A visit to the DMV in what is considered unincorported, semi-rural Laughlin, NV is usually, fast, easy, and relatively painless. Unless you are a Nevada resident and haven't switched over your registration. Then it can be painful in the wallet.
Recently we had to go in and renew a registration. There was virtually no wait at our small DMV.
No automated ticket system here. They use number cards you pick up from a stack on the table, if there is a wait. We were only the 10th person for the day. Staff returns them to the table later.
The staff (except for one woman supervisor to remain nameless) is very friendly, helpful, and wonderful. Only two people were working this day, and we were lucky to get the good one.
Currently, for new drivers or people who for some reason need to take a road test, this service isn't available in Laughlin. Apparently, the staff member who used to do this task left and has not yet been replaced.
While we were there, one person was ahead of us and two came in right after us. Two of the people were fairly new residents to Laughlin who just got nabbed by the Laughlin Constable office for violating the Pay Your Fair Share program.
One of them said the Laughlin Constables were going around his apartment complex writing citations for out of state plates.
Once you move to Nevada you have 30 days to get Nevada registration, plates, and change your license over. He complained he had to pay a $100 fee to the Constables office, then go to court to prove he had changed his registration to Nevada.
There had been some recent controversy in Las Vegas over this state statute. More on this later.
What is the Fair Share Program?
The “Fair Share” program is aimed at ensuring residents within its jurisdiction register their vehicles as required by state law. New residents are required to obtain their driver’s license within 30 days and register their vehicle with the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) at the same time, or within 30 days, whichever is sooner. To register your vehicle, you must provide proof of insurance from a Nevada-licensed carrier at the time of registration.
The 2009 State Legislature approved changes to state law, Nevada Revised Statute 482.385, allowing constables to issue citations for vehicle registration violations. The Legislature also increased penalties for violations.
- A hearing before a judge.
- A fine of up to $1,000 dollars per vehicle. The judge may reduce the fine to $200 if violators provide proof of registration at the time of their hearings.
- A bench warrant for arrest of the vehicle owner if the citation and fine are not paid by the specified deadline.
- A $100 fee payable to the Constable.
If cited for failure to register a vehicle, you are required to pay your outstanding fee to the Constable before registering with the Department of Motor Vehicles per NRS 482.230.
Certain non-residents also must register their vehicles in Nevada. You must register your vehicle here:
- if your vehicle is operated in Nevada for more than 30 days in a calendar year
- if you engage in a trade, profession or occupation or accept gainful employment in Nevada
- if you enroll your children in a public school in Nevada
- if you furnish a vehicle to a Nevada resident for continuous use here
There are some exceptions. You are not required to register your vehicle here if you are:
- on active duty in the military service of the United States
- an out-of-state student
- registered as a student at a college or university located outside Nevada and in the state for a period of not more than 6 months to participate in a work-study program for which you earn academic credits from the college or university
- a migrant or seasonal farm worker
- a border state employee (commute into Nevada for employment within 35 miles of the border)
Earlier in the year a case involving the Las Vegas Constable office, ended up with them suspending the program. Read more from the Review Journal Here.
After this occurred, the Laughlin Constable office decided to continue to enforce the Fair Share Law.
See excerpts from thet he Mohave Daily News (June of 2014) article
LAUGHLIN — Laughlin Constable Jordan Ross advised the Laughlin Nevada Times that his office will continue to enforce Nevada’s Fair Share law despite a federal court injunction issued last week against the Las Vegas Constable’s office barring it from doing so.
U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Gordon enjoined Constable John Bonaventura’s office from collecting a $100 fee that it normally assesses in Fair Share cases. In response, the Las Vegas constable said he will cease all Fair Share enforcement activity until the situation is resolved.
The case stems from a ticket issued to former Utah resident Nicole McMillen, who claims the $100 fee is akin to a shakedown, and the inability for her to argue the fee violates her constitutional right to due process.
Fair Share requires individuals who have moved to the Silver State to register their vehicles within 30 days. Ross and his deputies didn’t begin enforcing the law until last summer, even though it had been on the books since 2009.
In addition to the costs incurred with plating the vehicle and the assessment of any fines by the Justice Court, the owner is assessed a $100 fee by the constable’s office, a portion of which is used to compensate the deputy writing the citation.
Deputies are not paid with taxpayer dollars, Ross explained. Their wages derive from the fees that are collected. It’s no different than when a person goes to court and is assessed a fine plus court costs and other charges, he said.
“There has actually been so much abuse in Vegas of the Fair Share program that there was this ‘boycott Nevada’ movement going on,” Ross said at a town hall meeting last November. “The constables were not doing their due diligence investigation.... The law very specifically says we cannot write the citation until we have communicated with the owner or operator of the vehicle.”
And that’s why Bonaventura’s office is in trouble again, Ross said recently. “They’re not following the proper protocol. This case came about because of poor procedure.”
Once a ticket has been issued, the vehicle owner has to complete three steps, he explained:
Go to the constable’s office and pay the $100 assessment fee, go to the Department of Motor Vehicle and register the vehicle, and then appear in court with documentation that the vehicle has been registered.
The first step - paying the $100 fee to the constable’s office - cannot be skipped, said Ross.
“The constable’s office will lock the violator out of the ... DMV computer system so if they go to the DMV and try and pay the registration, it won’t work until the constable unlocks it.
“However, if you’re going to court to fight the ticket, then please don’t pay the fee before you go. If you don’t have to pay the fine, you don’t have to pay the assessment.
But if you’re found guilty, you pay.”
|Constable Jordan Ross|
For questions regarding whether you must register your vehicle, call the Laughlin office of the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles at (702) 486-4368. Violators may be reported to the Laughlin Constable Citizen Hotline at (702) 298-2207.
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Laughlin Constable Office
Mohave Daily News
Las Vegas Review Journal