(a) The department shall suspend the vehicle registration of any motor vehicle determined to be in violation of Section 32-7A-4, including any motor vehicle operated in violation of Section 32-7A-16 by an operator other than the owner of the vehicle. Neither the fact that, subsequent to the date of verification or violation, the owner acquired the required liability insurance policy nor the fact that the owner terminated ownership of the motor vehicle shall have any bearing upon the required suspension.

Terms Used In Alabama Code 32-7A-12

  • Annuity: A periodic (usually annual) payment of a fixed sum of money for either the life of the recipient or for a fixed number of years. A series of payments under a contract from an insurance company, a trust company, or an individual. Annuity payments are made at regular intervals over a period of more than one full year.
  • Appeal: A request made after a trial, asking another court (usually the court of appeals) to decide whether the trial was conducted properly. To make such a request is "to appeal" or "to take an appeal." One who appeals is called the appellant.
  • circuit: means judicial circuit. See Alabama Code 30-3D-608
  • Conviction: A judgement of guilt against a criminal defendant.
  • department: The Alabama State Law Enforcement Agency of this state acting directly or through its duly authorized officers and agents. See Alabama Code 16-36-23
  • director: The Secretary of the Alabama State Law Enforcement Agency of Alabama. See Alabama Code 16-36-23
  • Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
  • Fiscal year: The fiscal year is the accounting period for the government. For the federal government, this begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. The fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends; for example, fiscal year 2006 begins on October 1, 2005 and ends on September 30, 2006.
  • following: means next after. See Alabama Code 30-3D-608
  • Misdemeanor: Usually a petty offense, a less serious crime than a felony, punishable by less than a year of confinement.
  • month: means a calendar month. See Alabama Code 30-3D-608
  • MOTOR VEHICLE: Every vehicle which is self-propelled and every vehicle which is propelled by electric power obtained from overhead trolley wires, but not operated upon rails, except for electric personal assistive mobility devices. See Alabama Code 16-36-23
  • owner: A person, other than a lienholder, having the property in or title to a vehicle. See Alabama Code 16-36-23
  • person: Every natural person, firm, copartnership, association, or corporation. See Alabama Code 16-36-23
  • preceding: means next before. See Alabama Code 30-3D-608
  • registration: The registration certificate or certificates and registration plates issued under the laws of this state pertaining to the registration of vehicles. See Alabama Code 16-36-23
  • state: A state, territory, or possession of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or a province of Canada. See Alabama Code 16-36-23
  • vehicle: Every device in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, excepting devices moved by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks or electric personal assistive mobility devices; provided, that for the purposes of this title, a bicycle or a ridden animal shall be deemed a vehicle, except those provisions of this title, which by their very nature can have no application. See Alabama Code 16-36-23
  • year: means a calendar year; but, whenever the word "year" is used in reference to any appropriations for the payment of money out of the treasury, it shall mean fiscal year. See Alabama Code 30-3D-608

(b) The registration of any motor vehicle registered in this state shall be suspended upon the department receiving notice of the conviction of the operator of the motor vehicle in another state of an offense which, if committed in this state, would constitute a violation of Section 32-7A-4. Until it is terminated, any suspension under this chapter shall remain in force even if the registration is renewed or a new registration is acquired for the motor vehicle contrary to Section 32-7A-17.

(c) In the case of a first violation, the department shall terminate the suspension upon payment by the owner of a reinstatement fee of two hundred dollars ($200) in a manner as prescribed by the department and submission of proof of current insurance as prescribed by the department to either the department, the vehicle owner’s county license plate issuing official, the circuit clerk of any county, or the Administrative Office of Courts. Upon a first violation, the owner’s name and identifying information shall be provided to the director by the department, for the purpose of requiring the owner to purchase and maintain insurance pursuant to Section 32-7-13 or Section 32-7-31, or both, for a period of one year.

