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Fight for your right! RI DMV saga part 1

My fight to keep my two kei vehicles started most likely the same way that brought you to this page. I received two letters from the RI DMV stating I would have to call them regarding my registration to help with an investigation. Upon calling Enforcement I was told my kei cars we're deemed not safe for the road and it was suggested that I pop down to enforcement and "surrender" my plates. Being a stubborn Polak surrounded by people have fought much worse than this i'm not one to surrender anything. I asked what laws the vehicles violated and after a wait was told the following:

RI 31-19.4-1 which is obviously a law allowing residents to drive golf carts on Prudence Island.

Most notably there is nothing about not registering Japanese Kei vehicles in RI nor a way to suspend them.

The AAMVA's cult classic "Best Practice Regarding Registration of Mini Trucks" (pdf download) The most important thing about this little baby is that it is very notably not a law. In fact it even states "Some of these Best Practices might conflict with or lack support of a jurisdiction‘s laws. In such cases, AAMVA encourages jurisdictions to enact or retain laws necessary to implement the Best Practices." The RI DMV chooses to ignore this part of the guidelines but not implementing any laws at all. Finally in the case of my Diahatsu Mira (pictured below) it is plainly not a mini truck, as explained in the document as follows:

"Mini-trucks generally have 6 ft (1.8 m) long pickup beds with fold-down sides; dump and scissor lift beds are also available as well as van bodies. They weigh up to 1,500 lbs (700 kg) and can reach speeds up to 75 miles per hour (mph) (120 kilometers per hour (kph)). They all have water-cooled gasoline engines."

This is an embarrassing level of wrong even for the DMV but they would not take it into the account over the phone. In fact they were not willing to really discuss any facts at all. I simply asked for the notification of what i've done wrong in writing via mail which they agreed to.

Fast forward to a week later and here we stand, I have two "Notice of Action" letters from the DMV stating my cars registrations will be suspended in ten days due to code "D2 - Unfit Motor Vehicle". No laws cited (as non exist) no further explanation at all. I have 10 days to appeal this decision to a DMV hearing which my lawyer is drafting up today. It is good to note that the suspension will be in limbo until the hearing, so they vehicles will still be registered. If the DMV does not realize their wrongdoing in their home court we will have the ability to appeal to the district court where law is all that matters. Wish us luck, I will update with another blog once I have more info.

-charlie justice

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