This is a reminder that Virginia law states that all information must be clearly visible on mounted license plates. License plate frames, such as those with dealership information, cannot obscure or cover any portion of the license plate.
Unfortunately, within the past few months, a number of legislators have reported being stopped by law enforcement because their license plate number appeared to be registered to a vehicle other than the one being driven. The direct cause of this situation was the license plate frame covered the “House of Delegates” or “Senate” label at the bottom of the plate, resulting in incorrect vehicle information being returned to the police officer upon inquiry.
This is just a recent example and it is important to understand that there are many different plate types that bear the same alpha/numeric plate number combination. The verbiage at the bottom of the plate is the primary factor in determining to which vehicle the plate is registered.
It is essential that plate frames provided by dealerships do not obscure any of the information contained on a license plate.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. For your convenience, VA Code §46.2-716 that governs the mounting of license plates, is printed below:
§ 46.2-716. How license plates fastened to vehicle; altering appearance of license plates.
B. No colored glass, colored plastic, bracket, holder, mounting, frame, or any other type of covering shall be placed, mounted, or installed on, around, or over any license plate if such glass, plastic, bracket, holder, mounting, frame, or other type of covering in any way alters or obscures (i) the alpha-numeric information, (ii) the color of the license plate, (iii) the name or abbreviated name of the state wherein the vehicle is registered, or (iv) any character or characters, decal, stamp, or other device indicating the month or year in which the vehicle’s registration expires. No insignia, emblems, or trailer hitches or couplings shall be mounted in such a way as to hide or obscure any portion of the license plate or render any portion of the license plate illegible.