A North Carolina state law barring Raised License Plate Frames was recently enacted, but beginning December 1, violators will now be charged with a Class Two misdemeanor for obstruction of their legal right to use a license plate holder. House Bill 67 makes this offense a violation of the North Carolina Vehicle Code, which is enforced by the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles.
The bill was approved by the State House Transportation Committee and passed by the full House on August 12. It now awaits action in the Senate Transportation Committee. The bill makes it a Class Two misdemeanor for anyone to cover, obscure, deface or otherwise impede the visibility of any Raised License Plate Frames on a motor vehicle. If convicted, the violator faces up to six months in jail and a fine of as much as $500.
According to State law, a person may display license plates on an automobile only if they are not altered in any way. Raised License Plate Frames and other accessories on motor vehicles, however, have been designed to enhance the ability of the driver to view their plate when it is in use.
State law also prohibits the use of stickers or decals on Raised License Plate Frames. Instead, all license plates should have plain, black lettering, white background, and no typeface or other designations. A license plate frame is also prohibited, except in special cases where the framer has obtained permission from the Department of Motor Vehicles.
State law also requires that a license plate frame only be attached to a motor vehicle that is being operated on public streets and highways. License plate frames may not be attached to personal property or any type of personal vehicle.
In addition, license plates must be designed to appear clearly above the vehicle’s Raised License Plate Frames. For example, a plate frame that includes two letters, “AA”, is not permitted to be mounted on an automobile that is being operated on a highway in Raleigh.
Vehicle frames must be secured to a vehicle with the proper mounting hardware, including brackets, bolts, nuts, and other fasteners. When mounting the frame on the vehicle, the screws and bolts must be placed in an area that is clearly visible to the vehicle’s driver. Additionally, the frame must be securely fastened to the vehicle’s frame rails without the motor or steering column coming in contact with the frame or other components of the frame. Finally, the frame must be secured with a locking device that prevents access to the frame by a motorist.
If you are charged with obstruction of the Raised License Plate Frames in North Carolina, contact a Raleigh criminal defense attorney. A qualified attorney will be able to assess your situation and advise you of any defenses that may be available to you.
If you are stopped by a law enforcement officer because of the location of your vehicle frame, it may be wise to first call for a courtesy tow. You may be arrested for obstructing a highway, if your frame is located on a private road or street, rather than on a public highway, and the tow costs will not be taken into consideration by your insurance provider. A courtesy tow, however, can help you get your license plate frames back safely off of your car during the arrest process.
You may also be able to remove your Raised License Plate Frames while you are driving, without breaking the law. If you wish to do this, you will need to notify law enforcement first, so that you will not violate any other laws or cause further problems.
Another important factor to consider is that you should always ensure that your Raised License Plate Frames are properly secured to the vehicle. If you remove your license plate frames before you are arrested, it may be difficult to provide them to a court in the event of your arrest. If you are unable to do so, you may be required to pay a fine or face a criminal charge.
In addition, if you are asked to remove your License Plate Frames, it is important that you place them securely in a place that is not easily accessible to anyone else. Keep them in a locked drawer or lockable storage locker at the location of your choice, such as the trunk of your car, or in a cabinet that is not easily noticeable to others.