Not All ID's Are Created Equal

We frequently see advertisements stating that "no driver's license necessary" to buy a car.  While a Texas or state issued ID card might technically be acceptable to purchase a vehicle for title purposes, can that same person even legally drive the car off the lot?  What if that person gets in an accident two blocks down the road and injures a third party? 
Other than citizenship issues, there are two likely reasons that a person does not have an actual drivers license. One is the result of Texas' Drivers Responsibility Program which ended on September 1, 2019. This program had the unintended effect of revoking licenses from thousands of drivers for minor infractions that were compounded by late fees and penalties. It is estimated that 600,000 drivers will be eligible to have their licenses reinstated after this repeal of this onerous law.  
The other reason? Three letters: DWI.  While that customer has an ID, their driver's license is likely revoked or suspended. Again, selling a vehicle to a person with no license or a suspended license could be borrowing trouble for negligent entrustment litigation.  In addition to concerns about being a named defendant, there is another important aspect to consider if you are a lienholder: Insurance. Persons with one, or two, or three DWIs are usually excluded from all standard insurance companies and will have narrow SR-22 type policies. Even if not DWI related, revoked or suspended drivers face insurance premiums that are likely double the payment for the vehicle.  Can that person protect your collateral?  Is that a good risk.

As of 2013, Texas law requires that a person applying for a vehicle title present an acceptable form of photo identification. 
Those forms are:
A driver's license or state identification photo ID issued by a state or territory of the United States.
United States or foreign passport.
U.S. military identification card.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security identification document.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services identification document.
U.S. Department of State identification document.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) identification.
Identification issued under a Status of Forces Agreement.
Only one person whose name will appear on the title must have an acceptable form of identification. Thus, if a potential customer has a matricula consular (not acceptable) and also has a spouse (or someone else they trust to jointly own their car) with and approved ID listed above, then that customer could purchase a vehicle. In such a scenario, a dealership could accurately claim that they will sell a vehicle to a customer with a matricula consular (and proper ID). Again, these types of "proxy" title transfers again may open up to contract disutes, title transfer issues, or legal liabilty for entrustment.  These arrangements may also have insurance coverage challenges in coverage, unamed drivers, and claim disputes. Remember: a matricula consular identity card is not acceptable identification alone to purchase a motor vehicle in Texas.

As with many things, however, there is more to the story than meets the eye.


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