County supervisors raise motor vehicle registration fee by a dollar

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The Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to increase the vehicle registration fee in Yolo County from one dollar to two dollars on motor vehicles to fund prosecutions of vehicle thefts and DUIs.

Also increasing — from two dollars to four dollars — will be the vehicle registration fee on all commercial motor vehicles. The state Department of Motor Vehicles collects the fees on every vehicle registered in the county. Both fee increases will take effect in six months.

The move comes six years after the state authorized counties to increase fees by those amounts.

The additional funds raised will continue to fund an investigator position in the District Attorney’s Office working on vehicle theft and DUIs as well as cover the cost of impounding vehicles as evidence in felony DUIs involving fatalities.

That latter cost is currently covered by the California Highway Patrol, however financial responsibility for impoundment in fatal DUIs is now being passed to county.

Those cases, Chief Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Raven told supervisors, “can take a year or two to complete.”

“And the vehicle is evidence that’s very, very critical to both prosecution and the defense,” Raven said.

It’s an issue, he said, of “how we’re going to pay to store that evidence in a proper matter so that we can have a fair and just result both on the prosecution side and the defense side and for our victims.”

Over the past few years, Raven said, Yolo County was fortunate to have the CHP paying for storage all the way through trial.

However, that won’t be the case going forward.

“This is going to be fairly expensive,” Raven said. “The goal is eventually not to pay the expensive daily storage fee to a tow company but to in fact to build our own storage. The problem is for the integrity of the car, we can’t just leave it outdoors, it has to be covered because it is evidence and these cases take time.”

According to the District Attorney’s Office, vehicle thefts in Yolo County have increased by 13.3 percent between 2014 and 2018 while DUIs have actually declined by 29.3 percent.

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