By RICK DAVIS
Special to The Press-Enterprise
Q: Linda Baldwin's voice mail contained a question about how a woman who changes her last name due to a marriage or divorce. "How can you get your name changed on your driver's license?" asked the Redlands resident.
A: The first step involves contacting the Social Security Administration to change your name in that agency's records, according to DMV public information officer Jan Mendoza.
"Then you can make an appointment with your nearest DMV field office to complete an application for a name change," Mendoza said. "The DMV will verify your name, birth date and Social Security number electronically with the Social Security Administration. If your new name can't be verified verify with the SSA, a new driver's license or identification card won't be issued."
The California Code of Regulations required verification of a DMV customer's "true full name" using the same documents that establish legal presence, said DMV public information officer Armando Botello.
A new license applicant must bring "acceptable evidence" of the new name to the DMV -- an original or certified copy of a birth date/legal presence document or a true full-name document. The name change can be verified by an original or certified-copy marriage certificate, adoption document (for an adoption-related name-change applicant), declaration or registration document denoting formation of a domestic partnership, divorce/dissolution of marriage document from a court or completed medical information authorization form in conjunction with a gender change. Additionally, Botello noted a divorce decree must include the applicant's restored name. It also requires a passport or birth certificate. There's a $22 fee for a new-name license. An ID card for a senior is free.
Once a new name is verified and an application processed, an applicant's current license or ID card is surrendered and a 60-day license is issued until a new one is mailed. "So, before leaving the field office, make sure the DMV has your current address," Mendoza said. "Also, this process only applies to a driver's license. Changing a name on a vehicle registration is separate."
Name changes on vehicle registrations are outlined in Section 15.020 of the DMV Registration Manual. It involves completing a form and presenting the vehicle's ownership title at a DMV field office.
Q: San Bernardino resident Patrick O'Connor wrote in an e-mail he's heard the DMV has a points system for California drivers and it's based on at-fault accidents and violations. His question: How does it work?
A: Moving violations, depending on severity, count as one or two points on a person's driving record, according to the vehicle code. More serious violations such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, hit-and-run or reckless driving count as two points each and remain on a driving record for seven-to-10 years from the date convicted. Lesser violations count as one point each and remain on a driving record for three years from the violation date. An at-fault accident counts as one point on a driving record.
A driver who accumulates four points within 12 months, six points within 24 months or eight points within 36 months becomes a "negligent operator." The result is suspension of his/her driver's license for a DMV- or court-determined period of time that normally does not exceed six months. Under certain circumstances, a suspension can be for 12 months.
Published: Monday, November 17, 2008