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New fee charged for late license renewal

If they are not careful, drivers may be charged a fee when renewing their vehicle license and registration.

The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles is charging a $20 fine for license plates that are not renewed within seven days of the expiration date.

The fee is a part of Ohio House Bill 2, or the transportation budget that was passed March 30, 2009. The fee went into effect Oct. 1, 2009.

Before the fee was implemented, there was no sort of late fee, but driving with expired tags has always been a traffic violation.

Besides the $20 late fee, the bill also increased other fees.

The visual screening fee was increased by $1.75, the temporary tag fee increased by $8, and registration for personalized plates and registration for initial reserve plates increased by $15.

A common misconception the bureau has noticed from phone calls is that people thought they had an entire month to renew their plates.

“(Plate renewals have) always generally been due on your birthday,” said Lindsey Bohrer, spokeswoman for the BMV. “People thought they had their whole birth month and that has not been the case since 1989.”

Though the fee has been in effect a few months, the BMV has been getting many calls from drivers who were not aware of the charge.

“Basically we are getting calls from people who didn’t know,” Bohrer said.

Bohrer added that the bureau has done several things to get the word out about the fee, including a press release in September, a notice on the vehicle registration application and an email to the Ohioans that are on its email list.

“We expect that we’re going to get calls from people in the next year or two,” she said.