California Front License Plate Requirements

Overview of Front License Plate Law

In California, the law requires most vehicles to display front and rear license plates. This mandate applies to passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, and motorcycles. The front license plate must be securely mounted to the front bumper and clearly visible.

Who Must Comply?

All registered vehicles in California, with the exception of certain commercial vehicles that may have different requirements. This includes cars, trucks, vans, and motorcycles. Vehicles registered in another state but operated in California must also comply with this requirement.

Installation and Visibility

The front license plate should be mounted at the front of the vehicle, at a height of at least 12 inches from the ground. It must be securely fastened to prevent swinging and must be positioned to be clearly visible and legible.

  • The plate must not be obstructed by any part of the vehicle or by dirt.
  • License plate frames should not cover the state name or registration stickers.
  • Plates must be maintained in a condition that is clearly legible.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

Failure to display a front license plate in California can result in a fine. Law enforcement may issue a fix-it ticket, requiring proof of correction and payment of a dismissal fee. Continuous non-compliance could lead to higher fines and additional penalties.

Understanding and adhering to the front license plate requirements is crucial for all California vehicle owners and operators. It ensures compliance with state laws, aiding in vehicle identification and law enforcement efforts. For any questions or concerns regarding license plate installation, consult the California DMV or a licensed vehicle dealer.