WVC 17 A-
CHAPTER 17A. MOTOR VEHICLE ADMINISTRATION, REGISTRATION, CERTIFICATE OF TITLE, AND ANTITHEFT PROVISIONS.
WVC 17 A- 2 -
ARTICLE 2. DIVISION OF MOTOR VEHICLES.
WVC 17 A- 2 - 1
§17A-2-1. Department continued.
The department of the government of this state, known as the
department of motor vehicles, heretofore created, shall be
WVC 17 A- 2 - 2
§17A-2-2. Commissioner of motor vehicles -- Office created; term;
to devote entire time to duties.
The department of motor vehicles shall be directed by an
executive officer to be designated as the commissioner of motor
vehicles, who shall be appointed by the governor, with the advice
and consent of the Senate for a term of four years. The first
appointment made hereunder shall be for a four-year term to
commence on the first day of July, one thousand nine hundred
fifty-one. The commissioner shall devote his entire time to the
duties of his office.
WVC 17 A- 2 - 3
§17A-2-3. Commissioner of motor vehicles -- Qualifications; not
to hold other office.
The commissioner at the time of his appointment and
qualification shall be a citizen of the United States and a
resident of the state of West Virginia, shall have been a
qualified voter in the state for a period of at least one year
next preceding his appointment, and shall be not less than thirty
years of age. No commissioner during his period of service as
such shall hold any other office under the laws of this state or
of the United States.
WVC 17 A- 2 - 4
§17A-2-4. Same -- Vacancy in office.
All vacancies in the office of the commissioner that occur
while the Legislature is not in session shall be filled by
appointment by the governor, which appointment shall expire at
the end of thirty days after the date of which the Legislature
next convenes. Prior to the expiration of the thirty days the
governor shall transmit to the Senate for its approval an
appointment for the unexpired portion of the regular term.
Vacancies occurring during a session of the Legislature shall be
filled as regular appointments before the end of the session and
for the unexpired portion of the regular term.
WVC 17 A- 2 - 5
§17A-2-5. Commissioner of motor vehicles -- Oath and bond.
The commissioner before entering upon the duties of his
office shall take and subscribe to the oath prescribed by the
constitution. He shall also execute a bond in the penalty of
twenty-five thousand dollars, conditioned according to law, and
approved by the governor. The cost of such bond shall be borne by
the department as a part of the operating cost of the department.
The bond and the oath shall be filed with the secretary of state.
WVC 17 A- 2 - 6
§17A-2-6. Commissioner of motor vehicles -- Salary and expenses.
The commissioner shall receive a salary of seven thousand
dollars and the necessary traveling expenses incident to the
performance of his duties. Requisition for traveling expenses
shall be accompanied by a sworn and itemized statement which
shall be filed with the auditor and permanently preserved as a
WVC 17 A- 2 - 7
§17A-2-7. Commissioner of motor vehicles -- Organization of
department; assistants and employees.
The commissioner shall organize the department in such
manner as he may deem necessary to properly segregate and conduct
the work of the department. The commissioner shall employ such
assistants and employees as may be necessary for the efficient
operation of his department, who shall possess all of the
qualifications which may from time to time be prescribed for such
positions by the commissioner. The duties and salaries of such
assistants and employees shall be fixed by the commissioner, who
shall have authority to remove any such assistant or employee at
his will and pleasure. The total compensation paid to assistants
and employees shall not exceed in any one year the appropriation
made by the Legislature for that purpose.
The commissioner shall require every employee who collects
fees or handles funds or who has custody of equipment and
supplies belonging to the state to take the constitutional oath
and give an official bond, with corporate surety, properly
conditioned and in a sum to be fixed by the commissioner, which
bond shall be approved by him and filed in the office of the
secretary of state. The cost of such bond shall be borne by the
department as a part of the operating cost of the department.
WVC 17 A- 2 - 8
§17A-2-8. Commissioner of motor vehicles -- Office.
