2019 New Mexico Statutes
Chapter 66 - Motor Vehicles
Article 3 - Registration Laws; Security Interests; Anti-Theft Provisions; Bicycles; Equipment; Unsafe Vehicles; Off-Highway Motor Vehicles; Other Vehicles
Part 4 - NONRESIDENT OWNERS OF VEHICLES
Section 66-3-301 - Registration by nonresidents.

Universal Citation: NM Stat § 66-3-301 (2019)

A. Any nonresident owner of a vehicle of a type otherwise subject to registration may use or permit the use of the vehicle within the state for a period of one hundred eighty days without registering his vehicle, but any vehicle so used must display current registration plates issued for the vehicle in the state where the owner resides.

B. Any person gainfully employed within the boundaries of this state for a period of thirty days or more within a sixty-day period shall be presumed to be a resident of this state.

C. Notwithstanding the fact of their employment, the following are not required to register their vehicles if they display current registration plates issued for the vehicle in the state where the owner resides:

(1) nonresident students engaged in a full-time course of study at an institution of higher learning located within this state, and the vehicle displays a valid nonresident student sticker issued by the institution which they attend; or

(2) a nonresident owner gainfully employed within the boundaries of this state who uses his vehicle to commute daily from his home in another state to and from his place of employment within this state. The provisions of this paragraph apply only if the state in which the owner resides extends like privileges to New Mexico residents gainfully employed within the boundaries of that state.

D. A nonresident owner of a foreign vehicle operated within this state for the transportation of persons or property for compensation or for the transportation of merchandise either regularly according to a schedule or for a consecutive period exceeding thirty days shall register the vehicle and pay the same fees as required with reference to like vehicles owned by residents of this state. This subsection shall not be construed as limiting the effect of validly entered reciprocal agreements between New Mexico and other states or of proportional registration provided for in Section 66-3-4 NMSA 1978.

E. Every nonresident including any foreign corporation carrying on business within this state and owning and regularly operating in that business any vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, house trailer or pole trailer within the state shall register each vehicle and pay the same fees as required with reference to like vehicles owned by residents of this state.

History: 1953 Comp., § 64-3-301, enacted by Laws 1978, ch. 35, § 77; 1991, ch. 41, § 1.

ANNOTATIONS

The 1991 amendment, effective June 14, 1991, in Subsection B, deleted "consecutive" preceding "days" and "but this presumption shall be rebutted upon a showing that the person's employment in this state is for no more than one hundred eighty days" following "resident of this state" and inserted "within a sixty-day period"; in Subsection D, substituted "66-3-4 NMSA 1978" for "64-3-4 NMSA 1953" in the second sentence; in Subsection E, deleted "motor" preceding "vehicle, trailer"; and made minor stylistic changes in Subsections A, D and E.

I. GENERAL CONSIDERATION.

Unconstitutional to require immediate acquisition of license. — There being no reasonable basis for the classification, Laws 1941, ch. 165, § 1(a) was invalid as discriminatory and a denial of "equal protection of law" because it required a nonresident owner, who accepts gainful employment within the state, to immediately acquire a license from New Mexico. State v. Pate, 1943-NMSC-007, 47 N.M. 182, 138 P.2d 1006.

One definition of "nonresident". — If the individual intends to return to a place where his political rights are exercised and where he is subject to taxation, etc., he is a nonresident of New Mexico. If such intent to return to his "legal residence" is absent and his intention is to be a New Mexico resident, he is a New Mexico resident and should comply with the motor vehicle laws on registration. 1957 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 57-330.

Vehicle not registered out-of-state must be in state. — A special motor vehicle, used to haul exceptional loads, which was leased by a New Mexico firm holding a certificate of convenience and necessity from an Arizona trucking firm, was subject to registration in the state of New Mexico even though it was only used on highways of New Mexico for eight days due to the fact that it was not registered in the state of Arizona and did not display current registration plates from that state. 1969 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 69-95.

Nonresident motorist may be cited as misdemeanant if vehicle unregistered. — A nonresident motorist can be required to show proof that his out-of-state vehicle is "duly registered in" some foreign state as is required under Section 64-6-1A, 1953 Comp. (similar to this section). If the motorist cannot show proof of such foreign registration, and if it appears that the vehicle probably is not duly registered, then he may be cited as a misdemeanant under Section 64-6-1A. 1966 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 66-62.

Rental motor vehicles and rental trailers come within the provisions of Section 64-6-1, 1953 Comp. (similar to this section). 1963 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 63-137.

II. EMPLOYMENT OR RESIDENCE WITHIN STATE.

Nonresident may operate vehicle without state registration for stated period. — Section 64-6-1, 1953 Comp. (similar to this section) permits a nonresident owner of any foreign vehicle of a type otherwise subject to registration to operate or allow the use or operation of the vehicle in this state for a period of 30 days (now 180 days) without registering it. After the 30-day (now 180-day) period, the vehicle is to be registered. 1962 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 62-113, overruled by 1971 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 71-98.

