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State License Plate Laws

License Plate CoverLicense plate frames can be a fun and creative way to decorate or customize your vehicle and add that personal touch. If you're searching for a solution to those pesky red light and speed cameras, an anti-photo license plate cover could be exactly what you need. However, before you pick out a frame or cover, check the local statutes in your area. There may or may not be some restrictions, depending on the laws in your state.

It is especially important to be mindful of the laws and regulations in each individual state governing license plates when traveling, as they can vary greatly from one state to the next. A license plate frame or cover allowed in your state may be restricted or even illegal in another. If you commute between two states or plan to take a cross-country trip, what was perfectly legal or permitted in your state could get you into trouble once you cross the state line.

The chart below lists US laws, statutes and regulations regarding the use of license plate covers, frames and shields by state.

Note: The information contained in this chart was based on information provided by Cruiser Accessories in 2018 and is made available for general informational purposes only. Please refer to the proper authority in your state for the most current and complete laws and regulations regarding the use of license plate covers and frames.

License Plate Laws by State
State Plate Shields Plate Frames Visibility Comments
Alabama Yes Yes Must be visible
at all times
"Alabama" must be clearly visible at top of plate
Alaska Yes Yes Must be visible at all times
Arizona Yes Yes Must be clearly
legible and visible
"Arizona" must be clearly visible at top of plate
Arkansas Yes Yes Must be
clearly legible
Covers that make the license plate difficult to read
or reduces its reflective properties
are prohibited
California NO Yes Must be
clearly visible
Red light/speed camera license plate covers
are also prohibited
Colorado Clear only Yes Must be clearly visible Covers that shield or impair the reading
of a license plate by devices
are also prohibited
Connecticut Yes Yes Must be visible Covers cannot obscure or impair visibility
Delaware Clear only Yes Must be
clearly readable
Red light/speed camera license plate covers, shields, sprays, etc. are also prohibited
District of Columbia NO Yes clearly and distinct Identification tags must be clearly legible
Florida Yes Yes Must be visible
at all times
Red light/speed camera license plate covers, shields, sprays, etc. are prohibited
Georgia Clear only Yes Must be plainly visible Red light/speed camera license plate covers, shields, sprays, etc. are prohibited
Hawaii Yes Yes Must be visible
at all times
Plates must be unobscured at all times
Idaho Yes Yes Must be free of foreign materials
and visible at all times
Plates must be clearly visible and legible
Illinois NO Yes Must be clearly visible anti red light/speed camera license plate covers, shields, sprays, devices, etc. are prohibited
Indiana Yes Yes Must be clearly visible Plates must be free of foreign materials
Iowa Yes Yes Permit full view of numbers and letters Frames must permit full view of all numbers and letters on registration plate
Kansas NO Yes Must be clearly legible license plate covers, shields, sprays, etc. are prohibited
Kentucky Yes Yes Must be clearly visible Frames and covers must permit
full view of all numbers and letters
on plate
Louisiana Yes Yes Must be clearly visible Plates must be free of foreign materials
Maine Yes Yes Must be clearly visible Plates, letters and numbers must be clearly visible at all times
Maryland NO Yes Must be
clearly visible
No tinted, colored, painted, marked, clear or illuminated object designed to distort the characters on a license plate is allowed
Massachusetts NO Yes Must be
displayed conspicuously
license plate covers, shields, etc. are prohibited
Michigan Yes Yes Must be
clearly visible
Plates must be free of foreign materials
Minnesota NO Yes Must be
plainly visible
No clear or colorless material that affects plated visibility or reflectivity is allowed
Mississippi Yes Yes Must be clearly visible Plates, letters and numbers must not be covered by any object, marking, paint, etc.
Missouri Yes Yes Must be clearly visible Covers may not impair reflective qualities of plate
Montana Yes Yes Must be obviously visible "Montana" and border outline of state must be clearly visible
Nebraska Yes Yes Must be visible All letters, numbers, etc. on plates must be free from grease dust and other blurring matter
Nevada Yes Yes Readable from 100 ft. Plates must be clearly legible and free from foreign material
New Hampshire Yes Yes Displayed conspicuously Plates must be clean and not be obscured
New Jersey Yes Yes Displayed conspicuously sale or use of anti red light/speed camera license plate covers, shields, sprays, devices, etc. are prohibited
New Mexico Yes Yes Clearly visible Plates must be clearly legible and free from foreign material
New York NO Yes Must be visible sale or use of anti red light/speed camera license plate covers, shields, substances, etc. are prohibited
North Carolina Yes Yes Plainly readable from 100 ft. No clear or colorless material that affects plate visibility or legibility is allowed
North Dakota Yes Yes Clearly visible Plates must be clearly visible and letters and numbers must not be obscured
Ohio Yes Yes Clearly visible Plates must be not be covered by any material that obstructs visibility
Oklahoma NO NO Must be
clearly visible
No plate frame, cover or material is allowed
Oregon NO Yes Plain view
and easily read
Any frame or plate holder that alters the plate or makes the numbers, letters or regtistration stickers difficult to read or unreadable is prohibited
Pennsylvania NO Yes Must be visible
at all times
Red light/speed camera license plate covers, shields, sprays, etc. are prohibited
Puerto Rico Yes Yes Clearly visible Plates must be not be covered by any material that obstructs visibility
Rhode Island Yes Yes Clearly visible Plainly readable from 100 ft.
South Carolina No Yes Must be visible
at all times
No tinted covers allowed
South Dakota Yes Yes Clearly visible Plates must be clearly visible and letters and numbers must not be obscured
Tennessee No Yes Clearly visible No tinted covers allowed and plates must be clearly visible with no foreign materials
Texas Yes Yes No reflective matter or blurring of the plate and plates must be free of foreign material and clearly legible
Utah Yes Yes Clearly visible Plates must be free of foreign material and clearly visible
Vermont No Yes Plainly legible No tinted covers allowed and plates must be plainly legible at all times
Virginia Yes Yes Clearly visible
and legible
No colored frame or covers allowed and plates must be clearly visible and legible
Washington Yes Yes Must be visible
at all times
Unlawful to use frames or covers that change, alter or obscure any portion of the plate or make it illegible
West Virginia Yes Yes Clearly legible Plates must be free of foreign materials and clearly legible
Wisconsin Yes Yes Clearly legible Plates must be at all times be maintained in a legible condition
Wyoming Yes Yes Clearly legible Plates must be free of foreign materials and clearly legible

The information in the chart above is a basic overview and is provided courtesy of Cruiser Accessories. For the full chart, download their State License Plate Laws - 2018.

Comments, questions? Leave a comment below. If you're shopping for camera defense solutions or license plate frames and need assistance, contact us and we'll be happy to help!

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