The commissioner shall maintain an office in one of the
state capitol buildings and in such other places in the state as
he may deem necessary properly to carry out the powers and duties
vested in the department. The commissioner shall keep his
offices open at all reasonable times for the transaction of
WVC 17 A- 2 - 9
§17A-2-9. Same -- Powers and duties; rules; seal.
(a) The commissioner shall observe, administer and enforce the
provisions of this chapter and all laws the enforcement of which is
now or hereafter vested in the department: Provided,
in this chapter shall deprive the public service commission of West
Virginia of any of the duties or powers now vested in it with
regard to the regulation of motor vehicle carriers.
(b) The commissioner may adopt and enforce any rules that are
necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter and any other
laws the enforcement and administration of which are vested in the
(c) The commissioner may adopt an official seal for the use of
(d) The commissioner shall, in instances where division
personnel become aware of a possible or suspected violation of law
where enforcement jurisdiction would be that of the West Virginia
state police, communicate the violation to the state police.
WVC 17 A- 2 - 10
§17A-2-10. Motor vehicles commissioner -- Reciprocal agreements
with other states.
The motor vehicle commissioner in cooperation with the state
auditor, state road commissioner, the public service commission and
the superintendent of state police as appropriate may enter into
reciprocal agreements as he may deem proper or expedient with the
proper authorities of other states, jurisdictions or nations,
regulating the licensing of drivers and the use, on the roads and
highways of this state, of trucks, automobiles and any other
vehicles owned and duly licensed in other states, jurisdictions
or nations. The commissioner may enter into reciprocal agreements
under which the registration of vehicles owned in this state, and
the licenses of drivers residing in this state shall be recognized
by other states, jurisdictions or other nations.
WVC 17 A- 2 - 10 A
§17A-2-10a. Same -- Authorizing the entry of this state into
reciprocal proportional registration agreements;
payment of taxes; issuance of registration plates
or markers; promulgation of rules; interagency
cooperation; requirement that all registrants pay
tax; intermittent interstate commerce and
promulgation of rules; proportional registration
(a) The commissioner of motor vehicles is hereby authorized
and empowered to enter into reciprocal agreements on behalf of this
state with any jurisdiction which permits or requires the licensing
of motor vehicles in interstate or combined interstate and
intrastate commerce and the payment of taxes, registration,
licensing or other fees fixed by the motor vehicle commissioner,
pursuant to the execution of this article on an apportionment basis
commensurate with and determined by the miles traveled on public
roads and highways in that jurisdiction, as compared with the miles
traveled on public roads and highways in other jurisdictions or on
any other equitable basis of apportionment, and if that
jurisdiction exempts motor vehicles registered in other
jurisdictions under that apportionment basis from the requirements
of full payment of its own registration, license or other fixed
fees, the commissioner, by agreement may adopt the exemption as to
those motor vehicles, whether owned by residents or nonresidents of
this state and regardless of where the vehicles are registered.
(b) The agreements under any terms, conditions or restrictions
as the commissioner considers proper may provide that owners of
motor vehicles operated in interstate or combined interstate and
intrastate commerce in this state shall be permitted to pay
registration, license or other fees fixed on an apportionment
basis, commensurate with and determined by the miles traveled on
public roads and highways in this state as compared with the miles
traveled on public roads and highways in other jurisdictions or any
other equitable basis of apportionment. The agreements shall not
authorize or be construed as authorizing any motor vehicle so
registered to be operated without complying with the provisions of
chapter eleven and chapter twenty-four-a of this code.
(c) Pursuant to the provisions of this section, the
commissioner is expressly authorized and empowered to enter into
and become a member of the international registration plan or other
designation that may from time to time be given to the reciprocal
(d) The commissioner shall prescribe the substance, form,
color and context of any registration plate or marker issued under
the provisions of this section, each of which shall be visually
distinguishable from other registration plates or markers produced
by the division of motor vehicles.
