AN ACT TO MAKE MULTIPLE CHANGES TO MOTOR VEHICLE LAWS.
Amends GS 20-287, which governs the licensure of new motor vehicle dealers, used motor vehicle dealers, motor vehicle sales representatives, manufacturers, factory branches, factory representatives, distributors, distributor branches, distributor representatives, and wholesalers. No longer limits sales representatives to one license. Requires the sales representative license to show the name of each dealer or wholesaler employing the representative. Expands the Division of Motor Vehicles' (DMV) authority to levy and collect a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per violation of specified statutes and rules relating to the sale of vehicles, vehicle titling, or vehicle registration, to make applicants for licenses in addition to licensees subject to the authority. Requires the penalty to be assessed against a sales representative applicant unless the DMV finds that a dealership, owner, manager, or officer had knowledge of the violation before the application was submitted to the DMV. Regarding penalties for violations by persons required to obtain a license who have not obtained a license, establishes an affirmative defense if the person promptly applies and is issued the appropriate motor vehicle license. Clarifies that a person acting in a specific licensed activity must be issued the appropriate license for that activity. Requires the investigative report of the violation to be considered in the issuance of any license. Makes clarifying and technical changes.
Makes the following changes to the grounds for denial or disciplinary action of licensees by the DMV set forth in GS 20-294. Specifies that the DMV's disciplinary authority must comply with GS 20-295 and GS 20-296, as amended, which govern license applications and disciplinary hearings. Now provides for knowingly making a material misstatement in an application for a license or a dealer license plate as grounds for denial or disciplinary action (previously did not require mens rea). Provides an affirmative defense to the following grounds, exclusive to the dealer licensee, that the violation is a result of fraud, theft, or embezzlement against the licensee, with waiver of the defense if any violation charged created an unrecoverable loss for a citizen or another licensed motor vehicle dealer of the state: (1) willfully and intentionally failing to comply with Articles 12 or 15, or the specified motor vehicle laws or (2) knowingly giving an incorrect certificate of title or failing to give a certificate of title to a purchaser, a lienholder, or the DMV after the vehicle is sold. Adds to these two grounds that officers, directors, members, and sales representative licensees must be charged individually. Expands the ground of willfully defrauding any retail buyer or other person to specifically include willfully defrauding any wholesale buyer to the buyer's damage. Modifies the ground regarding use of unfair methods of competition or unfair or deceptive acts or practices to condition the ground on the act causing actual damages to the buyer. Finally, establishes an affirmative defense to the following ground, which operates as a stay, if the person charged is determined to qualify and obtains expunction, certificate of relief, or pardon, or if the conviction is vacated, with the violation dismissed if relief is granted: conviction of an offense under GS 20-106 (since recodified to GS 14-71.2, receiving or transferring stolen vehicles), GS 20-106.1 (fraud in connection of rental of motor vehicles), GS 20-107 (injuring or tampering with vehicle), or GS 20-112 (making false affidavit perjury) while holding a license or within five years preceding the date of application, or conviction of any felony involving moral turpitude.
Replaces the provisions of GS 20-299(a), which governs disciplinary action of corporate licensees. Now authorizes the DMV to deny or take disciplinary action against a license issued to a business entity if more than 50% of the business entity ownership engaged in conduct prohibited by GS 20-294, as amended. Additionally authorizes revocation for any damages suffered due to a violation of Article 12 that are not satisfied. Prohibits penalizing an owner for the acts of a business entity found to have violated the statute that did not personally engage in a violation and did not knowingly omit any duty.
Amends GS 20-295 to permit an applicant to petition for a hearing with the Office of Administrative Hearings under GS Chapter 150B within 30 days of the DMV's denial of an application, rather than filing a written request for a hearing with the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles.
Amends GS 20-296 to require the DMV to notify the licensee of proposed disciplinary action by certified mail and participate in informal settlement procedures pursuant to GS Chapter 150B prior to taking any disciplinary action on a license. Authorizes the DMV to commence a contested case under GS Chapter 150B if the DMV and the licensee are unable to agree to a resolution (previously called for written notice to the licensee and a hearing before the Commissioner prior to taking any disciplinary action).
Makes conforming changes to GS 150B-1.
Amends GS 20-30(6) to allow a licensed lender to create, store, or receive, in the ordinary course of business, a color image of a driver's license, learner's permit, or special identification card of a borrower or loan applicant (currently limited to black and white photocopy by law).
Enacts new subsection (c1) to GS 20-79 to require dealer registration plates to be replaced every three years.
Amends GS 20-295 to require the DMV to send a temporary license to an applicant while the DMV reviews an application for license renewal that was timely submitted prior to the expiration of the license.
