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Can I leave off the front licence plate (with impunity)?

Discussion in 'E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006-2011)' started by RBinDC, Oct 28, 2010.

    RBinDC guest

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    I hate to put a plate on my new 335is and spoil its looks. I live in Maryland, a two-plate state.

    However, one of the BMW salesmen said she never put the front plate on her Bimmer and has never been ticketed. Then last night I saw a new M3 with no front plate so I asked the driver how many tickets he gets. He said, none! Furthermore he claims to have left off the front plate on his cars for over 10 years without ever receiving a ticket.

    Has anyone else in Maryland, DC or Virginia done this and escaped ticketing? Since MD issues two plates per vehicle I had assumed the front plate is mandatory. Is it? I can't find a clear answers in the motor vehicle code.

    345861 guest

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    CA is a 2 plate state too and I have never had a front plate on any of my cars. I don't think the cops will pull you over specifically for a missing front plate but it does provide them with probable cause to stop you. The only time you might run into a problem is if you get pulled over for something else and the cop notices you don't have a front plate. If you operate within acceptable limits of the law and don't drive like an idiot, you'll probably be okay. That M Sport front end is too nice to defame unless absolutely necessary.
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    GSMetal

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    Ha! Something I can speak on with some authority!

    I bought my car and it didn't have a plate on it since the previous owner considered the plate on the front as a 'scar on the face of a beautiful car'.

    In the 8 years that he owned the car he never was stopped for this...and neither have I (so far).
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    steven s

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    I got 3 no front plate tickets when I lived there. $50 each.
    After the 3rd ticket I put on my front plate.
    Obviously, YMMV.
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    John in VA

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    @RBinDC - maybe you can have the BMW salesperson pay your ticket. Do an internet search - there are some stealthy brackets that mount in place of the tow hook that don't necessitate adding holes in the bumper cover.
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    BMRDRVR

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    Technically, I'm told, if your state issues two plates you are in a two-plate state. I got stopped for doing 83 in a 65 and the cop pointed out that I didn't have a front plate. I said there was no bracket. He went to his car and came back 10 minutes later with a pretty good bargain - he gave me a warning on the speeding violation (which is a moving violation) and ticketed me for no plate (the much less onerous mechanical violation). Mind you, it was $80-some bucks, but no points and no insurance reporting. But still, he couldn't just ignore it? It's a 4-year-old car!
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    steven s

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    In Maryland it is not a 'fix it' ticket. That is they do not dismiss the fine if you later comply.
    There is nothing technical about 2 plates. If the state issues 2 plates, the law is 2 plates.
    I used the bracket story too. I told the cop that the bumper was just repaired and I was waiting for the mount to come in from Germany. As soon as I registered my car in SC I reinstalled my front plate delete strip.

    That being said, our Mini did not have a front plate and we never got a ticket.

    rjmar55 guest

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    I live by the Colorado/New Mexico border, colorado is a 2 plate state so used to go over and steal the front plates and put it on my car so that the New Mexico Police wouldn't stop my car from speeding in New Mexico, too much hassle for them. does this count?
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    CRKrieger

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    To start with, if your plate issued two plates for your car, the second one isn't just a spare. You're required by law to put one on each end. That said, it's pretty rare for a cop to be in a nasty or petty enough mood to issue a citation for a missing front plate, but it happens. So the answer is no - not with impunity. You're taking a risk. If you're comfortable with that risk (I am), feel free.
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    bcweir

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    Technically the law is the law, but...

    ...it really all boils down to two things:

    a) How much of a nice guy or a jerk the cop is when he pulls you over

    and for that matter...

    b) How much of a nice guy or a jerk YOU are when he writes you up for that first ticket. Most cops can either write you up for one ticket, or "enhance" the stop with more. "Jerk" statements like "do you have any idea who I am/do you have any idea who I know" only serve as the perfect excuse for the cop to notice you're missing a front plate, and BINGO -- your day in court just got a whole lot more interesting -- and more expensive. You'd have to be a complete moron to try and play that game with a police officer (here's your sign), and yet some manage to make the news by trying it.

