Vehicle Registration & License Plate Violations

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In North Carolina, one of the most common ways to be pulled over by the police is by allowing your vehicle’s registration to expire. It is a violation to willfully display an expired license plate on a vehicle. A violation of this provision is a Class 3 misdemeanor. Your vehicle’s registration must be renewed annually through the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. Further, the registration sticker on the license plate provides the month and year that the registration needs to be renewed. In addition to a vehicle’s registration, there are other ways in which individuals sometimes run into trouble because of their vehicle’s license plate.

Your license plate should be kept clean and in good condition. Commonly, it is a Class 2 misdemeanor to alter, disguise, or conceal the numbers on your license plate. This includes a driver that:

  • Willfully mutilates, bends, or twists a license plate;
  • Causes a license plate to be covered or partially covered by any bumper, light, spare tire, tire rack, strap, or another device;
  • Paints, enamels, embosses, stamps, prints, perforates, or alters any part of a license plate;
  • Deposits any oil, grease, or other substance that makes dust adhere to the license plate;
  • Defaces disfigures, or changes any letter or figure on the license plate; or
  • Displays a plate in any position other than a horizontal upright position.

Lastly, North Carolina regulates the decorative frames and protective covers that are sometimes applied to a vehicle’s license plate. When applying such frames or covers to your license plate, it is an infraction for a driver of a motor vehicle to do any of the following:

  • Intentionally cover any number or registration renewal sticker on a registration plate with any material that makes the number or registration renewal sticker illegible;
  • Willfully cover any part or portion of a registration plate by any device designed or intended to prevent or interfere with the taking of a clear photograph of a registration plate by a traffic control or toll collection system using cameras; or
  • Cover any registration plate with any frame or transparent, clear, or color-tinted cover that makes a number or letter included in the vehicle’s registration, the State name on the plate, or a number or month on the registration renewal sticker on the plate illegible.

If you have been issued a ticket for a traffic violation in Charlotte, NC, contact Jetton & Meredith today to set up a consultation with one of our experienced traffic attorneys.