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Texas Drivers Licensing Problem - long post


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#1 SKP On the Go

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 07:36 AM

My first post, sorry it's so long. My husband and I bought property in Texas several years ago... a vacant lot. When we decided to Fulltime, we chose this state to domicile because we planned to eventually build on that lot and thought it would be easier to just change our address when the time comes. So, we are attempting to register our vechicles and obtain our driver's licenses. Registration of our RV and tow vehicle went smoothly except that we had to remove the window tint on both in order to pass the inspections. But we went to get our Drivers Licenses on Monday and ran into trouble. First, we showed up about mid morning to a line about 30 people deep. Someone ahead of us said she was there previously and was told she needed a passport because she was a new resident. While I didn't believe this entirely (and its not true), I didn't want to stand in line for two hours to be turned away so we went home and got our passports, along with everything else we thought we would possibly need and returned in the afternoon.

Two hours in line.... we both walked up to the counter together since we had only one copy of the registration and insurnace docs and thought it would be easier for one person to handle both. No. They separated us. I presented my info, was within 30 seconds or so of getting my DL processed when the other clerk, now helping my husband, told him he could not use the mailing address in Livingston as his residency. She stopped the clerk assisting me and took all the paperwork and told us repeatedly that we could not use that address but that we must have a physical address in TX and she new that the Livingston address was not considered a physical address. She suggested we use a relative's address and I explained that most FT RVers will not have a relative in TX, and we did not either. Then she suggested we use the address of the RV Park we are currently staying at. I thought this was ridicuous. She escalated to her supervisor at my insistance who was off-site. We explained the whole Escapees use of the Livingston address being upheld in court as an acceptable address but they wanted proof. We called Escapees and they couldn't provide anything the cleck would accept. The reason we could not use the Livingston address we were told was because of a NEW law that said you have to have a physical address in case there was an emergency -- police needed to go to a physical address to notify our next of kin. They were so willing to let us use any address, that I finally gave them the street address of the vacant lot! and they knew it was a vacant lot! And they didn't ask for any verification of that address - I could have made one up. But that wasn't enough, they had to enter our address on two lines, the first being the lot street address, then the Rainbow Drive street address, then the city and state as Spring Branch where the lot is. I guess they would rather dispatch a police officer in an emergency to a vacant lot then to the Escapees address where my actual emergency contact info is on record. I am so disappionted in this whole experience.

Now we are trying to work with Escapees to fix our address. We will problably have to enter a change of address and pay another $10 apeice to do it. And it will be our luck, they will require we do it in person so we'll have the pleasure of standing in line again. But more importantly, we wanted to let Escapees know that we had this problem because if this is a new law, and others try to get their DL but have no property in TX, they could have the same problem.


Tina and Jeff
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#2 Al Florida

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 07:58 AM

Did you give them your address as "999 Rainbow Dr PMB 1111?

When we were using Escapees for our mail we always gave our address as "130 Rainbow Dr. #1234", never as "PMB 1234". This is typically the way apartment addresses are listed, so generally people assume you are in an apartment.

A few places we received mail from had a computer program which "knew" the address was a PMB (Personal Mail Box) and addressed our mail as PMB 1111, but most of the time the mail came as just an apartment number.

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#3 SKP On the Go

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 08:26 AM

Did you give them your address as "999 Rainbow Dr PMB 1111?

When we were using Escapees for our mail we always gave our address as "130 Rainbow Dr. #1234", never as "PMB 1234". This is typically the way apartment addresses are listed, so generally people assume you are in an apartment.

A few places we received mail from had a computer program which "knew" the address was a PMB (Personal Mail Box) and addressed our mail as PMB 1111, but most of the time the mail came as just an apartment number.


No we did not use "PMB" or "Box" or anything like that. We did it just the way you did.
Tina and Jeff
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#4 Barbaraok

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 08:38 AM

Please list the city where this occurred, obviously it wasn't in Livingston.

