Can San Diego Police stop someone for no front license plate on the car?
The quick answer is more than likely yes. It can and has been the reason officers pull people over to obtain a San Diego DUI investigation. If the officer has a valid reason to pull you over they can now begin a DUI investigation. Every officer assigned to particular parts of town is looking for it (especially in Encinitas, Carlsbad, Pacific Beach, or the Gaslamp District). There are officers in Saturation patrols, which is assigned for nothing more than looking for DUI investigations. They get to conduct a San Diego DUI investigation once they have a valid reason to pull you over. No Front License plate is a standard reason to pull people over to conduct a San Diego DUI Investigation.
Half of the US allows for only the rear license plate. California is not one of those states. When I was a prosecutor I went on a ride along and the officer ticketed someone while the car was in the driveway of a house.
Vehicle Code 5200 spells it clearly.
5200. (a) When two license plates are issued by the department for use upon a vehicle, they shall be attached to the vehicle for which they were issued, one in the front and the other in the rear.
If you get cited for it the penalty is usually a fix it ticket. There is a few defenses. The judge basically told him that it was his responsibility to know the law, not the DMV’s responsibility to inform him. If new to the state you have 20 days to re-register your vehicle and obtain California plates If a car still has the factory sticker on the windshield, and no license plates in the front/back. That can and has been a viable defense. However, this does not mean the stop is illegal.
Because it is legal in so many states people do not know the law. Furthermore, many dealerships display their vehicles without the front plates to fully show off the front of the vehicle. When people drive the vehicle off the lot they want that same cool look. What they do not realize this is just setting them up for possible police lights behind you and a possible San Diego DUI investigation.
The positive note in all of this is this violation does not help prosecution determine this person is impaired for a San diego DUI. This is not swerving or blowing a stop sign. This fact can be the start in establishing someone is not impaired and not San Diego DUI. It also can show the officers desire to arrest. If you get stopped for a violation that leads to arrest it is vital you speak to an attorney so you can ensure your rights are protected. Have a great day.
Positioning of Plates
5201. License plates shall at all times be securely fastened to the vehicle for which they are issued so as to prevent the plates from swinging, shall be mounted in a position so as to be clearly visible, and shall be maintained in a condition so as to be clearly legible. The rear license plate shall be mounted not less than 12 inches nor more than 60 inches from the ground, and the front license plate shall be mounted not more than 60 inches from the ground…
V C SECTION 11713.17 FRONT LICENSE PLATE BRACKET
Front License Plate Bracket
11713.17. (a) Following the retail sale or lease of a motor vehicle for which the department issues two license plates, a dealer may not deliver the motor vehicle unless either of the following occurs:
(1) The motor vehicle is equipped with a bracket or other means of securing a front license plate.
(2) The dealer obtains a signed written acknowledgment from the person taking delivery of the motor vehicle acknowledging both of the following:
(A) The person expressly refused installation of a bracket or other means of securing the front license plate.
(B) The person understands that California law requires a license plate to be displayed from and securely fastened to the front of the motor vehicle and that the hardware necessary to securely fasten the front plate is available from the dealer.
(b) A manufacturer or distributor may not sell or distribute in this state a new motor vehicle for which the department issues two license plates, unless that motor vehicle is equipped or provided with a bracket or other means of securing the license plates.
V C SECTION 5201 POSITIONING OF PLATES
Positioning of Plates
5201. (a) License plates shall at all times be securely fastened to the vehicle for which they are issued so as to prevent the plates from swinging, shall be mounted in a position so as to be clearly visible, and so that the characters are upright and display from left to right, and shall be maintained in a condition so as to be clearly legible. The rear license plate shall be mounted not less than 12 inches nor more than 60 inches from the ground, and the front license plate shall be mounted not more than 60 inches from the ground, except as follows:
(1) The rear license plate on a tow truck or repossessor’s tow vehicle may be mounted on the left-hand side of the mast assembly at the rear of the cab of the vehicle, not less than 12 inches nor more than 90 inches from the ground.
(2) The rear license plate on a tank vehicle hauling hazardous waste, as defined in Section 25117 of the Health and Safety Code, or asphalt material may be mounted not less than 12 inches nor more than 90 inches from the ground.
