Crime Prevention Corner - Front license plates still required in Ohio

Ron Craig, Crime Prevention/Community Policing Officer

        There are numerous vehicles on the roadway that do not have license plates on the front. This is a violation of Ohio Revised Code section 4503.21.
        Some states do not require a front plate but having one can be a safety issue for law enforcement officers who may have to approach a vehicle from the front.
        Local deputy registrars for the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles are still issuing two license plates, one for the front and one for the back. They are being issued because they are still required.
        The state legislature passed a law earlier this year that says front license plates will not be required after July 1 of next year, but until then front plates are still required. Of course, motorcycles and vehicles with temporary tags are two exceptions.
        Meanwhile, a bill has been introduced in the state legislature that would repeal the upcoming change. If this bill is enacted, front license plates will still be required, even after July 1, 2020.
        Not displaying a front license plate is a “primary offense” in Ohio, which means a law enforcement officer has probable cause to effect a traffic stop on vehicles without front license plates. Officers who pull over vehicles in such cases may issue a warning to the driver, but there is no guarantee a citation will not be issued. It is up to the discretion of the officer.
        Drivers and vehicle owners are not excused from the law if they have purchased a vehicle that did not come with a bracket for a front plate. Those who have purchased such a vehicle should return to the dealership and request a front plate bracket, which should be provided and installed at no charge.
        If you are not the owner of a vehicle without a front license plate but are driving it, you will be the one that faces a possible citation. Like any other vehicle defect, the driver is responsible for making sure the vehicle is properly equipped.
        This article is a public service from the Crime Prevention Division of the Lake Township Police Department. Township residents may obtain further information on crime prevention and public safety topics by contacting Ron Craig, crime prevention specialist/community policing officer, at 419-481-6354.        


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