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#5 Rif

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 08:39 AM

It's possible to run into this "ignorance" of the facts anywhere. Perhaps the easiest way to have fixed the problem would have been for them to call the DMV in Livingston. Those folks deal with this every day and could have set them straight.
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#6 SKP On the Go

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 09:01 AM

This all happened in the New Braunfels office. And if we had know it would turn out this way, we would have gone to Livingston, but that's 4 hours away. And I wish I had thought to ask them to call the Livingston office office but I didn't. Instead, I thought an escalation to the supervisor would take care of it but I was wrong.
Tina and Jeff
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and a 1987 Jeep Wrangler


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#7 Kellie Roberts

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 09:26 AM

Very sorry to hear of your licensing woes .. but also glad to hear that it was not in Livingston. George & I are currently studying for our written test as we speak, in order to get our licensing done while we're here.

This all happened in the New Braunfels office. And if we had know it would turn out this way, we would have gone to Livingston, but that's 4 hours away. And I wish I had thought to ask them to call the Livingston office office but I didn't. Instead, I thought an escalation to the supervisor would take care of it but I was wrong.


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#8 Barbaraok

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 09:30 AM

Kellie,

Do the practice test that is in the back of the booklet.

When you do the driving test, make sure to look both ways TWICE when you are at a stop and swivel your head when looking at your rear-view mirrors even if you can see them without swiveling your head.

Barb

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#9 Kellie Roberts

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 09:32 AM

Thanks Barb!

That is what we are presently studying & quizzing each other on :)

Kellie,

Do the practice test that is in the back of the booklet.

When you do the driving test, make sure to look both ways TWICE when you are at a stop and swivel your head when looking at your rear-view mirrors even if you can see them without swiveling your head.

Barb


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#10 BooneDocks

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 10:51 AM

Kellie, sent you and George a PM with some recollections of our experience with the Class B test in September in Livingston including the route we took. If anyone else wants then info, send me a PM.
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#11 Jack Mayer

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 11:07 AM

To the OP....you need to make sure Angie is aware of this. It is not an Escapees issue, but a DMV one. But an email to Angie is called for. This could happen anywhere, but won't happen in Livingston.

You will also have issues with a loan if you try to get one. If you are a fulltimer, almost no one will lend you money on a rig or otherwise. Essex, as far as I know, is the only major RV lender that will accept a fulltimer, and they have limits on the number of years they will finance. I "think" that it is 12 right now.

Small banks that you have a relationship with "may" lend, and Alliance "may" lend. I never saw a followup on the Alliance thread where someone was denied a loan.
With the change in requirements forced by the Patriot Act "interpretations" and the banking law changes (again the "interpretations") it is becoming more difficult to be a fulltimer and not lie in some fashion about it.

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#12 Kellie Roberts

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 11:22 AM

Thanks for the PM Gary. We have been using the practice test from that driver's manual which seems to mimick most of the questions you mentioned. We even had another set of SKP friends who happened to be at the same park with us in Louisiana last week, print out the map of the driving test that they took last year - and it is pretty much the same route you just mentioned :D

Kellie, sent you and George a PM with some recollections of our experience with the Class B test in September in Livingston including the route we took. If anyone else wants then info, send me a PM.


Kellie & George Roberts
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Bluebird Wanderlodge ~ No Reservations
'08 Jeep Sahara 4x4
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~A ton of regret never made an ounce of difference~

Not A Moment Too Soon


#13 Al Florida

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 05:47 PM

We are getting off of topic with the loan issue, but I am wondering how a lending institution would get the information that someone is fulltiming in an RV? While we are no longer fulltiming, when we were we didn't have any problems getting a loan on our 5th wheel and then a year later a loan on our used diesel pusher.

Unless someone set up the banks computer to flag the Escapees (and other mail forwarders) address, I don't know how a loan person would know someone is a fulltimer.

Our bank was/is USAA Federal Savings Bank. USAA never asked if we fulltimed in an RV. Also I never volunteered that we fulltimed either.

Al & Sharon
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#14 Mike

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 06:20 PM

Back to the OP, when I recently got an online quote for vehicle insurance it asked me my zip code. I plugged in the 77399 for Escapees and it came back that it wasn't a valid address and try again. Repeated attempts failed. I think that zip code is probably some kind of special one that gets flagged as non-residential by some software.

