Although the state of California issues two license plates for most vehicles, many vehicle owners choose not to install one of them on their front bumper.
This can happen for several reasons, from marring the sleek lines of an expensive sports car to interfering with the winch attachment on a sturdy truck. Some drivers may opt to put the front plate on their dashboard or attach it to the visor. Unfortunately, neglecting to properly install a front license plate on your vehicle registered in California is a violation of the law.
California Vehicle Code 5200 includes two sections, which state:
(a) When two license plates are issued by the department for use upon a vehicle, they shall be attached to the vehicle for which they were issued, one in the front and the other in the rear.
(b) When only one license plate is issued for use upon a vehicle, it shall be attached to the rear thereof, unless the license plate is issued for use upon a truck tractor, in which case the license plate shall be displayed in accordance with Section 4850.5.
Subsection (b) rarely applies to vehicles your average driver would encounter. With the exception of motorcycles, all vehicles must have two plates mounted to be in compliance with the law.
Most of the time, a CVC 5200 violation is issued in conjunction with a moving violation of some sort. A driver is pulled over for speeding, impeding traffic, neglecting to come to a complete stop at a stop sign, signaling improperly—of course, the list of possibilities goes on. If you are stopped for a moving violation and you haven’t properly installed your front license plate, chances are good that the officer will notice the missing plate and cite you in accordance with CVC 5200 along with whatever other ticket is issued.
However, this isn’t always the case. An officer can issue a citation for CVC 5200 whether or not you’re found to be doing anything else wrong. He might see you driving down the road following all the rules, and he can still pull you over for the missing plate. Or your vehicle could be parked and catch the eye of a meter maid, or any enforcement officer, and you could return to your vehicle only to find a citation slipped under one of your windshield wipers.
A ticket for a violation of CVC 5200 costs a minimum of $197 in fines and fees.
If you’ve been issued a citation for violation of CVC 5200, contact our team and see how we can help.