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Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

    Failure to update change of address could result in a hefty fine for students

    Concerns revolving around the rights of drivers who are university students in Sonoma County are rising. Students and residents have been reporting getting pulled over by Highway Patrol and getting fix-it tickets for not having their addresses updated. 

    These drivers were pulled over for other traffic violations but the address issues were noticed during the traffic stop. Fortunately for these people they were let off with a warning for the initial violation but did face consequences for not having updated information. 

    Those given a ticket were shocked because they had not known how much of a priority it was to do the address change once moved. California drivers do not seem to be educated on the issue. 

    Every year, college students ages 17 and up are moving away from somewhere they have always known as home and creating a new life for themselves in an unfamiliar place. Most students are still receiving mail at their parents/guardian’s or wherever they resided before moving to school. The transition into independence is not an easy or quick process.

    Younger students and new residents are navigating their new lives and aren’t familiar with how soon the law says they must update their address.

    California Highway Patrol suggested going onto the Department of Motor Vehicles’ website and reading up on how to change your address or even going into the DMV and getting it done there. 

    “If your mail is being sent somewhere else, wouldn’t you like to know about it?” said an officer in response to being asked whether a university student legally needs to update their address or not. 

    The same officer also advised if a student were to be pulled over without an updated address that they can be “courteous and respectful” to the officer and hope they understand the circumstance. 

    In the California driver handbook on the DMV website, it reads, “If you move, you must notify DMV of your new address within 10 days. Submit a change of address online at, by mail, or at a DMV office. It is your responsibility to ensure DMV has your correct mailing address on record.” 

    Every source of information regarding a students’ obligation to update their addresses explained it is not required to physically change it on the license but to make sure to have it changed online through the DMV. 

    Mason Ybarra, 21-year-old Cotati resident, got pulled over two weeks after moving to Sonoma County with his fiancé for school at SSU. 

    The officer originally pulled him over in regards to speeding but saw he hadn’t updated his address. The officer let him off on the speeding violation but instead gave him a fix it ticket for the address change. Ybarra updated it but still had to pay a $250 dollar fine for not sending proof to the court. 

    Highway Patrol made it clear that they are allowed to ticket a driver as many times as they feel needed until the violation is fixed. They also wanted to remind drivers that they need to pay attention to the date on the ticket in which they need to update the court by. Failure to do so can be a bigger fine than the ticket itself. A citation for a fix it ticket is $25 dollars each time but will go up from there. 

    Grace Swanton, a third year anthropology major at SSU stated she felt it was “discriminatory for a cop to expect someone to know and change their address right after moving. Especially if they are a student or a part of a family that moves a lot. Giving someone a ticket or citation for not changing their address is unfair and discriminates against people who might not live in the same place for a long time.” Swanton moved to Rohnert Park to attend SSU and now feels concerned this wasn’t talked about more. 

    According to the California Courts website on correctable violations such as “fix-it” tickets, “When you fix the problem, get an authorized person to sign the “Certificate of Correction” part of your ticket. Take the proof of correction to the court and pay the dismissal fee before the deadline. You can check your ticket or contact the court to see if the court accepts proof of correction by mail. The court will then dismiss your case and it will not go on your record. You must take or mail the signed ticket with proof of correction to the court along with your dismissal fee. Do this before the deadline on your ticket. The court will then dismiss your case.”

    Sonoma State University campus police responded to students being told to update their addresses by giving important information and suggestions. They acknowledged the “gray area” of current addresses for students being temporary. 

    An SSU officer stated that they understand and won’t always give a citation but by law “Whenever any person after applying for or receiving a driver’s license moves to a new residence, or acquires a new mailing address different from the address shown in the application or in the license as issued, he or she shall within 10 days thereafter notify the department of both the old and new address. The department may issue a document to accompany the driver’s license reflecting the new address of the holder of the license.” 

    The officer read directly from The California Legislative CA vehicle code section 14600 subsection A. The officer made it clear that the law allows them to write a citation whether they want to acknowledge the gray area or not. 

    For more information regarding driving rights, violations, change of address and much more visit the DMV website at 


    A police officer speaking to a driver after getting pulled over to the side of the road.

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