the vehicle in to the dealer but wants the dealer to sell the vehicle to the lessee's spouse. Can the dealer sell the vehicle to the lessee's spouse, assuming the spouse is eligible for registration?
Answer: Yes, the dealer may sell and register the vehicle to the lessee's spouse if the spouse is eligible for registration. The leasing company owns the vehicle, not the lessee. The spouse is not a family member of the leasing company so ownership of the vehicle can transfer to the spouse. The spouse must purchase a new plate or may transfer a plate already owned.
Question: A dealer issues a 15-day temporary registration to a customer who just purchased a vehicle. The Secretary of State's database confirms the purchaser is eligible for registration. When the RD-108 transaction is processed at the Secretary of State branch office, the dealer is issued a paper Michigan Temporary License Plate instead of the metal plate the customer purchased. What happened?
Answer: The customer was likely caught as a repeat offender by law enforcement while driving on the BFS-4 temporary registration issued by the dealership. The temporary registration was confiscated by the officer and a Section 904 paper plate issued. The paper plate remains with the vehicle until the customer's case is adjudicated. When the transaction is presented to the Department of State for processing, we will assign a new metal plate to the customer in our records but issue a replacement paper Michigan Temporary License Plate for the customer to place on the vehicle and a separate registration for it. When the case is adjudicated and the customer becomes eligible for a metal plate, the customer can activate the underlying registration and receive a replacement plate by paying a $5.00 fee.
Question: A vehicle was forfeited by a repeat offender and your dealership purchased it from either the local police agency or directly from the court. What do you need to obtain title in the dealership's name?
Answer: The court will issue an Order Following Forfeiture Proceedings that orders seizure and sale of the defendant's vehicle. This court order, accompanied by a bill of sale from either the court or the police agency, will authorize the Department to transfer ownership of the vehicle. You should complete an RD-108 for a resale title in your dealership's name and submit the court order and bill of sale with the RD-108 application for title. Both the bill of sale and court order should identify the vehicle, including the vehicle identification number.
Question: A dealer sold a new vehicle to a customer who purchased a new license plate. The Secretary of State branch office returned the unprocessed transaction with a message that the purchaser is under registration denial. The vehicle has already been delivered. What does the dealer do now?
Answer: At the urging of Michigan dealers, the repeat offender law was amended last December to permit the vehicle to be titled. If the vehicle has been delivered and all paperwork signed, the transaction cannot be voided. The dealer must apply for title for the purchaser. If there are multiple owners on the transaction, however, the dealer may correct the RD-108 to delete the name of the person who is denied registration before the RD-108 is processed. The dealer should draw a line through the name of the person being deleted and submit a certification signed by all persons named on the original RD-108 that they are in agreement with deleting the person. If there is only one person named on the RD-108 and that person is subject to registration denial, the Department of State will process the transaction as "title only." Dealers should talk to their local Secretary of State branch manager if they wish to be notified of registration denial when there are multiple owners.
Question: What if I don't have a computer or access to the Internet; how can I find out a purchaser's eligibility for registration?
Answer: If you do not have access to a computer or the Internet, you must rely on the advice we gave you last fall. If you have a customer who neither has a valid driver license nor insurance in his or her name, you should process the application for title before delivering the vehicle. This is your only assurance that your customer is eligible for registration.
Question: What if my purchaser is eligible for registration the day the RD-108 is signed but then enters registration denial status by the time the transaction is processed by the Secretary of State?
Answer: The Secretary of State must deny the registration. A "title only" transaction will be processed. If there is more than one person named on the RD-108, you may have the ability to delete the person who is denied registration. See additional information in the answer to Question 6 above.
PLATE FEE CALCULATION PROGRAM ALSO ON WEB SITE
If you have questions about the repeat offender legislation, registration denial, or the plate fee calculation disk, please telephone the Dealer and Repair Resource Section at (517) 373-6993.
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