There’s a new law in Arizona effective January 1, 2009 that makes it illegal (and expensive) to have a license plate frame that obscures the word “Arizona” on any Arizona license plate.
A.R.S 28”“2354 states (in part):
A person shall display all license plates as required by subsection A until their lawful use expires or is canceled or revoked. A person shall maintain each license plate so it is clearly legible and so that the name of this state at the top of the license plate is not obscured.
Take a stroll through any parking lot and note the number of cars sporting license plate frames that obscure the word “Arizona”. It’s a bunch, trust me. Most are the result of cheap license plate frames put on by car dealers for advertising. Some have sports teams, causes or associations. Whatever the purpose of the frame, come January 1, many of the existing frames in use will cost you.
Cost, as in $135 plus court fees. Court fees are dependent on the city where the violation is discovered ”” count on an additional $15 ”“$25 on top of the $135.
My understanding is that this is a “primary violation” meaning the cops can pull you over for this and only this reason. This isn’t some “add-on” you get nailed for if you’re caught speeding. After Jan 1, that cop behind you at a red light can turn on the flashing blues for no other reason than your license plate frame is a bit too wide.
I’m reading conflicting reports on what happens if “Arizona” is partially obscured. Most say it’s a violation if any part of Arizona is covered, some say it’s up to the discretion of the police.
For $150, I wouldn’t leave it up to the discretion of anyone. Best just to remove the frame all together.
This license plate frame is probably illegal.
This license plate frame is legal, albeit unattractive.
Why the change?
Arizona needs the money? Kidding. Maybe. Lawmakers are saying that with the 60+ different plates Arizona offers up, police and crime witnesses are having increasing difficulty identifying if a license plate is from Arizona.
The law was actually passed in 2006, but its activation was delayed until Jan 1, 2009 to give car dealers time to adapt.
I shall refrain from wondering why it would take 3 years to implement a change to cheesy advertising”¦
Out of state visitors need not fear a wallet fleecing. This statue only applies to Arizona license plates.
According to the Arizona Republic, half of the 26 vehicles in the Arizona Senate parking lot on Tuesday were sporting soon to be illegal license plate frames. In my short stroll around my neighborhood this afternoon, 8 out of 9 cars with plate frames would be in violation come January.
So get yourself a screwdriver and stroll around to the back of your car. Unless your license plate frame allows “Arizona” to be completely uncovered, I’d put that screwdriver to use.