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Experience:  Licensed attorney with 28 yrs. exp. in criminal law
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I had a DWI in 1998 and I paid the fine and there was no School or probation in other word

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I had a DWI in 1998 and I paid the fine and there was no School or probation in other words the only penalty was was $1,000 which was paid and dismissed from all other penalties. I moved to Costa Rica and visit in Minnesota and want to buy a car in Minnesota to us only during the summer for six months and go back to Costa Rica for the other six months. Can I buy a car in Minnesota with just a Costa Rica ?drivers license? Also can I buy insurance with my Costa Rica drivers license
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 3 years ago.
Hello,

Although you can legally purchase a vehicle without a driver's license, you can operate it without one. Since, I assume that you are still a U.S. citizen, then you would not be allowed to substitute your foreign driver's license (if you have one) for a U.S. DL. In addition, if you are going to be in Minnesota for over 60 days, you would be required to get a Minnesota Driver's License even if you did have another valid license.

So, if you want to operate a vehicle in Minnesota, you will need a Minnesota DL.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I have a permanent residentency in Costa Rica. Does this help? If I spend only two months then there should be no problem then. How does Minnesota now how long I am here as I have no pemanent in Minnesota. I guess the answer as my DWI I can get a Mn. Lic. with no problem. Do I have to give up my CR Lic? Thank You
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 3 years ago.
Hello again,

Your permanent residency in CR could help for the short term. But there is no clear statutory provision allowing for a U.S. citizen to use their foreign driver's license indefinitely (over 90 days) in the State. The law says that a foreign national can use their foreign driver's license for as long as their Visa is valid. There is nothing like that for U.S. Citizens living abroad. As a practical matter, the only way that the State would know that you are in the State and your start date, is if you either register your car and then are later stopped by police or if your insurance company reports your location and the DMV picks it up. Then they will calculate how long you have been in the State and if over 60 days, you have to have a Minnesota DL.

As for your CR DL, if it were me, I wouldn't tell them that I had one when I went to get my MN. DL. Although technically you have to give up your DL from another State, and this is not another State, there may be enough confusion over the issue that they would try to force you to give it up. It won't be any good in qualifying for your MN DL anyway, so no point in mentioning it.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
To buy insurance out of state would work better.? If I put the car in my daughter's name and I receive ticket say a DWI ; How would this affect her? Thank You
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 3 years ago.
No, you must have insurance in the State where the car is registered. So, that means you must have a Minnesota insurance policy if the car is to be registered in Minnesota. If you are in an accident in a car registered to someone else, they will still ultimately be financially responsible. If you get a DWI, the vehicle could be impounded, but your daughter could get it out.

What I might suggest that you consider is not buying a car, but instead only renting a car when you need one. There are companies who will deliver the car and you can just use it when you need to and not really worry about the licensing issue since you would not be registering a vehicle in the State and therefore, not really be on the radar of the State or law enforcement.
Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 17540
Experience: Licensed attorney with 28 yrs. exp. in criminal law
Marsha411JD and 3 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank You! Sorry for the rush but leaving to buy a car.
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 3 years ago.
Okay, best of luck to you.

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