Amends GS 20-183.7A(d1) and GS 20-183.8B(c2) regarding multiple violations in separate safety or emissions inspections considered at one time by the DMV. Specifies that the provisions do not prohibit or limit the ability of a reviewing administrative law judge or court to affirm, reverse, remand, or modify the DMV's decisions involving penalties, suspensions, or revocations, whether discretionary or otherwise, pursuant to Articles 3 and 4 of GS Chapter 150B (previously limited to the court's ability to affirm, reverse, remand, or modify the DMV's decision pursuant to Article 4 of GS Chapter 150B).
Amends GS 20-183.8G, governing administrative and judicial review of licenses or registrations issued under Part 1 of Article 3A, Safety and Emissions Safety Program. Now grants applicants and licensees, as applicable, the right to commence a contested case under GS Chapter 150B (1) upon any six adverse actions of the DMV, as set forth in existing law, with a hearing commencing within 10 days of receipt of the notice of action; (2) within 10 days of receipt of a statement of charges of a violation that could result in the suspension or revocation of the person's license, with suspension or revocation stayed until the final decision is made by an administrative law judge; and (3) within 10 days of receipt of notice of summary action on the license, following judicial review and authorization of the proposed action (previously called for making a written request for a hearing before the Commissioner in all circumstances). Authorizes the administrative law judge to order a suspension for a first occurrence of a Type I violation of a station to be stayed upon reasonable compliance terms to be determined by the administrative law judge; order suspension against a license holder to run consecutively or concurrently; and affirm, reverse, remand, or modify the DMV's decision after a contested case hearing on any other action. Automatically stays suspension or revocation for 30 days after the person is served with a written copy of the decision. Makes conforming repeals to language referencing hearings before the Commissioner.
Makes conforming changes to GS 150B-2.
Regarding the surrender of title to a manufactured home that qualifies as real property under GS 20-109.2, no longer allows the Commissioner to require evidence demonstrating that all affected secured parties have been notified and consent to the owner of a manufactured home's application for a new certificate of title following cancellation of the initial certificate of title when the owner seeks to separate the manufactured home from the real property. Deems there to be no right of action against a DMV license plate contractor, in addition to the DMV, for a person damaged by the cancellation of a certificate of title pursuant to subsection (a1), which provides for surrender of the certificate of title to a manufactured home that qualifies as real property when the certificate of title is unavailable.
Amends GS 20-58.3A, which provides for the automatic expiration of a perfected security interest in a manufactured home perfected by notation on the certificate of title after 30 years of issuance, unless the title states a different maturity date. Expands subsection (g) to also grant immunity to license plate contractors of the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV), in addition to the DMV, from tort claims based on reliance by the DMV or a DMV contractor on any application for renewal of the perfection of a security interest on a certificate of title for a manufactured home submitted to the DMV or the contractor by a third party, as authorized by the statute.
Amends GS 20-58.4, which provides for the release of a security interest in a motor vehicle upon satisfaction or other discharge, to direct DMV license plate contractors, in addition to the DMV, to issue a new certificate of title upon the owner's exhibition of signed documents evidencing the release and the certificate of title. Regarding the release of a security interest in a vehicle that is a manufactured home, requires DMV licensed contractors, in addition to the DMV, to send notice to the last known address of the secured party before cancellation, and prohibits cancellation if the secured party files an objection within 15 days after the notice was sent until the secured party consents or receives a court order directing the DMV to cancel the security interest (previously, required notice by registered letter to the last known address of the secured party, with cancellation prohibited if a written objection was received within 15 days of notice). Similar to the changes made to GS 20-58.3A, expands subsection (f) to also grant immunity to license plate contractors of the DMV, in addition to the DMV, for tort claims based on reliance by the DMV or a DMV contractor on any release, affidavit, certificate of title notation, or documents evidencing the release or satisfaction of a security interest related to certificates of title for manufactured homes submitted to the DMV or the contractor by a third party, as authorized by the statute.
Amends Section 3 of SL 2020-77, which allows for electronic signatures for applications for security interest notations by a debtor and does not require specified documentation for applications submitted by a secured party, to eliminate the December 1, 2020, sunset provision.
Amends GS 20-58.4A, which directs the DMV to implement a statewide electronic lien system to process the notification, release, and maintenance of security interests and certificate of title data and authorizes the DMV to contract with a qualified vendor or service provider to do so, to require qualified vendors and service providers to have experience in directly providing both electronic lien and title solutions to State motor vehicle departments or agencies (was, electronic solutions generally).
Amends GS 20-285 to include the protection and preservation of the investments and properties of licensed motor vehicle businesses in the state to the stated public policy. Makes clarifying and technical changes.
Effective October 1, 2021.