(WSVN) - Drivers who have to renew their licenses in person are having an extremely difficult time getting appointments at the scaled down DMV, and some are now getting tickets for expired licenses. Find out whether that’s legal in tonight’s Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
To use a pun, it’s driving people crazy.
Luis Sosa, can’t renew driver’s license: “I’ve been going online every day trying to schedule an appointment. It is impossible.”
Luis can’t renew his driver’s license with the Division of Motor Vehicles, and he is not alone.
Voicemail 1: “My driver’s license is expiring, and they’re telling you they can’t help you.”
From voicemails and emails, so many South Floridians who have to renew their licenses in person are told you have to first make an appointment.
This fellow wrote, “I am 80 years old. I can’t reach them by telephone. Their line is always busy.”
He is right, and if you go online to make an appointment…
Woman: “DMV is unavailable for any appointments. Have they gone COVID mad?”
Many people give up and show up at the DMV, where they are turned away.
Man: “We need to do it. It’s an emergency.”
Man 2: “I try every day. Every day there’s no appointments.”
And if you get caught by the police driving to work or the grocery store with that expired license, watch out.
Luis found out after his license expired.
Luis Sosa: “‘I have to give you a ticket, a citation for the expired license,’ and I explained to him, ‘I can’t go to an office. I don’t have a way to renew my license.'”
A $113 ticket for driving with an expired license, expired because South Florida drivers can’t get an appointment in Miami-Dade or Broward to renew their license.
So Luis expanded his search for an appointment.
Luis Sosa: “Because I was willing to drive all the way to Palm Beach, Orlando, wherever I had to go to get the renewal, and everything says ‘No appointments available.'”
The state cannot renew their licenses, but police officers can write you tickets for not renewing your license.
Sarcastic South Floridians have had enough.
Voicemail 2: “Here is a novel idea: how about allowing that person to do it by mail, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out, and yet once again, our officials in Tallahassee have proven how totally inept they are.”
Well, people are frustrated because the state can’t renew everyone’s license, so Howard, what can drivers do?
Howard Finkelstein, 7News Legal Expert: “If you are one of those people who has to renew in person, realize this mess is not your fault. It’s just about impossible to get an appointment because the system is overloaded, so while you wait, go online and get a temporary license, which is good for up to six months.”
So does Luis have to pay the ticket?
Howard Finkelstein: “No, he doesn’t, but he cannot ignore it. To fight it, either go online or mail the ticket back pleading not guilty. Hopefully, the judge will realize the problems the Division of Motor Vehicles is having and dismiss the ticket.”
Another COVID question: you get the virus and many associations are now demanding residents to notify them if they test positive. Do you have to disclose that?
Howard Finkelstein: “No. It’s that simple. It’s none of their business.”
We are hearing from a few viewers who say they have friends who don’t like to wear masks, and they got a doctor to write a note saying they have a condition, even though they don’t, so they can go out without a mask. Legally, can a doctor do that?
Howard Finkelstein: “It’s unethical for a doctor to knowingly assist someone in using a false medical condition to avoid wearing a mask, and if they write the note knowing someone doesn’t have the condition, they can lose their license to practice medicine.”
Luis Sosa: “I’m going to still drive. I don’t have an option.”
We found some openings, and Luis now has an appointment to renew his license.
The state currently has appointments for 2,500 people a day, and they told us they are trying to add more.
But Luis says it’s not enough.
Luis Sosa: “I think it’s unfair. They’re asking me for something they’re not providing.”
Now, many people can renew their license online.
The links to do that, plus make an appointment if you have to go in person, or if you want to get a temporary license, are down below.
And if you have a problem or a question about the coronavirus, please get in touch with us. We want to help you get through this pandemic as smoothly as possible.
DRIVERS LICENSE RENEWAL AND TEMPORARY LICENSE INFORMATION:
Currently, the effective period of driver licenses and identification cards with expiration dates on or after May 1, 2020, through May 31, 2020, has been extended for thirty (30) days.
Miami-Dade and Broward are open by appointment only through our online booking system.
Miami-Dade driver license and motor vehicle service center information — including location information, contact info, office hours, and a link to make an appointment — can be found here.
Broward’s can be found here.
Information for all counties can be found here.
In situations where a customer is required by state and federal law to visit an office to renew their driver’s license rather than online, we are able to provide them with a temporary permit extending the expiration date of their current license due to travel restrictions and office closures that have resulted from COVID-19. Customers can submit a request for a temporary permit at: http://www3.flhsmv.gov/DDL/CQS. This temporary permit should be printed, signed, and kept with the driver’s current license. These permits provide additional time for the offices to reopen and give customers the chance to renew at an office.
Since March 1, 2020, the department has conducted over 1.4 million motor vehicle and credential transactions virtually through the department’s online services web page: GoRenew.com.
FLHSMV encourages Floridians who can, to complete their driver’s license or motor vehicle transactions online to ensure those who must visit an office are able to do so safely, quickly and efficiently.
Customer service agents are available at 850-617-2000 for general inquiries from Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Self-service options are available by calling 850-617-3000.
Updates on FLHSMV’s response to COVID-19 can be found here.
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