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Registration Plates Regulations

    Registration Plates

    • Registration plates are plastic or metal plates that are attached to automobiles, motorcycles, trailers, or other vehicles. They display a registered number that allows authorities to locate the owner of the vehicle for various reasons. The registration number listed on the plate is stored in a database, along with all other personal information that the owner of the vehicle used when applying for the plate.

    Temporary Registration Plates

    • Anyone who purchases a vehicle, whether new or used, must apply for a registration plate, and it can take several weeks to receive your plates. In the meantime, you are required by law to place a temporary registration tag, made of cardboard or paper, on your vehicle. Most car dealerships are authorized to give you this tag, or you may obtain one from your local Department of Motor Vehicles or Department of Tags and Registration. Once you have your official registration plate, you can remove your temporary plate.

    Moving Out of State

    • If you move from one state to another, the law requires you to switch your registration to the state you are moving to. For example, if you move to Georgia, you are required to transfer your license and your registration to Georgia after being in the state for thirty days. Not doing so is illegal, and you could receive a summons to court, be ordered to pay a fine, or both.

    Where Registration Plates Must Be Placed

    • Each state requires that a vehicle, auto, motorcycle, or trailer have a registration plate if it is being operated on the roads. Each type of vehicle has a place for displaying the registration plate in the front or rear of the vehicle. It is always necessary to have the registration plate displayed in the rear, and some states, like Ohio and California, require that a plate be displayed in both the front and the rear of the vehicle.

    Personalized Registration Plates

    • Many people do not want the standard letters and numbers on registration plates. If you are one of them, you may order personalized registration plates for a higher fee. You can put personalized numbers, names, or letters as long as they are not registered to another vehicle. The registration must document all cars separately. It is illegal to put any type of sexual or derogatory message on your registration plate.

    Registration Plates for Multiple Vehicles

    • If you have more than one vehicle and the registration plate on one vehicle expires, you may think it is okay to use the plate from one car for the other. This is illegal. If your registration plate expires, you must renew it if you plan on driving that vehicle. It is legal to transfer the registration plate to another car as long as this is done by the state department responsible for issuing plates, which will transfer all the necessary personal and vehicle information.

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