Is it Legal to Have a License Plate Frame on Your Car in New Jersey?
We know how many license plates you legally need in New Jersey; but are there any laws about license plate frames?
Earlier this week I got specific about New Jersey's license plate laws. Some states are allowed to drive without a front license plate, but in The Garden State, you legally need both a front and back license plate. You can be ticketed for up to $200 for violations.
But what about license plate frames? When you purchase a new car, they sometimes come with a frame on it that has the dealership info. There are also funny license plate frames sold in tourist shops.
I understand why states are picky about license plate frames. License plates need to be completely visible for safety purposes. In the case of criminal activity, you'd need to trace the car back to someone. Additionally, many tolls are going cashless, and use license plates to track addresses for payment. Covering license plates would hinder that process.
Are license plate frames legal in New Jersey?
As you've probably guessed, each state has different laws about license plate frames. The only state that doesn't allow license plate frames is Oklahoma. The rest of the 50 states do allow them, however, some states have restrictions.
According to BuyRadarDetectors.com, some states Alabama, Arizona, and Montana require the state name to be visible at all times.
You are allowed to use license plate frames in New Jersey, however, per the NJ MVC, you can be fined $100 for frames that "cover or obscure any lettering."
Over the summer, our sister station NJ101.5 shared that there was a bill in play to change this law so that "lettering can be covered as long as the plate is readable."
As of now, it seems that the bill didn't pass. It's not a bad idea for the future, since most people don't intend on violating this law.
Be sure to check your license plate frames before you get into your car!