Montana Law – Non-Residents may not register a vehicle.

Update: This article is void, as of Autumn 2013. Thanks to HB414.

Thursday morning, The Great Falls MVD refused to register the vehicle I bought, to park in the driveway of my Montana home, without a Montana Driver’s License.

What’s going on? I own a house in Montana yet they won’t let me register a vehicle because I have an out-of-state Driver’s License.

In 2009, I purchased my first and only home, in Montana. Each time I travel from my temporary rented home in Connecticut I must rent a car in Montana and the expense significantly takes away from the home improvement I am actively engaged in each trip.

I decided to buy a car for my house out there. I need a car of my very own, sitting on my property to drive myself around Montana when I’m there. The Great Falls MVD rep said, I have to register the truck I bought, in the state where my driver’s license was issued. She said Montana Law is, non-residents can not register a motor vehicle even if they own property in Montana.

I cannot foreseeably transport a car over 5000 miles just to get plates. That’s ridiculous.

I can’t imagine why Montana would prevent me from contributing to the economy by purchasing a vehicle, paying fees and taxes… for pete’s sake- I own a house there and pay property taxes in Montana! In fact, Montana is the only state I pay property tax because it’s my ONLY property. There is something wrong with the Great Falls MVD’s refusal to register my new truck and I’m going to find out because I am not going to keep renting a car and I am not going to drive that truck 5000 to present it to my DMV here.

Some immediate questions come to me:

Montana wants me to pay Connecticut vehicle registration fees for a vehicle I will exclusively use on Montana roads?

Montana does not want me to contribute to their highways, police, government, etc..

This scenario seems perplexing. Why would the State of Montana not want me to register the vehicle where it will be used? Why would they want an out-of-state vehicle permanently in-state? Why would they refuse to register a car to a person who own a house there?

She said, If I had lied and said that I hadn’t gotten my driver’s license changed to Montana but that I intended to, she would have registered it.

She said, I can get a MT driver’s license, register the truck, then go back to CT and get a CT license again.

She said, she would issue me a 40-day temporary registration so I could drive away.

My new truck: I can’t sell it with the title still in the previous owner’s name. I can’t register it here when it’s 2500 miles away. I can’t register it in Montana. …

Maybe I should just sell my Montana home and move somewhere else to pay property tax. I am frustrated and feel the need for an attorney.

Shouldn’t vehicle dealers, tax collectors, highway maintenance and patrols and others be upset by this? How does this scenario support Montana?

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