NCDMV updates license plate dropboxes to help you avoid fine

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – We’ve got an update on a story we told you about last July where using the license plate drop boxes outside of the DMV building in Raleigh could end up getting you a hefty fine.

Months later, the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles finally corrected the problem with those drop boxes.

The boxes are located on either side of the Raleigh DMV office.

Last July, CBS North Carolina told the story of a man who used one of the boxes to drop off his license plate and ended up with a $50 dollar fine.

Linwood Sealy had removed the tags from his 2008 Dodge Avenger because he was taking it off the road.

He went to the Raleigh DMV office, and instead of waiting in line, he dropped his plates in the box thinking that was all he had to do.

But, because his plates were still active, the DMV thought his Dodge was still on the road without insurance, so Sealy was fined.

At the time, the sign on the box said “customers may return plates here or inside during normal business hours.”

But, the sign was confusing because only expired plates should go in the box.

When CBS North Carolina brought the situation to the attention of the DMV, it admitted the signs were a problem..

“We think it’s necessary to have a better explanation with the signage on the drop box,” said DMV spokesman John Brockwell in an interview back on July 17.

He said at the time, they were going to get the signs corrected.

Last month, the change in the signage finally happened.

During the first week in December, the signs were finally updated.

The explanation on the signs has been clarified to explain when plates dropped in the box will be canceled.

The sign now says: “Plates returned here will be canceled the next business day while plates brought inside will be cancelled immediately.”

The sign also now contains a new warning that you need to bring your plates inside the building to get receipt if you are trying to get a property tax refund.

But, you need to know, you should only use the drop box if your tags are expired.

What the DMV said July still stands — if your license plate and registration are still active, do not use the drop box.

“If your tag has not expired, for insurance purposes—it’s best to bring it inside and get an insurance receipt,” said Brockwell.

One other word of warning, if you are surrendering your plates, do not cancel your North Carolina liability insurance coverage before you turn in your plate or you will be fined.

To learn more about cancelling license plates and registration, you can go to this link at the NCDMV.

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