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California Drivers Face Fine Confusion After DMV Notice Delays

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A sign at a California Department of Motor Vehicles office. (Robyn Beck/Getty Images)

A sign at a California Department of Motor Vehicles office. (Robyn Beck/Getty Images)

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SACRAMENTO (CBS 5) – Budget delays in the California legislature this summer kept the state from sending out the Department of Motor Vehicles registration renewal notices on time, leaving many Californians confused about the potential for big fines.

“It was due the same day I got it,” said driver Claire Johnson.

The DMV has promised that drivers will have extra time to pay as a result of the delay.

“What we want customers to know is — you don’t have to panic,” said Jamie Garza of the California DMV. “You will have 30 days from the due date to pay your renewal without any penalties.”

But now some customers are upset about what happens at the end of 30 days. On the 31st day you might think you only have to pay a one-day fine. Instead, you have to pay a 31 day fine, which is a huge penalty – 60 percent of your bill.

The DMV mailed a special notice explaining the 30 day grace period, but some were still left confused.

The DMV spokesman that we asked about the late fee said he couldn’t go on camera Tuesday, but believes the special order is clear. He pointed out there are detailed instructions on the DMV web site as well as the bill, showing just how much the fine will be depending on what day you pay it.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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