Once intent to become resident manifest, registration requirements must be met. — The circumstances that would establish or invoke a required registration in New Mexico can only be determined by a declaration of intent to become a resident or by a manifestation of such intention as evidenced by employment of a permanent nature, voter registration or any other act lending support to a subjective determination of the intention to become a resident of this state. 1958 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 58-191.

These provisions apply equally to those who only temporarily accept employment within the state so long as that person remains within the state for a period in excess of 30 days. 1959 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 59-197.

Nonresidents employed within state are exempt. — Nonresident persons employed within the state and who merely use their vehicle as a means of conveyance to and from such employment, but who do not regularly operate such vehicle in the course of their business, are exempt from the purchase of New Mexico registration plates and the payment of the usual fees in connection therewith so long as they display registration plates on the vehicle from the state of residence. 1959 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 59-215.

Nonresident truckers cannot avoid necessity of registration simply because on weekends the vehicles were driven to Texas. 1962 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 62-113, overruled by 1971 Op. Att'y Gen. 71-98.

Period not tolled by short absence. — The purpose of Section 64-6-1, 1953 Comp. (similar to this section) could not be circumvented by a nonresident motorist who, with the intent to return to New Mexico, leaves the state for only a day or two in an effort to toll the running of the period. 1959 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 59-197; 1963 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 63-137.

Nonresident trucker may not relieve himself of requirement of registration of his truck imposed by Section 64-6-1, 1953 Comp. (similar to this section), as amended, by removing his truck from the state for short intervals. 1959 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 59-71.

III. CARRYING ON BUSINESS.

Out-of-state leased vehicles subject to registration requirements. — Subsection D of Section 64-6-1, 1953 Comp. (similar to Subsection D of this section) would apply if a New Mexico lessee used a vehicle registered in another state for a period of 30 days or more. 1969 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 69-95.

Carrying on business within state subjects owner to registration requirements. — Subsection E of Section 64-6-1, 1953 Comp. (similar to Subsection E of this section) only applies if the nonresident owner carries on business within this state. 1969 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 69-95.

Test is whether nonresident owner engaged in profession or trade. — The test for the determination of whether or not a nonresident vehicle, which is not used for the transportation of persons or property for compensation, and which is not owned by a person or corporation carrying on business within this state, is subject to registration under motor vehicle registration and licensing laws, is whether or not the nonresident owner of that vehicle is engaged in any employment, trade, profession or occupation in this state. 1954 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 54-6037.

IV. MILITARY PERSONNEL.

Servicemen located within state excluded from registration requirement. — Servicemen located within this state, but who are residents of and domiciled in another state, are excluded from registration of their motor vehicle. 1959 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 59-216.

Federal civilian employees temporarily assigned to military installations. — United States government civilian employees temporarily assigned to military installations within the state are not required to register their motor vehicles in New Mexico under the provisions of Section 64-6-1, 1953 Comp. (similar to this section). 1957 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 57-79.

Serviceman need not register if wife uses vehicle. — A serviceman who owns a vehicle registered in his own name in the state of his residence not required to register his motor vehicle in New Mexico under the provisions of Section 64-6-1, 1953 Comp. (similar to this section) if his wife is gainfully employed within the state but is not using the vehicle in her work. 1957 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 57-172.

Serviceman must register if not registered in home state. — Section 514 of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act, 50 U.S.C. App. § 574 (now Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, 50 U.S.C. App. § 571), forbids New Mexico's requiring a nonresident serviceman to register his automobile so long as the automobile is registered in the serviceman's home state. If, however, the automobile is not registered in his home state, it is lawfully subject to registration in New Mexico and Section 64-6-1, 1953 Comp. (similar to this section) should be enforced. 1971 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 71-98.

Must register if commercial vehicle. — New Mexico may assess the full registration fee for commercial vehicles, owned by nonresident service personnel, because of the language of Section 64-6-1E, 1953 Comp. (similar to this section). 1975 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 75-43.

Am. Jur. 2d, A.L.R. and C.J.S. references. — 7A Am. Jur. 2d Automobiles and Highway Traffic §§ 56, 57.

Discrimination against nonresidents in vehicle registration requirements, 61 A.L.R. 347, 112 A.L.R. 63.

Statute in relation to foreign-owned vehicles operating within state, 82 A.L.R. 1091, 138 A.L.R. 1499.

Applicability of motor vehicles registration laws to corporation domiciled in state but having branch trucking bases in other states, 16 A.L.R.2d 1414.

60 C.J.S. Motor Vehicles §§ 66 to 69.

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