Probate office to receive new driver#039;s license equipment

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 10, 2005

Driver's license photos aren't supposed to be glamour shots, but Probate Judge Steven Norman said Butler County residents should expect a generally better quality photograph when his office implements new computer equipment on Dec. 15.

In the past, most people have cringed at the thought of having their picture taken for a new driver's license and are often hesitant to show family and friends the final reproduction when it arrives in the mail.

Norman said once the state installs the new computer imaging equipment next Thursday, the photographs should improve.

&#8220The photograph should be clearer,” he said. &#8220But we want to ask the public to be patient with us as we get accustomed to this new technology. We've been using the system we have now for a long time, so it may take us awhile to get used to the new equipment.”

Norman said the Probate Office would be closed all day on Thursday, Dec. 15, as the state installs the new system and trains office staff in the use of it. In January, the Alabama Department of Public Safety began issuing re-designed licenses and identification cards, and Norman said the license itself would be the biggest change seen by the public. The new license includes a barcode, magnetic strip and a digitized portrait, which is stored in statewide database for identification purposes.

Drivers 21 and under also receive vertical licenses, instead of horizontal, which can help eliminate the sale of alcohol to minors.

Norman also said new drivers would now receive their licenses at the Greenville driver's license testing facility rather than the Probate Office as it has been in the past.

&#8220Basically, all we'll be handling is renewals,” he said.

For more information contact the Butler County Probate Office at 382-3512.

The following information comes from the Alabama Department of Public Safety and should be useful if you need to renew your license sometime in the future.

Renewing your license: Your driver license expires four years after it is issued, and the expiration date is shown on the license. The license may be renewed at any time within 30 days prior to expiration at your Probate Judge or license Commissioner Office.

Grace period: Alabama law grants a grace period of 60 days after the expiration date of a driver’s license for the purpose of driver license renewal, and the driver license shall be valid for this time period.

Active duty military license renewal: Military personnel, their dependents, students, or other licensed Alabama drivers who are temporarily out of state due to their job requirements may be eligible to apply if you have obtained an Alabama driver license with your picture and signature in the last four years.

The required $23 fee should be submitted by money order made payable to the Driver License Division and mailed to the Driver License Division, P.O. Box 1471, Montgomery, Alabama 36102-1471. The licensee’s full name, birth date, and driver license number, social security number and out-of-state address should be included along with documentation providing reason for being out-of-state. A license will be issued, provided a photo and signature are on file and mailed to the licensee’s out-of-state address. The license must bear an Alabama address. This does not apply to holders of a commercial driver license.