Front license plate in California

Front license plate in California

There are no screws in the front for license plate. I observed many Tesla owners (including other models) don't bother to put the front one on.

Is that legal at California? What's your take? Thank you!

JAMESLHARWOOD | 5 décembre 2018

This is probley like the 100th time this question has come up.

It is not legal for you to drive without a front licenses plate in California.

It is perfectly legal for Tesla to not drill holes in your front bumper.

Telsa does provide you with the bracket and it doesn't require holes in the bumper. It is your choice if you want to install their bracket, a 3rd party bracket or to ride around dirty.

Kevin.Tesla | 5 décembre 2018

Thank you!

I wish there is a search function there, but I didn't find one yet. :-)

CharleyBC | 5 décembre 2018

@Kevin.Tesla, the forum has no search function. It's a very low-tech forum for such a high-tech company. But you can search using this syntax: front plate

Obviously, replace "front plate" with whatever strikes your fancy. Also search for your own user name if you're trying to find some post that's no longer conveniently near the top.

Rbnaidu | 5 décembre 2018

As mentioned by JAMESLHARWOOD model 3 does come with front plate bracket that has a double sided tape on it. Sticks well to the bumper. No holes needed.

Resist | 5 décembre 2018

Yes, California requires a front plate however, I have never put one on any Corvette I've owned and won't on the Model 3, it ruins the lines of the car. Only a fix a ticket here anyway. Besides, I can drive barely a minute in any direction and pass a dozen vehicles in my area that don't have front plates.

billstanton | 5 décembre 2018

I finally surrendered to being legal (CA), mounted it in front of the grilly thing below the built in bug catcher. Blocks the air flow to the battery a little but I suppose the air just scoots to the left or right then into the grilly thing when it is open. Anyway, used drywall bolts with butterfly nut that opens inside the grill (a.k.a. grilly thing) to tighten it up. Easily removable, no holes, no sticky tape. 6/32 thread, 1/4" shaft, 4 1/4 or 4 1/2 inch long.

sroh | 5 décembre 2018

I agree with @Resist. Front license plate ruins the lines of the car.

These work great. I think it's pretty much what @billstanton described,

Takes 3 minutes to install, 1 minute to remove. $4 at any hardware store. I install when driving into SF or when I expect to park at meters (meter maids in the bay area are aggressive with front license plate fix-it tickets).

CASEMAN | 6 décembre 2018

I've had my car since June 1. I'm not planning to install my license plate anytime soon. I figured cops will think my car is new and not pull me over for no front plate. They've gotten more aggressive in enforcement in the central valley.

rxlawdude | 6 décembre 2018

After January 1, 2019 all California vehicles must display a permanent or TEMPORARY licence plate. The little windshield document used up till now will not cut it.

But in order for all the vehicles issued the windshield document in late 2018, I'd expect stepped-up enforcement sometime in late March/early April. At that point, there is no legal way to drive a vehicle without a license plate (permanent or temporary).

slingshot18 | 6 décembre 2018

@rxlawdude What is changing in Jan 1, 2019? I thought the law already requires a front plate. I haven't had one in California for 18 years, no tickets yet...

rxlawdude | 6 décembre 2018

@slingshot, front plates have always been required.

The new law is that any new registration (new or used vehicle) for a vehicle without existing plates will be issued a temporary license plate (made of paper). Obviously, this will only be a rear plate.

So after Jan 1, the only legal way not to display both front and back plates is if you have a temporary license plate on the back of the vehicle.

Uncle Paul | 6 décembre 2018

More freeways are using photo radar that takes a picure of the car/driver and front plate to issue citations. Cop once told me that they used to let it slide, but that they were recently being told to enforce the long standing law.

Same issue with driving in car pool lanes. They are adding photo enforcement to rid the overcrowded HOV lanes of free loaders.

Revelate | 6 décembre 2018

I was sort of two minds about applying the front license plate in California or not.

Then I drove to a client site today (with my temporary tag) and quite literally, there were hundreds of patrol vehicles that I had to drive past given it's right next door to the county Sheriff's department.

Needless to say my mind got made up in a hurry.

cnistal1 | 6 décembre 2018

Just recently got a ticket (while parked) for no front license plate. I've never been issued a ticket anywhere in California for no front plate. My service advisor told me they are getting very aggressive in Santa Monica and Beverly Hills. Mine was issued in Beverly Hills while parked at a meter. Just a heads up to those visiting or living in those areas.

Flanmansd | 6 décembre 2018

@cnistal1 - was it a fix-it ticket or $$$ ticket???

JustSaying | 6 décembre 2018

"I'm not planning to install my license plate ….. I figured cops will think my car is new and not pull me over for no front plate."

Yep, here in SOCAL We always leave the temp reservation sticker on the front car windshield.

cnistal1 | 6 décembre 2018

It was a $25 ticket. And yes, there was money in the meter.

billlake2000 | 6 décembre 2018

Fixit tickets used to be free, but any more they actually cost ya money.

sroh | 6 décembre 2018

Meter maids in cities in CA are getting more and more aggressive giving fix-it tickets for missing front plates. Park on the street in SF with no plate, and you will most likely get a ticket. Whenever I plan on driving to SF or parking at a meter in San Jose, I will temporarily install my front plate.

rsingh05 | 6 décembre 2018

Most cities don't care if you have them, but some like San Francisco and Palo Alto will enforce sometimes.

