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Off-center front license plate placement

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  • Off-center front license plate placement

    I'm curious if this is considered against license plate placement laws; License plate mounted at the front-most portion of the vehicle, but positioned either left or right of center, instead of directly in the center.

    I've read my states placement law, Texas 504.943 :
    Sec. 504.943. OPERATION OF VEHICLE WITHOUT LICENSE PLATE. (a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), a person commits an offense if the person operates on a public highway, during a registration period, a motor vehicle that does not display two license plates that:
    (1) have been assigned by the department for the period; and
    (2) comply with department rules regarding the placement of license plates.
    (b) A person commits an offense if the person operates on a public highway during a registration period a road tractor, motorcycle, trailer, or semitrailer that does not display a license plate that:
    (1) has been assigned by the department for the period; and
    (2) complies with department rules regarding the placement of license plates.
    (c) This section does not apply to a dealer operating a vehicle as provided by law.
    (d) A court may dismiss a charge brought under Subsection (a)(1) if the defendant:
    (1) remedies the defect before the defendant's first court appearance; and
    (2) pays an administrative fee not to exceed $10.
    (e) An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $200.

    Added by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1296 (H.B. 2357), Sec. 221, eff. January 1, 2012.
    Amended by:
    Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 260 (H.B. 625), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2013.
    As well I've read through Texas Department of Transportation rules regarding inspection, which do not appear to indicate a definition of placement or mounting requirements.

    I purchased a vehicle in which the dealership did not mount the bracket for the front license plate. Subsequently I have looked at other mounting placement, front most portion of the vehicle, but utilizing the factory provided towing point, approximately one third of the vehicle width to the passenger side of center.

    Thank you in advance for taking the time to answer, I appreciate all that our nations LEOs do.
    (Edit - as an update, I've attached an image of the proposed license plate mounting location)brz13-licenseplate3.jpg
    Last edited by sgsmith; 01-27-2015, 02:37 PM.

  • #2
    From Texas DPS website FAQ:

    How Many License Plates Am I Required To Display?
    State law requires that you display two (2) license plates, one to the front and one to the rear. Placement or mounting of license plates is not defined.


    *This guidance is referenced in TXDOT's requirements to properly display the registration certificate. DPS does not inspect the license plate itself, but instead inspects the license plate lamp.


    View Transportation Code
    View Sec. 502.404. OPERATION OF VEHICLE WITHOUT LICENSE PLATE OR REGISTRATION INSIGNIA
    View Department Rules/Regulation Inspection criteria
    View 04.20.00 Details of Inspection & Search for 20.18 License Plate Lamp

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    • #3

      You would be good to go here in VA - as there are plenty of vehicles with "off-center" license plates. Many commercial trucks are built that way from the factory.

      Trucks (tractors, mostly) with apportioned plates sometimes ONLY have a tag for the front bumper and are not required to have one affixed to the rear of the vehicle.

      When I was a deputy, I would not have stopped you for that......but that was a long time ago. There is the letter of the law vs the spirit of the law, eh?

      BTW, a common practice for 20-somethings in slammed Civic coupes is to lay the front license plate atop the front dashboard.....which is DEFINITELY a "no go" in the commonwealth.

      The comments above reflect my personal opinion as a private citizen, ordinary motorist and all-around good guy.

      The aforementioned advice should not be construed to represent any type of professional opinion, legal counsel or other type of instruction with regard to traffic laws, judicial proceedings or official agency policy.

      ------------------------------------------------

      "Ignorance on fire is hotter than knowledge on ice."

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by VA Dutch View Post

        You would be good to go here in VA - as there are plenty of vehicles with "off-center" license plates. Many commercial trucks are built that way from the factory.

        Trucks (tractors, mostly) with apportioned plates sometimes ONLY have a tag for the front bumper and are not required to have one affixed to the rear of the vehicle.

        When I was a deputy, I would not have stopped you for that......but that was a long time ago. There is the letter of the law vs the spirit of the law, eh?

        BTW, a common practice for 20-somethings in slammed Civic coupes is to lay the front license plate atop the front dashboard.....which is DEFINITELY a "no go" in the commonwealth.
        Thanks for the information VA Dutch. I know I had seen commercial trucks with them mounted left or right of center, but was unsure if there may have been stipulations for commercial vehicles versus passenger vehicles. And definitely will not be putting the plate in the windshield, I see those and think to myself, 'that's just asking for trouble'. But also, being a mid thirty something, I'll probably also not be engaging in the tuning community practice of dropping my car low.. need to comply with those minimum headlight height requirements. Plus if the automaker meant for my car to be that low to the ground, I suppose they would have made it that way to begin with. Thanks again for the reply, I appreciate it sir.

        Comment


        • #5
          I'm just wondering, since you quoted Texas law and I quoted you from the DPS site itself and you are still "unsure", have you thought about just calling you local DMV and talking with an on duty trooper and asking them yourself? Every DMV has at least one that is stationed at that location. They answer all sorts of questions from drivers. Why not just ask one?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by eaker995 View Post
            I'm just wondering, since you quoted Texas law and I quoted you from the DPS site itself and you are still "unsure", have you thought about just calling you local DMV and talking with an on duty trooper and asking them yourself? Every DMV has at least one that is stationed at that location. They answer all sorts of questions from drivers. Why not just ask one?
            Thanks for the tip Eaker995. I was not aware that they would provide information like that, but I will certainly give them a call. On the quote from the DPS, this was the same as I had found originally and unfortunately the website lists the old statute. I did find the relevant sections in the DOT's Details of Inspection criteria, but it still did not clarify.

            This may just be a case of being undefined, but affected by other laws. I appreciate your input and will definitely give a call to the local DMV / DPS office to speak with the duty trooper. Thank you again.
            Last edited by sgsmith; 01-29-2015, 02:28 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Many car manufacturers do not put the bracket in the center.As long as its on the front its good. That doesnt mean on the dashboard.Ive never seen a manufacturer put a tag bracket on the dash board.

              Left ,right or middle but on the front bumper.

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              • #8
                There will be officers telling you the plates have to be in the manufacturer's plate location while others won't. I was ultra hot into MINIs and I wanted them to remain showroom perfect. I would remind my dealer often to not install the front license plate bracket as they do during prep. I purchased the tow hook license plate bracket mod so I didn't have holes screwed into my pristine bumper. The off center bracket fulfilled the law that it had to displayed from the front. Never any problems what so ever.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Take a look at the definitions at the beginning of the Transportation Code. "Department" in the section you posted refers to TxDPS. If you want to be absolutely sure, go look up the section of the Administrative code that defines the placement of the plates.

                  In practice, the license plate has to be within the front six inches of the vehicle. As long as it fits that and is readable, then you're good.

                  Comment

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