A tale of two DMVs

Let me tell you a tale of two DMVs.

So I was on business travel in February of 2014 in Melbourne, FL, and received  a minor traffic citation. That’s where the fun begins.

I found it pretty ridiculous that I had to pay $180  the infraction but I paid it.  Problem solved right?   Apparently not.

The court in FL, despite me actually having paid the ticket, notified the state of Maryland, where I reside and have a driver’s license, that I had an unpaid ticket.   Maryland suspended my license and failed to tell me about it.

Until last night, when I was driving home, and got pulled over for a brake light being out, no big deal, I thought.   Until the policeman comes back and says “sir, your license is suspended due to an unpaid ticket in Florida.

I told the officer I’d paid the ticket, but he said there wasn’t anything he could do.   He issued me a citation for driving with a suspended license, and then said while technically I wasn’t supposed to drive, he was going to go up the road, and after he left, if I wanted to finish the drive home, he wasn’t going to cite me.

Thank you Mr. Police Officer, that was actually helpful.  He also told me I’d need to give proof to the DMV that the ticket was paid to remove the suspension AND I’d have to go to a mandatory court date for the suspension as well.

Got home, ranted a lot.

So I got online, found my ticket, and found that it was paid.   Emailed the Court Clerk and said “I paid this ticket, and some how Maryland thinks I didn’t.   They said “you’ll need to get a certificate of compliance to the Maryland DMV, pay us $10 and we’ll fax you a copy.”

Ok, annoyed because this isn’t my fault, I pay them the $10 over the phone, and get them to fax me the receipt of payment.

Thus ends the first tale.

Now I call the Maryland DMV, sit on hold forever (more than 40 minutes), and finally get someone.   They explain that I needed to have them faxed to the DMV directly, and that it would take 48 hours to clear the suspension.   Great, I foresee another $10 fee in my future.  They also give me a number for the suspension office as well as their fax number.

I call the suspension office, sit on hold for just a few minutes, and get a very nice woman.   I explain to her what happened, and how honestly, none of this is really my fault (well, other than having a brake light out, but that isn’t the issue).   She says “that is so dumb, let me call Florida, talk to someone, confirm that you’ve paid the ticket, and I can have the suspension lifted in an hour.   You’ll need to pay us $20 online, but you can be done by  COB today.  I will call you back when I’ve removed the suspension.”

Now honestly, once I got to the right personnel, they were very friendly (I only had one hostile encounter). But I’m still asking myself, why did I just pay $30 for something that really isn’t my fault at all?


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