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Risks of Improper Equipment: Your License Plate

Imagine this: You’re driving along, and suddenly you see a police car in your rearview mirror. Your chest tightens as its lights go on. You’re hoping it’s not for you, but sure enough, the police car comes behind you, and you must pull over.

You know you weren’t speeding. You’ve been using your turn signals, stopping at all the lights. You cannot think about what you did wrong as your mind floods with possibilities. 

What about your license plate? Did you know you can get pulled over for a license plate issue? It’s true!

If you want to learn about how to keep your license plate in line with the current rules and regulations in the state of Louisiana, this article is for you.

Vehicle Ordinances

There are several responsibilities to owning a car aside from following the rules of the road. Some of the most important rules are about your title, license, registration, and license plate.

A vehicle’s title shows the owner of a vehicle. This information includes the vehicle’s make, model, year, VIN, and history details.  

The vehicle identification number (VIN) is a unique code given to every vehicle manufactured. Therefore, you can use the VIN to see the vehicle’s history.

To drive, you must have a valid license. Driving without a license can lead to fines and sometimes jail time. Louisiana residents can get a license from the Vehicle Registration Bureau. 

You also need to register your vehicle with the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles at the Department of Public Safety. Driving without correct state registration can also lead to fines and jail time

Furthermore, vehicle registration is necessary to receive your license plate. Along with the license plate, you also get a sticker to put on the plate stating your registration is up to date. 

In Louisiana, you are required to renew your vehicle registration every two years. Failure to do so will result in fines or jail time for repeated offenses. 

The Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles makes the vehicle registration renewal process easy with an online platform through OMV Expresslane.

In the state of Louisiana, it is illegal to drive without proper registration and license plates. Police officers can impound your vehicle if they pull you over without having them. 

You will have the option of depositing the improper Louisiana license plate with the police officer instead of having the vehicle impounded. However, you will have to buy the proper registration immediately. 

This is all completely avoidable if you follow the rules

License Plate Rules and Regulations

The law states that drivers must clearly display a license plate on motor vehicles, motorcycles, semitrailers, and trailers.

The state of Louisiana only requires a back or rear-end license plate. Therefore, a front license plate is not necessary to have.

Any sign of obstruction can lead to a ticket. If anything covers the numbers, characters, year registration sticker, or name of the jurisdiction issuing the plate, you can be fined. 

In addition, you are responsible for cleaning off any dirt or mud that may have covered the plate.

The license plate must also be free from foreign materials. This means no license plate frames or covers. This includes plastic and electrochromic films.

The use of neon lights around the license plate is also illegal. Lights on antique automobiles are an exception to this rule. 

The license plate must be securely fastened to the vehicle. The plate should never swing. It must be at least 12 inches off the ground too.

Drivers violating any of these rules can face up to a $1,000 fine, six months in prison, or both.

On the bright side, vanity plates are legal in Louisiana. Drivers can request personalized plates for automobiles, trucks up to 10,000 lbs., motor homes, and motorcycles.

There are specific rules to follow or what is and is not allowed on vanity plates. For example, special symbols and a patented logo are not permitted. 

Ethnic, racial, vulgar, or indecent language are also forbidden.

Louisiana drivers can apply for an antique license plate for antique motor vehicles. Officials recognize that vehicles more than 30 years old are collected, preserved, and restored. 

Hobbyists also like to operate and maintain these vehicles. In addition, antique license plates are inexpensive and fun for collectors.

Commercial Rules and Regulations

Commercial vehicle owners can visit any district office of the Vehicles Registration Bureau to obtain license plates.

In addition, if you need license plates apportioned for other states, you can also visit the Bureau to get applications. 

CCT plates are required for common and contract carriers. To receive the plates, the carriers must be licensed with the Louisiana Public Service Commission first. 

There are many commercial vehicles exempt from having a license plate. For example, most farm equipment, motor cranes used for heavy construction, and log loaders are included in the exemption. 

Louisiana has 6 classes of license plates for trucks, tandem trucks, tractor trucks, semi-trailers, and trailers. Different rules also apply to motor homes. 

If you plan on operating a commercial vehicle in Louisiana, contact the Office of Motor Vehicles for more information on the license plate rules and regulations.

Drive Safely

Following the rules of the road isn’t the only important thing when it comes to driving. The driver of a vehicle must always make sure they are obeying the motor vehicle laws too.

You don’t want to find yourself pulled over and facing a fine or jail time because you didn’t renew your registration or accidentally covered up part of your license plate. 

If you need further help in the Baton Rouge area with your vehicle, be sure to contact us today. We are available for you seven days a week.


Louisiana DWI & Criminal Lawyers

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Louisiana criminal lawyers and DWI attorneys at the Barkemeyer Law Firm providing legal defense services for clients in Baton Rouge, Ascension, Livingston, Tangipahoa, Port Allen, Alexandria, New Orleans, Lafayette, Metairie, Kenner, Gretna, Hahnville, Chalmette, Slidell, St. Tammany, St. Charles, St. John, St. Bernard, Mandeville, Covington, Shreveport, Bossier, Jefferson, and all of Louisiana.

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not formal legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.

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