I also know they wouldn't let me register to vote with a local mail service address in Collin County. Obviously Polk County derives a bunch of revenue from Escapees members and has a liberal view of what it means to reside someplace. Other counties may take a stricter view and require a campground address rather than a PMB address. That is without regard to this "new law" whatever that is; it is probably related to the "Patriot Act".

But I have yet to see any definitive law or court case that says you can use a mail box address as your residence. Now you can say you live at Rainbow's End RV park and the address for the park is the same as the mail service (essentially), but that isn't the same as living in the mailbox. It is a fine line I agree, but it is how I view the Escapees service as being unique. I would love to see a specific statute citation, or read a definitive case on the matter, but I haven't found one in the last 5 or 6 years. (And I know you can do it as a practical matter in Polk County, but absent a statute or clear statement from a court with jurisdiction over both counties, other counties can pretty easily and convincingly say you can't reside in a mailbox.)

It sounds like the OP got over the hurdle for the moment by saying her residence was the place she intends to live one day along with a mailing address. Another route would have been to state the residence as whatever campground you are at for the moment (show a receipt) and say your Livingston address is just a mailing address. This I know happens some in South Dakota. It is also certainly permissible to have a mail address that is very much different from your residence (even a different state). But that may cause other practical complications.

FWIW, homeless people can and do get licenses and register to vote by saying they reside under this or that bridge and get their mail at a homeless shelter, that issue has been tested by courts, but they have to give a residence address (the bridge) as well as a mail address (the shelter).

Edited by Mike, 07 December 2011 - 06:20 PM.

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#15 Barbaraok

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 07:01 PM

Mike,

Here's the Texas 9th District Court of Appeals citation:

Honorable B.E. "Slim" Speights v. Bob Willis--Appeal from 258th District Court of Polk County09-02-00192-CV10/24/02




Barb


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#16 Mike

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 07:50 PM

Mike,

Here's the Texas 9th District Court of Appeals citation:

Honorable B.E. "Slim" Speights v. Bob Willis--Appeal from 258th District Court of Polk County09-02-00192-CV10/24/02




Barb


Thanks Barb, Yes, I have reviewed that opinion a number of times. It however does not answer the question as to the use of a PMB as a voting address. And further, although the election was upheld, the analysis is not binding on anything more than the facts presented. The opinion merely stated that the appellant failed to meet the burden of proof for challenging all of the voters that were sought to be challenged. In a voter registration dispute, the presumption is the correctness of the the affidavit of the voter. So to dispute the case, each and every voter's situation must be resolved and disputed individually. This wasn't done in this case and wasn't practical for the appellant to do so. So the challenges failed for a failure to present evidence in each voter's case and not because it was decided that PMB's were lawful substitutes for a residence address. The court stated: "The trial court properly found that "[c]ontestant has not offered proof of a sufficient number of individual voter's volition, intention, or actions with regard to his or her residence for voting purposes."

Re-reading the opening factual assumptions, I think the key here, and why the Escapees is very unique, is that the mail service users are all members of the club and the club/mail service owns a campground that is essentially the same address and voting precinct. That is unique to all other mail services I know of, be they located in Texas or other states. With Escapees, the issue of voter registration and Driver's License acquisition is then muddied as to if you are registering a mail box or if you are also registering a physical campground location where you, as a member, are entitled to camp at on a first in, first out basis. The court in this case said the voter just might be registering the campground, even if the voter put PMB after the address as the elections commission had enough information to put the voter in a proper precinct to reside in the campground.

Based on the description of the various participants in the opinion and although unstated and not needed by the court for the decision, I think, based on the discussion in the opinion, the majority of the court concluded that several of the voters; i.e. those without meaningful contacts with Polk County, would have been rejected as voters based on the lack of their contact with the jurisdiction. Again, the court did not need to decide those situations to resolve the case and accordingly did not affirm or deny the registration.