(d) In the case of a second or subsequent violation by a person having ownership interest in a motor vehicle or vehicles within the preceding four years, or a violation of Section 32-7A-16(b)(2), the department shall terminate the suspension four months after its effective date upon payment by the owner of a reinstatement fee of four hundred dollars ($400) in a manner as prescribed by the department and submission of proof of current insurance as prescribed by the department to either the department or to the vehicle owner’s county license plate issuing official, the circuit clerk of any county, or the Administrative Office of Courts. In the case of a second or subsequent violation, the owner’s name and identifying information shall be provided to the director by the department, for the purpose of the director requiring the owner to purchase and maintain insurance pursuant to Section 32-7-13 or Section 32-7-31, or both, for a period of three years. Upon conviction of a second offense the violator shall be guilty of a Class B misdemeanor.

(e) In accepting the reinstatement fee and proof of current insurance, the owner’s county license plate issuing official, the circuit clerk of any county, or the Administrative Office of Courts shall be responsible for notifying and forwarding, not later than the next business day, any required documentation concerning the reinstatement of motor vehicle registration or registrations to the department in the manner prescribed by the department.

(f) Except as provided in subsections (g) and (i), a portion of the fees received under this section by the department shall be used by the department exclusively for the operation and management of the mandatory liability insurance law and this article. After the payment of the expenses, the remaining funds shall be deposited into the General Fund; provided, if the fees are collected by the owner’s county license plate issuing official, the official shall remit the fee to the department, except for 10 percent of the fee, which shall be retained by the official and distributed 50 percent to the county license plate issuing official and 50 percent to the county general fund. The retained fees distributed to the county license plate issuing official shall be deposited into a special fund designated as the Special Licensing Officials’ Fund. The special fund shall be used for the improvement of the equipment and operations in the office of the licensing official charged with motor vehicle registration and titling responsibilities and shall be in addition to the amount budgeted for the office of the official. Fees deposited into the special fund shall be disbursed at the sole discretion of the license plate issuing official and shall be audited by the Examiners of Public Accounts. Such moneys in the special fund shall not accumulate in excess of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) during any fiscal year. Any excess moneys shall accrue to the county general fund. License plate issuing officials shall remit the balance of the funds to the department in the manner prescribed by the department by the 10th day of the month following the month of collection.

(g) If the reinstatement fees are collected by the Administrative Office of Courts, it shall remit the fee to the department, except for 15 percent of the fee, which shall be retained in its entirety by the Administrative Office of Courts. If the reinstatement fees are collected by the circuit clerk, it shall remit the fee to the department, except for 15 percent of the fee, which shall be retained by the circuit clerk and distributed evenly between the circuit clerk’s office and the Administrative Office of Courts. Any portion of the reinstatement fee due to the Administrative Office of Courts shall be deposited into the Advanced Technology and Data Exchange Fund established pursuant to Section 12-19-290. Any portion of the reinstatement fee due to the circuit clerk shall be deposited into the Clerk’s Fund established pursuant to Section 12-17-225.4(2).

(h) Refunds of reinstatement fees, less the retained fees, shall be granted in cases of duplicate payment, or as approved by the department. Anyone who is denied a refund of the reinstatement fee may appeal the denial to the administrative law judge pursuant to Section 40-2A-7.

(i) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (f), 15 percent of the net proceeds received by the department shall be deposited by the department into the Alabama Peace Officers’ Annuity and Benefit Fund, as authorized by Section 36-21-66.

(j) It shall be unlawful for the vehicle owner’s county license plate issuing official to fail to collect such reinstatement fees, when due. Additionally, the reinstatement fee shall not be waived by the court when the vehicle owner cannot produce evidence that a valid liability insurance policy was in effect on the date a citation was issued for violation of the provisions of this chapter.

(k) The terms circuit clerk and circuit clerk’s office as used in any part of this chapter shall also include any district clerk or district clerk’s office that functions separately from the office of the circuit clerk pursuant to Section 12-17-161.

(Act 2000-554, p. 1005, §1; Act 2011-688, p. 2076, §3.)