Resident of Where?

driving

There are only six reasons a person may be excused from jury duty and being in another country is not one of them.

Yes, I have been summoned to appear for jury duty in Miami-Dade County. One can only postpone for up to 60 days. It seems that the County actually expects me to spend $2k and fly in for jury duty. That, or invent teleportation. Talk about motivation.

I couldn’t find a way to reach someone at the Clerk’s Office by phone, but I found an email inquiry form and was surprised to have someone promptly respond. Ms. M informed me that I have two options: (1) appear for jury duty or (2) relinquish my driver’s license and I will be excused from jury duty and removed from the juror list. She noted that Florida statutes  require people living in another state or country for more than three months to relinquish their Florida license and obtain one from their new state or country of residence.

But I’m not a resident of Australia; I’m a tourist. I’m a Florida resident. “You are not a Florida resident because you are not residing in the state of Florida at this time,” she replied.

There’s status and there’s status. I reside in Australia, but I’m not a resident. I’m a citizen of the USA, but no longer a resident.

I don’t like the idea of relinquishing my driver’s license. I suppose the day had to come, but I never thought about it. I inquired with Vic Roads (the Aussie DMV) and learned that I could obtain a Victorian driver’s license. I made the appointment right away.

The process was quick and easy. I arrived at 2:45pm for my 2:50pm appointment and was out the door by 3pm. I filled out an application, presented my Florida driver’s license, my passport, a bank statement for proof of residency, my bank (ATM) card, and paid $245 for a driver’s license that expires in 10 years (you can also opt for a three-year license for $72). I had to take a vision test (and I use the word “test” loosely), but there was no driver’s test. It was that easy. Vic Roads just hands us right-side-of-the-road American drivers a license (well, they hand us a piece of paper and the actual license arrives in the mail a couple of weeks later). No L plates. No P plates*. I laugh when I think of it.

Driving Bitstrip

I’m relinquishing my Florida driver’s license by mailing it to the Department of Motor Vehicles along with a letter explaining that I no longer live in Florida.  The State of Florida will then send me a confirmation letter, a copy of which I’ll forward to the Clerk’s Office to be removed from the juror list.

L & P Plates*For my friends back in the USA, an L-plate is issued to learner drivers. After your Ls, you move on to your Ps. P stands for provisional and these are held for three or four years depending on various factors such as the driver’s age and how long s/he held a learner’s. You may be on red Ps for a while and then green Ps. All the plates must be affixed to the front and back of the vehicle. It’s nice that some poor drivers come with a warning label.

Where are you a resident of? What kind of driver’s license do you have?

Comments

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4 Comments

  1. Oh my goodness! Now I know that Floridian drivers can obtain a Victorian license that easily, I’ll be too scared to hit the roads! ;-0

    Sorry, Cosette – I’m sure you’re a perfectly good driver.

    It’s just that we had to do the full driving test when we applied for our Floridian driving license, and we thought it was the biggest joke. All we had to do was drive around a car park, stop and give way at the appropriate places and park in a supersized US parking spot. No parallel parking required. No real traffic. Easy as they come, but it didn’t fill us with confidence in the drivers who were sharing the road with us.

    • Miami has a reputation for having some of the worst, most road-raging drivers in all of the USA, and it’s not undeserved. I think Melbourne drivers are slightly better. My theory is that both cities have a lot of immigrants who all bring their various and sometimes conflicting driving habits. Although Florida and Victoria have their own driving laws, that you can so easily get a license when you’re a foreigner is pretty crazy and probably contributes to the problem.

  2. Wow. I have lived in Melbourne for nearly four years now with my PA drivers license. If I could do it over again, I would get a Victoria one right away because it would have made life much easier, but I was stubborn about it. I never considered the possiblity of being summoned for jury duty … I was terrified when I first began driving in Melbourne, in spite of having lived in the U.K., but eventually learned to drive just like the locals. Good luck and have fun.

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