Friday, June 8, 2001
About those out-of-state vehicle registrations...
Massachusetts General Law Chapter 90, section 9, states in part, no person shall operate any motor vehicle upon any way unless such vehicle is registered, Anyone who operates a vehicle in violation of this chapter and section shall be punished by a fine of $100 for the first offense and up to $1000 for any subsequent offense.
The Carlisle Police Department occasionally gets complaints from residents suggesting that a neighbor's vehicle or vehicles are registered in another state. The residents are concerned, and rightly so, that this may not only be illegal, but that it is also unfair, given the high cost of a car registration, insurance and excise tax. In general, with a few exceptions, the laws of the Commonwealth require that a resident register his vehicle in this state. The main issue is residency. The fact that someone lives in this state or this community does not necessarily make him or her a resident.
A recent anonymous complaint to this department, suggesting that a resident had their vehicle registered in New Hampshire, is an example of this residency issue. Living in Carlisle does not necessarily make a person a "resident" with respect to vehicle registration. According to the legal division of the Registry of Motor Vehicles, there are several factors that need to be taken into consideration relative to determining one's primary residence: where the individual pays his or her taxes, where the children go to school and where the individual is registered to vote. In the case at hand, the department determined that the "residents" were renting in Carlisle, that their primary residence was in New Hampshire and they were registered to vote in New Hampshire and, as such, did not need to register their vehicles in this state. However, any out-of-state resident, if residing in this state for more than 30 days, must have insurance coverage.
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