(3) The rear license plate on a truck tractor may be mounted at the rear of the cab of the vehicle, but not less than 12 inches nor more than 90 inches from the ground.
(4) The rear license plate of a vehicle designed by the manufacturer for the collection and transportation of garbage, rubbish, or refuse that is used regularly for the collection and transportation of that material by a person or governmental entity employed to collect, transport, and dispose of garbage, rubbish, or refuse may be mounted not less than 12 inches nor more than 90 inches from the ground.
(5) The rear license plate on a two-axle livestock trailer may be mounted 12 inches or more, but not more than 90 inches, from the ground.
(6) (A) The rear license plate on a dump bed motortruck equipped with a trailing, load bearing swing axle shall be mounted more than 12 inches, but not more than 107 inches, from the ground.
(B) As used in this section, a trailing, load bearing swing axle is an axle which can be moved from a raised position to a position behind the vehicle that allows for the transfer of a portion of the weight of the vehicle and load to the trailing axle.
(b) A covering shall not be used on license plates except as follows:
(1) The installation of a cover over a lawfully parked vehicle to protect it from the weather and the elements does not constitute a violation of this subdivision. A peace officer or other regularly salaried employee of a public agency designated to enforce laws, including local ordinances, relating to the parking of vehicles may temporarily remove so much of the cover as is necessary to inspect any license plate, tab, or indicia of registration on a vehicle.
(2) The installation of a license plate security cover is not a violation of this subdivision if the device does not obstruct or impair the recognition of the license plate information, including, but not limited to, the issuing state, license plate number, and registration tabs, and the cover is limited to the area directly over the top of the registration tabs. No portion of a license plate security cover shall rest over the license plate number.
© A casing, shield, frame, border, product, or other device that obstructs or impairs the reading or recognition of a license plate by an electronic device operated by state or local law enforcement, an electronic device operated in connection with a toll road, high-occupancy toll lane, toll bridge, or other toll facility, or a remote emission sensing device, as specified in Sections 44081 and 44081.6 of the Health and Safety Code, shall not be installed on, or affixed to, a vehicle.
(d) (1) It is the intent of the Legislature that an accommodation be made to persons with disabilities and to those persons who regularly transport persons with disabilities, to allow the removal and relocation of wheelchair lifts and wheelchair carriers without the necessity of removing and reattaching the vehicle’s rear license plate. Therefore, it is not a violation of this section if the reading or recognition of a rear license plate is obstructed or impaired by a wheelchair lift or wheelchair carrier and all of the following requirements are met:
(A) The owner of the vehicle has been issued a special identification license plate pursuant to Section 5007, or the person using the wheelchair that is carried on the vehicle has been issued a distinguishing placard under Section 22511.55.
(B) (i) The operator of the vehicle displays a decal, designed and issued by the department, that contains the license plate number assigned to the vehicle transporting the wheelchair.
(ii) The decal is displayed on the rear window of the vehicle, in a location determined by the department, in consultation with the Department of the California Highway Patrol, so as to be clearly visible to law enforcement.
(2) Notwithstanding any other law, if a decal is displayed pursuant to this subdivision, the requirements of this code that require the illumination of the license plate and the license plate number do not apply.
(3) The department shall adopt regulations governing the procedures for accepting and approving applications for decals, and issuing decals, authorized by this subdivision.
(4) This subdivision does not apply to a front license plate.
Hire a Proactive, affordable, and quality defense when you are facing San Diego DUI charges. Whether you have been charged of a San Diego DUI, Poway DUI, La Mesa DUI, Santee DUI, Mission Valley DUI, Clairemont DUI, Point Loma DUI, La Jolla DUI, Carmel Valley DUI, Mira Mesa DUI, Pacific Beach DUI, Del Mar DUI, Carmel Valley DUI, Encinitas DUI, Oceanside DUI, Ocean Beach DUI, Escondido DUI, Vista DUI, San Marcos DUI, Carlsbad DUI, El Cajon DUI it is vital you need to hire an attorney who knows how to defend your rights and can determine if the government can prove their case. Contact the Law Office of Mark Deniz now for a free case evaluation at 858-751-4384 or send an email to [email protected].