(e) The commissioner is authorized to promulgate procedural
rules as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of any
agreements entered into pursuant to this section.
(f) The commissioner is authorized to collect and receive
funds under this article pursuant to the authority vested in him or
her under article six-g of chapter eleven of this code.
(g) The commissioner is hereby authorized and required to
share with the interstate commerce disclosure division of the
office of the state auditor any and all information acquired by the
division of motor vehicles pursuant to the implementation of this
article. The division shall provide to the interstate commerce
disclosure division, and the department of tax and revenue the name
of the location and amount paid by West Virginia owners or
operators of interstate motor vehicles registered under the
proportional registration agreement.
(h) For any other irregular, intermittent or temporary
interstate commerce activity, the division of motor vehicles is
hereby empowered to promulgate rules for the administration and
(i) Notwithstanding any other provision of the code to the
contrary, the requirements of the proportional assessment plan as
contained in article six-g, chapter eleven of this code, and the
provisions of this chapter, shall prevail in the event of any
conflict with any other portion of the code.
WVC 17 A- 2 - 11
§17A-2-11. Commissioner of motor vehicles -- Delegation of powers
All powers and duties vested in the commissioner, except the
power to sign contracts and make rules and regulations, may be
exercised by the appointees or employees of the commissioner,
under his direction; but the commissioner shall be responsible
for their acts.
WVC 17 A- 2 - 12
§17A-2-12. Commissioner of motor vehicles -- Commissioner to
The commissioner shall prescribe and provide suitable forms
of applications, certificates of title, registration cards,
operators' and chauffeurs' licenses, and all other forms
requisite or deemed necessary to carry out the provisions of this
chapter and any other laws, the enforcement and administration of
which are vested in the department.
WVC 17 A- 2 - 13
§17A-2-13. Authority to administer oaths and certify copies of
records; information as to registration.
(a) Officers and employees of the division designated by the
commissioner are, for the purpose of administering the motor
vehicle laws, authorized to administer oaths and acknowledge
signatures, and shall do so without fee.
(b) The commissioner and such officers of the division as he
or she may designate are hereby authorized to prepare under the
seal of the division and deliver upon request in conformance with
article two-a of this chapter a certified copy of any record of the
division, charging a fee of one dollar for each document so
authenticated, and every such certified copy is admissible in any
proceeding in any court in like manner as the original thereof.
(c) Subject to the provisions of article two-a of this
chapter, the commissioner and such officers of the division as he
or she may designate may furnish the requested information to any
person making a written request for information regarding the
registration of any vehicle at a fee of one dollar for each
registration about which information is furnished.
WVC 17 A- 2 - 14
§17A-2-14. Destruction of records.
The commissioner may destroy any records of the division which
have been maintained on file for three years which he or she deems
obsolete and of no further service in carrying out the powers and
duties of the division: Provided, That where it is shown that both
parties to an accident have filed valid evidence of insurance, the
records relating thereto may be destroyed after a period of six
WVC 17 A- 2 - 15
§17A-2-15. Examination, granting and rejection of applications.
The department shall examine and determine the genuineness,
regularity, and legality of every application for registration of
a vehicle, for a certificate of title therefor, and for an
operator's or chauffeur's license and of any other application
lawfully made to the department, and may in all cases make such
investigation as may be deemed necessary or require additional
information, and shall reject any such application if not
satisfied of the genuineness, regularity, or legality thereof or
the truth of any statement contained therein, or for any other
reason, when authorized by law.
WVC 17 A- 2 - 16
§17A-2-16. Cancellation, suspension, seizure, etc., of documents
The department is hereby authorized to take possession of
any certificate of title, registration card, permit, license, or
registration plate issued by it upon expiration, revocation,
cancellation, or suspension thereof, or which is fictitious, or
which has been unlawfully or erroneously issued.
