Legality of license plate covers in NYS

HORSEHEADS, N.Y. (18 NEWS) - The model year end is very popular time of year to purchase a new car but state police warn you may want to double check the license plate when you get home. That's because the cover may not be in accordance with state laws.

"It's pretty common for dealerships to put their name or maybe a phone number on a bracket secured to your license plate," New York State Police Sgt. Rick Newell said. "Sometimes that bracket actually covers over part of the number which makes it illegal."

But a representative from Simmons Rockwell said the company specifically checked with local law enforcement agencies in both New York and Pennsylvania to ensure their brackets were compliant with the law. In fact, they said they even decreased the size of the lettering on the plate cover in order to ensure their legality. Williams and Ferrario are also mindful of blocking plate numbers.

However, Sgt. Newell with NYSP in Horseheads said any hindrance is a violation.

"It is illegal to obstruct in any way so I would recommend that you take that off," he said. "You just put the plate on your car without a bracket going around to prevent you from getting pulled over and being issued a ticket."

A ticket that, unlike others, can't be fixed and forgotten about.
  
"If you were to get charged with that you wouldn't be able to just take the bracket off go buy a police station or certified inspection garage and have them sign it you would actually have to plead by mail or go in person to the court and plead guilty or not guilty," Sgt. Newell said. "Then you would incur a fine based on what the judge deemed was fit for that traffic ticket."

So if you're worried about possibly incurring the added expense:
  
"Worth you taking the extra five minutes to get the brackets or anything you have obstructing your plate off, keeping your plate clean so you don't get that ticket," Sgt. Newell said.

Sgt. Newell said clear plastic covers are also illegal, that's because the sun could cause a glare, preventing officers from reading the plate.

If you do get a ticket for an illegal cover, it could cost you up to $200 in New York.


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