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My ex-husband has been using his sister's car that is registered in New Mexico, but he lives in AZ. I am concerned if this is legal now that my daughter will be staying with him for the school year and getting her driving permit soon. Should she have any concerns about explaining the use of a vehicle registered in another state?

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The relevant Arizona registration statute, 28-2153 says

(A) A person shall not operate... a motor vehicle... unless the motor vehicle... has been registered with the department for the current registration year or is properly registered for the current registration year by the state or country of which the owner or lessee is a resident.

Let's assume that the car is currently in NM. But then it also says:

(B) A resident shall not operate... a motor vehicle, trailer or semitrailer that is:

  1. Owned by a nonresident and that is primarily under the control of a resident of this state for more than seven months unless the motor vehicle... has been registered with the department for the current registration year.

That becomes 29 days if the vehicle is leased.

In the section of application for registration (28-2157) requires the registering person to provide "the name and complete residence address of the owner" and "A description of the vehicle, including the serial number", but does not require the person to be the owner. Per 28-2162 the penalty for not registring is $8 for the first month and $4 each month thereafter, up to $100.

  • Good finds! Though I have a hard time imagining that the clause "under the control of a resident of this state for more than seven months..." would withstand any scrutiny if challenged. The plain text means that, for example, if you are an AZ resident and you borrow a car not currently registered in AZ -- even if you are in another state -- that you have ever held keys to for a total of more than 7 months, you are immediately required to register it or accrue a fine. – feetwet Aug 13 '16 at 14:14

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