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CHP Cracking Down on Out-of-State License Plates

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    NEWSLETTERS

    If your longtime neighbor has an out-of-state license plate, the California Highway Patrol wants you to turn them in. The CHP created a web site to called CHEATERS (Californians Help Eliminate All The Evasive Registration Scofflaws) to help. Officers estimate the state is losing $10 million a year because of improperly registered drivers. NBC Bay Area's Ian Cull reports. (Published Tuesday, Jul 8, 2014)

    If your longtime neighbor has an out-of-state license plate, the California Highway Patrol wants you to turn them in.

    The CHP created a website called CHEATERS (Californians Help Eliminate All The Evasive Registration Scofflaws) to help. Officers estimate the state is losing $10 million a year because of improperly registered drivers.

    Three years ago, Jaclyn Gochoco and her car moved from New Jersey to California. She says her license plate, like her home state, is part of her identity.

    "It makes you a little bit different, it makes you stand out. I don't think it's that big of a deal,” she said.

    Gochoco was surprised to find out if she keeps them on her car, she could face hundreds of dollars in fines.

    The CHP says drivers must exchange their plates for California plates within 20 days of starting a job or establishing residency.

    "They can receive multiple citations, including no current registration, failure to properly register the vehicle,” CHP Officer Ross Lee said.

    CHP says people have filed more reports through the CHEATERS website this year than ever before. They claim the increase in registries has boosted $1 million in revenue for California in 2014. At this pace, officers say it’ll break previous records.

    "If you're going to be a California resident, you need to abide by the California rules and laws. All that money goes to maintain the infrastructure of the state,” Officer Lee said.

    Once a report is anonymously filed, officers will investigate to make sure the person isn’t exempt. Some out-of-state students and military are exempt from having to switch license plates. However, if a person is ever employed in California they’ll need to get a license plate.

    After an investigation, the drivers are sent letters stating they need to register their car in California.

    James Casko says his father received dozens of the letters.

    "It took him about two years to get it done, and finally the penalties (caught) up with him and he got it done,” Casko said.

    Gochoco understands the process, but thinks the CHEATERS website pits registered Californians against transplants.

    "I call this place home too. It's a little harsh to kind of turn the neighbors against each other,” Gochoco said.