Can a Virginia Officer Stop You for Your License Plate Frame?
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Can a Virginia Officer Stop You for Your License Plate Frame?

October 22, 2019

Can you be pulled over in Virginia for having
a license plate frame? Yes. I am Andrew Flusche. I’m your Virginia traffic attorney. This is
a big issue that people need to be aware of with their vehicles is do you have a license
plate frame or cover or anything else that could arguably be obscuring your license plate
from easy reading? I see lots of cars going up and down the roadway that have license
plate frames or covers on them and that do arguably obscure the reading of the plate.
If your frame is just around the very edge of the plate, then it shouldn’t be a problem.
It’s not actually touching the words or the stickers or covering up anything of substance
on the plate. However, some frames have a really wide border
for better designs or lettering for your favorite team, and I appreciate the team spirit, but
you’ve got to be careful that your design on your plate doesn’t actually cover up the
lettering, so what a lot of people do is it covers up the Virginia at the top where it’s
hard to read. I’ve even seen license plate frames that cover up over half of the word
Virginia where unless you really know what that says, you cannot read it.
Those frames, I would argue, are for sure a problem, and even ones that really just
touch on the words or the letters I think are just asking for an officer to use that
as a reason to pull you over if they suspect you for something more serious like DUI or
marijuana. Typically, an officer’s probably not going to waste his time on a license plate
frame violation when he’s got better things to do, but if they think that there may be
some kind of foul play going on, and they really look for a reason to pull you over,
you don’t want to give it to them with a license plate frame or cover.
This is why I recommend don’t have them at all. That’s my personal opinion and philosophy,
but if you do have them, make sure that you’re very careful about how you use them, and if
you are pulled over for some type of license plate frame or cover or improperly mounted
plate, you definitely need to contact me so we can evaluate that together. If you were
stopped in Virginia for some other reason, check out other videos to see if we’ve covered
your stop, and if we haven’t, definitely give me a call, and we can talk about it together.

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