In Arizona, it is illegal to cover or obscure a license plate with any substance, covering, electronic device, or Arizona film. This includes anything that would make it difficult to read or identify the numbers, characters, year validating tabs, or name of the issuing jurisdiction on the plate from any angle. The only exception is if the Department of Transportation has authorized a person.
In many other states across the United States, license plates may be covered for aesthetic reasons – such as using unique frames or covers decorated with team colors and logos – without fear of repercussion from law enforcement. However, in Arizona, this is not allowed (unless authorized by the Department), and doing so can result in a fine.
Law officers use car license plates to keep track of vehicles and their owners when they are stopped during traffic stops. In cases with more severe violations, such as drunk driving or hit-and-run incidents, license plate information can help officers quickly identify who was responsible for operating a vehicle. For these reasons and more, police officers consider any type of covering on a vehicle’s license plate suspicious and may act accordingly.
A vehicle owner who defaces an Arizona license plate could be charged with a misdemeanor, with court fines of at least $300.
Moreover, obscuring a license plate prevents citizens like yourself from accurately reporting suspicious vehicles in your area by providing relevant information such as registration number and state/province origin sticker. Without it, citizens cannot provide accurate descriptions that would assist officers in identifying possible perpetrators and suspects.
Suppose you’re interested in finding out more about what types of decor you can use on your vehicle without running afoul of Arizona laws. In that case, there are resources available online that will help guide your decision-making process. Additionally, it never hurts to ask an officer directly via email if you have questions about how certain items might be viewed legally by law enforcement before installing them onto your vehicle.
So while having unique decorations on your vehicle certainly adds a bit more personality than having plain plates (or none at all), if you live in the state of Arizona, then its best advised to steer clear of covering up or obscuring those significant digits if you don’t want to risk receiving fines or worse yet other legal repercussions associated with violating motor vehicle regulations.
Please read more about the attractive FP license plate in Illinois.