Shhh! Confidential marriage and drivers licenses in California?

I just stumbled across how certain people can get a confidential drivers license in California - people like police officers and holders of public office. It’s also possible to get a confidential marriage license - anyone can get one of those just by paying roughly twice as much as a regular license.


Unless I’m missing something, someone bent on finding out where their congressman actually lives can’t just go down to the DMV office and paw through “phone book” style listings of names and find an address. Or does the person’s license get printed up showing their address as 2415 21st Avenue (DMV head office) in Sacramento? This would at least be useful if someone dropped their license or their wallet was stolen.

Similarly, what’s the point with confidential marriage licenses? How many people get married, then keep it an absolute secret, to the point where they can’t even wear a wedding ring?

I wasn’t aware of the confidential drivers license, but my husband and I got a confidential marriage license (this was 15 years ago). The deal with the confidential marriage license is to allow people who are living together as man and wife the opportunity to apply for the license and marry without shocking the crap out of everyone who thought they already were married. I don’t know if they still do it, but newspapers used to report on marriage licenses granted (next to the divorces granted section, coincidentally).

The reason I got the confidential license was the blood test wasn’t required as it is for a regular license, and at the time I didn’t have medical insurance and the cost of the blood test would have been more than the increased cost of the license.

It wasn’t that long ago that they could. Well, perhaps not “paw through” listings but gain access to DMV records. Notoriously, Robert Bardo had a PI do just that to obtain the personal information for Rebecca Schaefer, whom he then murdered.

So far, it’s sounding like some of the main reasons might be historical curiosities. DMV records are not readily available now, but apparently, they used to be, and pre-marriage blood tests are no longer done either. (At least not in my county.)

The only reason that seems to have any current-day purpose is to prevent the local paper from picking up on new licenses and shocking their friends and family in a “But they’ve been together for five years and have a daughter!” scenario.

It’s not just in California. I have a protected driver’s license and license plates because I work(ed) at Planned Parenthood. It is possible for anyone to pull up a giant load of information through your plates. This site promises:

We sometimes would have protesters and various crazies that would watch the clinics at different times of day and take notes on which were employees’ cars. Some people got followed from time to time. It’s sort of par for the course to be harassed at work, but I really don’t want anyone being able to come to my house.

The plates are blocked even from police dispatchers, as I discovered when I called the local PD to report that someone had broken into my car. I gave them the plate number and the dispatcher on the phone was stymied. She kept insisting that I had the number wrong, until I remembered and told her they were blocked.

I run a web site for County Government that allows a user to enter in a last name and find the physical address of the owner of a property.

A new law in Colorado allows any one involved in law enforcement to block data available on government websites… That includes DA’s or any one the works in the DA’s office. Even folks in the National Guard. The list goes on and on.

You have to petition our Sheriff to prevent their name from coming up. If approved we handle it in the Database.

However, the data is available it you come to a County office. Just not online.

I understand what they are tying to do. But it bothers me a bit. I can’t get my address blocked (not that I would want to). People that have restraining orders out can’t be blocked.

It seems that some are more equal than others.

I don’t like it. Not one bit. Bad, bad precedent.

I agree. It should be available to anyone who thinks they need it, if made available to anyone,

No Kidding. All kinds of reasons that Joe Average would have a real need for this sort of thing. I was having phone harrassment issues a few years back due to a local police officer having the same first and last name as I do. One more reason I don’t miss having a landline.

Doesn’t matter since the person they have the restraining order against must be provided with their home and work addresses anyway so they know where to stay away from.