When the department determines that the required fee for the
issuance by the department of any registration card, permit,
license or registration plate, or the required tax imposed by
section four of article three of this chapter, has not been paid
and shall not be paid upon reasonable notice and demand, the
commissioner is authorized and empowered to cancel or suspend or
revoke, as he shall deem appropriate, any and all registration
cards, permits, operator's and chauffeur's licenses, and
registration plate or plates, issued to the person, firm or
corporation by whom or on whose account any such fee or tax shall
have been so determined to remain unpaid after such reasonable
notice and demand.
WVC 17 A- 2 - 17
§17A-2-17. Distribution of synopsis of motor vehicle laws.
The department shall prepare in pamphlet form a synopsis or
summary of the laws of this state regulating the operation of
vehicles and shall deliver a copy thereof without charge with
each original vehicle registration and with each original
operator's or chauffeur's license, and to any other citizen of
the state upon application.
WVC 17 A- 2 - 18
§17A-2-18. Department may summon witnesses and take testimony.
(a) The commissioner and officers of the department
designated by him shall have authority to summon witnesses to
give testimony under oath or to give written deposition upon any
matter under the jurisdiction of the department. Such summons
may require the production of relevant books, papers, or records.
(b) Every such summons shall be served at least five days
before the return date, either by personal service made by any
person over eighteen years of age or by registered mail, but
return acknowledgment is required to prove such latter service.
Failure to obey such a summons so served shall constitute a
misdemeanor. The fees for the attendance and travel of witnesses
shall be the same as for witnesses before the circuit court.
(c) Any circuit court shall have jurisdiction, upon
application by the commissioner, to enforce all lawful orders of
the commissioner under this section.
WVC 17 A- 2 - 19
§17A-2-19. Giving of notice.
Whenever the department is authorized or required to give
any notice under this chapter or other law regulating the
operation of vehicles, unless a different method of giving such
notice is otherwise expressly prescribed, such notice shall be
given either by personal delivery thereof to the person to be so
notified or by deposit in the United States mail of such notice
in an envelope with postage prepaid, addressed to such person at
his address as shown by the records of the department. The
giving of notice by mail is complete upon the expiration of four
days after such deposit of said notice. Proof of the giving of
notice in either such manner may be made by the certificate of
any officer or employee of the department or affidavit of any
person over eighteen years of age, naming the person to whom such
notice was given and specifying the time, place, and manner of
the giving thereof.
WVC 17 A- 2 - 20
§17A-2-20. Legal service rendered commissioner.
It shall be the duty of the attorney general of this state
and of his assistants and of the prosecuting attorneys of the
several counties, to render to the commissioner, without
additional compensation, such legal services as he shall require
of them in the discharge of his duties under the provisions of
WVC 17 A- 2 - 21
§17A-2-21. Motor Vehicle Fees Fund.
Effective the first day of July, two thousand seven, there is
hereby created a special revenue account within the State Treasury
to be known as the Motor Vehicle Fees Fund which shall consist of
moneys paid into the account in accordance with other provisions of
this code and any additional sums appropriated by the Legislature.
All other taxes and fees imposed and collected under the provisions
of this chapter shall be paid to the State Treasurer in the manner
provided by law and credited to the State Road Fund.
WVC 17 A- 2 - 22
§17A-2-22. Administrative expense.
The expense of the administration of the motor vehicle
department shall be appropriated for that purpose from the state
WVC 17 A- 2 - 23
§17A-2-23. Worthless checks tendered for fees and taxes; penalty.
If a check tendered to the Division of Motor Vehicles is
returned to the division unpaid for any reason, there shall be a
penalty of ten dollars to be paid to the division in addition to
the amount due the division. This penalty applies to checks
tendered for any fee or tax authorized to be collected by the
division and is in addition to any other penalties imposed in this
That in the event a specific penalty is set forth
for the nonpayment or late payment of fees and taxes, the penalty
set forth in this section applies only to the extent that the
penalty exceeds any specific penalty for nonpayment or late
WVC 17 A- 2 - 24
Acts, 2010 Reg. Sess., Ch. 32.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2016 Regular Session
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