    Texas (where I live) is a two-plate state. Overall, they're pretty strict about it, but I do see a few cars (with Texas plates) that take their chances only running one in the rear and none up front. Might as well be a free trip to Vegas for those running one Texas plate. The rule of thumb here is that they look at the back tag to see which state plate it is. If it's from another state, they assume you're a transient or temporary visitor and ignore your car's lack of a front plate. But if your back tag is a Texas plate, they'd better see a front Texas plate too.

    Recently, a Texas appeals court struck down a lawsuit by a motorist who tried to get around the law by sticking the plate in his front windshield. The motorist claimed the placement meets the legal requirements of the plate being "in the front of the car," and didn't want to ruin the looks of his front bumper with a front plate.

    However, the judge clarified that the actual text of the law states that the front license plate must be mounted in the "forwardmost" part of the car. Thus, that would mandate placement on the front bumper, not the windshield, since the front bumper is further forward on cars than the windshield is.

    Like I suggested earlier, if you want to gamble with the law, you roll the dice and take your chances. Personally, I think if you're going to take chances with ONE law, you might be wise not to push your luck by testing more than one law at a time (via risky or attention-getting driving behavior).

    Or if you do get caught, try to resist the cute or manipulative remarks with the officer who pulls you over.

    That ought to be pretty cute and funny -- right until the police officer in either state runs the plate (purely their discretion, depending on how attention-getting your driving is, or how bored the officer is) and notices that the plate doesn't match the vehicle description. In some states, running a plate that's not registered to your vehicle is a felony. Tread very carefully with that trick -- better yet, cut your risk of a trip to jail by ending that behavior immediately. Generally speaking, jails don't offer internet or email access -- might put a crimp in your forum participation if you're behind bars. Just a thought.

    Nuf said.
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    granthr

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    You should move north by about 40 miles!!!! :D We here in Penna don't have such silly things as front plates. The only thing they are good for is a nice target for Mr. Smokey. (BTW, Delaware also doesn't have front plates)
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    BMRDRVR

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    By the way, as a follow-up to my post from yesterday, on this very day the dealership is installing the front bracket and plate on my car. It took them four tries to order the correct bracket. When I was ticketed in August I was informed that paying the fine would not settle the issue. The violation would be held in the state patrol database so that if I'm ever stopped for anything they'll have a record of the violation and whether I'm in compliance. Man, I love the track. No cops!
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    steven s

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    Yep. When I was stopped for the 3rd time the cop told me, you just don't learn, do you?
    I told him, I learned it now. It's getting a bit expense for the sake of vanity.

    ppannett guest

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    Just don't park on the street in DC, they love to ticket for that.
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    dms540i

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    Put it on and stop being such a diva.

    345861 guest

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    Na, leave it off until someone makes you put it on! It's only a fix-it ticket.
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    steven s

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    I believe DC will even ticket cars from MD and VA even though it's out of their jurisdiction.

    In Maryland it is not a fix-it ticket. Trust me on this one.
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    granthr

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    What are they trying to make up for their lack of representation?! :D
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    dms540i

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    Omg it's a license plate. One goes on the front, one goes on the back. Put it on and drive. Jeeeeeeepers!

    Michgndr89 guest

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    The plate color needs to be carefully considered when selecting car color. You wouldn't want to clash...

    I had my truck registered in Michigan (one plate state) when I was stationed in Texas. Like a lot of Michigan natives, I had a vintage non-matching 1965 plate on the front of my truck. Got a ticket from some jagoff Texas cop for it, even though I was in perfect compliance with the laws of the state in which the vehicle was registered. He said it was a "attempt to evade proper identification" or some BS like that, but I could display the same plate upside down if I wanted to WTF.

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