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Old 05-22-2012, 07:07 PM
1 posts, read 4,522 times
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I've searched for this quite a few times and I'm really not sure if I've gotten a clear picture/answer from searching, so I'd appreciate a little input if anyone can help me.

I am new to Co. I am moving here for work, but will be splitting my time time between here, Illinois and Arizona and will probably be here ~50% of the time.
I intend to register my primary vehicle and both motorcycles I have here for Colorado and get licensed/registered appropriately as soon as I establish residency.

I'm aware that I have to register my vehicles here and get licensed, which is no problem but I have two vehicles which I'm not bringing out one of which I hope to drive up from AZ and have out here for a few weeks to enjoy the mountains in and tour the west coast. I'm really unsure how to manage this. It's unlikely beyond an occasion or two I'm ever going to have them in this state so I don't want to be bound to emissions testing here with a vehicle in another state but at the same time my understanding is if you get caught as a resident in this state with a vehicle in your name from another state it's a big problem, especially in case of an accident?

Any thoughts? Any input is appreciated.
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Old 05-22-2012, 09:27 PM
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This is a fairly common issue, especially with people who split their time working and living between Colorado and other states in the oil patch. A key factor is whether or not you own residences in both states. If you do, the laws get pretty murky. Many state laws actually conflict. For example, if you work in some states for a certain period of time--and Colorado is one--you are considered a resident and are supposed to register your vehicles there. But, other states require you register your vehicle in that state if it is your declared state of residency and domicile. So, it is perfectly possible to be required to register your vehicle under the law by two different states where you live or work. The same law conflicts may be present in driver licensing, as well. Oh, and wherever your vehicle is registered, if you drive it to work in the metro counties in Colorado that require emissions inspections, it will have be inspected and pass the Colorado emissions test. When I lived in Wyoming, people who worked in Denver on a regular basis had to have Colorado emission inspections even though their vehicle was registered in Wyoming.

I would suggest that you carefully read the statutes regarding vehicle and driver licensing in all three states to see where and how you should register your vehicles. Unfortunately, the state vehicle registration people are often not of much help because they know their own state registration laws quite well, but don't know the laws of other states. No matter what you wind up doing, I would make sure that your auto insurance meets the minimum requirements of all three states, in your case.

Parenthetically, South Dakota is a unique state in that it allows you to register a vehicle there even if you are not a resident. You can even get South Dakota vehicle registration with an out of state address--you just can't lie about it and say you are a South Dakota resident if you are not. Perfectly legal in South Dakota, but it may run afoul of vehicle registration laws in the state where you do live.
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Old 05-23-2012, 07:24 PM
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My general advice in situations like this is to register & insure the vehicle in the state where it is garaged the majority of the time and keep your driver's license in your state of domicile. States where property/ownership tax is involved are particularly sensitive to vehicle registrations. This is all you can really do since you can not pay fractional registration fees, i.e. pay AZ for 25% of the year, CO for 50%, and IL 25%... Jazz is 100% correct - you are required to have a Colorado emissions test for every vehicle you drive in an emissions testing area, regardless of where the vehicle is registered.
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