Because of (i) the uniqueness of the facts of the case; and (ii) the uniqueness of the Escapees business model compared to other mail services, I don't think this case can be used for the general proposition that one can register to vote with just any PMB as a "residence" in Texas or elsewhere. (Although certainly if one has contacts with Polk County via Escapees or otherwise, the claiming of that address may be very appropriate and valid.)

At this point unfortunately I am not aware of any Texas statutes or cases that say you can reside in a mailbox. (I know Oregon does have their "full time traveler" type statue that clarifies a bit, but then they have a state income tax.)

But then again, all this is just my opinion and I sure could argue differently if I was a Texas lawyer and retained to do so :rolleyes:

Edited by Mike, 07 December 2011 - 08:08 PM.

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#17 Barbaraok

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 09:46 PM

Mike,

I couldn't find the link, but I do know that Escapees worked with the state legislative representative and, if I remember correctly, a bill was passed that made the Escapees address a legal physical address in Texas to back up the court ruling. Not any other mail service, just the Escapee address, and that was because of the campground associated with the organization. And I don't think anyone every said that it applied to anyone but Escapees - - in fact just the opposite, that is one of the unique things about having an Escapees address.

Barb

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#18 Kellie Roberts

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 09:47 PM

Back to the OP, when I recently got an online quote for vehicle insurance it asked me my zip code. I plugged in the 77399 for Escapees and it came back that it wasn't a valid address and try again. Repeated attempts failed. I think that zip code is probably some kind of special one that gets flagged as non-residential by some software.

I also know they wouldn't let me register to vote with a local mail service address in Collin County. Obviously Polk County derives a bunch of revenue from Escapees members and has a liberal view of what it means to reside someplace. Other counties may take a stricter view and require a campground address rather than a PMB address.


These remarks totally confuse me as George & I :

1. Used to live in Tarrant County, Texas
2. Moved our domicile to Polk County, Texas with an Escapee address, including the PMB
3. Got our RV/fulltimer (and since we requested fulltimer coverage options they had no questions about us living in our RV fulltime) insurance quote online from USAA using our Escapee address with not a question, nor issue in the world .. and
4. Filled out our voter registration/transfer here in Polk County when we moved our RV & Jeep tags here with no questions or issues & have received our new voters ID cards enabling us to vote.
Kellie & George Roberts
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#19 Mike

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 06:32 AM

These remarks totally confuse me as George & I :

1. Used to live in Tarrant County, Texas
2. Moved our domicile to Polk County, Texas with an Escapee address, including the PMB
3. Got our RV/fulltimer (and since we requested fulltimer coverage options they had no questions about us living in our RV fulltime) insurance quote online from USAA using our Escapee address with not a question, nor issue in the world .. and
4. Filled out our voter registration/transfer here in Polk County when we moved our RV & Jeep tags here with no questions or issues & have received our new voters ID cards enabling us to vote.

My experiences are just mine, the goal was to point out that at least one on-line insurance process rejected the zip code. That's all. Lot's of insurers do use the address, including my current insurer, Geico, which I did over the phone, not on-line.

As to voter registration, if you swear on the affidavit that Escapees is your address, Polk County will indeed take it, as they probably should.

Edited by Mike, 08 December 2011 - 06:39 AM.

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#20 Mike

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 06:38 AM

Mike,

I couldn't find the link, but I do know that Escapees worked with the state legislative representative and, if I remember correctly, a bill was passed that made the Escapees address a legal physical address in Texas to back up the court ruling. Not any other mail service, just the Escapee address, and that was because of the campground associated with the organization. And I don't think anyone every said that it applied to anyone but Escapees - - in fact just the opposite, that is one of the unique things about having an Escapees address.

Barb

Thanks Barb, I would love the link to a statute if anyone has it. It would seem consistent with the case cited. I would be interested in knowing if it goes further than voting and clarifies other legal issues revolving around the use of the Livingston address by fulltimers who don't live someplace else.
Mike
Abuelo Loco Blog
He who dies with the most toys is still dead........and may also be subject to Mark 10:25.