What Is License Plate Registration?
License plate registration refers to the process of obtaining and displaying license plates for motor vehicles. The registration process varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but typically involves applying for a new license plate or getting a replacement plate for a lost or stolen one.
A number of factors are considered when determining whether a vehicle can use a specific license plate, including the state in which it is registered and any statutory requirements for front or rear license plates. States with a mandatory front license plate may be particularly strict about this issue, and drivers who do not have a valid front license plate can face severe penalties.
Depending on the jurisdiction, license plates may be embossed or surface-printed. In some cases, a number of identifying features on the license plate are embossed; for example, Virginia’s passenger car plates are embossed with the name of the issuing jurisdiction and vehicle class.
The registration number is the most common feature printed on a license plate, but other identifying information can also be printed on them. For example, Hawaii’s county-based specialty plates are a popular option, with many of them commemorating unique events or features of the islands or their inhabitants.
Some states allow license plates to be reissued at regular intervals, while others allow them to be replaced only when they reach a certain age. In some instances, a reissued plate is a remake of the original; in other cases, it is a different design than the one currently on display.
Specialty plates are available for a fee in some jurisdictions, and these can be customized by the vehicle owner. These include plates promoting a sports team, school or non-profit organization.
These plates are often given as prizes for competitions, and can be used as a way to show support for a cause or charity. In addition, some license plate designs can be made to honor a particular person, for example, a deceased celebrity or athlete.
Examples of specialty license plates are the ‘Space Shuttle Challenger’ plate issued by Florida to honor the loss of astronauts onboard the space shuttle during its final flight, and the ‘University of Florida’ license plate, which celebrates the university’s founding and its contribution to the state.
The ‘Space Shuttle Columbia’ plate was introduced in 2004 to mark the shuttle’s 50th anniversary and is still one of Florida’s most popular specialty plates, while the ‘Florida Panther’ plate is the state’s second-most-popular plate and honors the critically endangered species.
Vanity plates are available in most jurisdictions, and these usually cost more than standard plates. They can be custom designed to reflect a person’s personal or professional interests, and a portion of the fee goes towards a charitable organization that benefits from the sale of these license plates.
If a license plate is lost or stolen, the vehicle owner must file a theft report with their local police department before they can get a replacement plate. The replacement plate must then be applied for in the same manner as an application for a new license plate.