They now cost $ 10 fee + $ 10 to pay a peace officer to sign. So not free but much less than $ 129 or whatever the ticket says.

I might get the plates that don't require no holes/no sticker. Search here or M3OC for recommendations.

rxlawdude | 6 décembre 2018

I've got a neighbor who moved in almost two years ago. Both of his cars (high end) have the dealer's signs in place of the license plate, and the "temporary" registration on the right side of the cars' windshields.

One thing I've noticed that's odd is that neither car has a transponder for the nearby toll roads, which are pretty much de riguere in OC. None of my business, but I'm sure he's saved hundreds of dollars on tolls.

His free rides are soon coming to an end. I hope he knows about the new law. ;-)

Justaguy | 7 décembre 2018

I never understood how the front plate "ruins" the look of the car. I am not that fashion conscious so maybe that is why. The front plate is easy to install and in my opinion does not hurt the look of the car. It is a car after all.

billstanton | 7 décembre 2018

Justaguy: OMG get off these forums now!

I was at a supercharger and a guy wanted to talk to me about road rash. Having surrendered some time ago, I shrugged and politely responded that it was a great retirement adventure car but still was just a car. Got a smirk from his wife.

It's all good either way. Well, except those cheating on tolls, when they approach the gates of heaven they will be turned away at the toll gate.

tesla | 7 décembre 2018

Not putting on a front plate is just an invitation for the cops to pull you over and question you if they are bored. Suppose you'd had one glass of wine and the cop smells it. All of a sudden you are an a DUI debate with him and that isn't fun, even if you are well below the legal limit. Think it can't happen? It happened to me. I was stupid enough to submit to his 'sobriety tests' (which are completely fake- they are just looking for more evidence) before I finally clammed up and they took me downtown for a breathalyzer test. I blew 0.02, but I had to pay like $2k in towing and uber. No apologies forthcoming from the police and I didn't have the patience to sue them.

rxlawdude | 7 décembre 2018

@billstanton, but what about those cheating on trolls? Trolls don't like people messing with troll spouses.

Oh, wait. Tolls. Never mind.

Resist | 7 décembre 2018

@Justaguy, Well I think it does ruin the look because car manufactures don't design in a place for the plate. For example, the C4 and C5 Corvette body styles had a designed in specific place for the front plate, so it looked okay. But then the C6 had nothing, and it had a big intake in the grill so when a front plate was installed there it made the front of the car look like Bugs Bunny mouth, just terrible.

But if California is now going to make us pay a fine for not having a front plate, I'm going to have to think about how I want to go about installing it. I don't want that Bugs Bunny look and I don't want holes drilled or permanent tape stuck to it either. And clearly a front plate effects the aerodynamics, if it didn't then Tesla would have wind tunnel tested it with a plate on.

rxlawdude | 7 décembre 2018

Well, Resist you'll just have to live with tickets or "Bugs Bunny."


Resist | 7 décembre 2018

Grrr.....Serenity now

rxlawdude | 7 décembre 2018


MichaelB00012 | 7 décembre 2018

@Tesla - don't waste your time with a field sobriety test, that's not any good if you go to court. The one time I got pulled over I was the sober driver for 4 people that had too much, and one spilled beer all over himself. I got the fun treatment because the cop, with a cold, could smell the beer. Failed the sobriety test because I'm not a fan of cops, blew a 0.00 next to the car.

Don't your cops carry breathalyzers with them? That's ridiculous that you had to have your car towed without any proof you weren't sober enough to drive it, and thus had broken no laws preventing you from driving it.

rxlawdude | 7 décembre 2018

If you refuse a breath, blood or urine screen, you automatically lose your license in California.

And with legal weed now, anyone blowing a 0.00 on the breathalizer may still find themselves taken to the station or nearest hospital for a blood draw.

Stay sober, folks! At least while driving.

tesla | 7 décembre 2018

@Michael and @RxLaw: so what happened is this. I did the field sobriety thinking "When it's obvious I'm sober they'll let me go". Then it became clear the cop had it in for me - I remember he asked me to count to sixty with me head turned up. I counted to exactly sixty seconds - I figured I got it perfect. He said "You're drunk!" I said, "what? I counted to exactly 60 seconds!" He said, you bobbed your head with each second, and only drunk people do that.

So at that point, I remembered that if you are pulled over you don't have to submit to anything - not sobriety tests, and yes NOT the road side breathalyzer test. So at that point, I simply refused to say another word. I have a job where a DUI would be absolutely catastrophic to my employment, so at that point I was worried whether after one glass of wine whether in fact I *was* drunk! (I wasn't.) He said, "OK we're going to take you downtown for a breathalyzer test then" - and that's the one you DO have to submit to. So yes, that's why the towed the car and took me downtown. I'd point out that while I was handcuffed in the police car, they were betting exactly how much over the limit I was going to be. When I blew the 0.02, the cop's partner said to him, "you're going to be in trouble tomorrow....".

Anyway, in CA if I ever get pulled over, in the future I will offer my license and registration and not answer any other questions. I will also not submit to any roadside breathalyzer. If they want to take me for the real test it's their prerogative, but I'm inclined to give them less cause to do that.

javawolfpack | 29 mai 2019

Just an FYI:

Seems to be legal in CA as an alternative.

JAD | 29 mai 2019

Interesting, but not sure I like the look of the sticker either....

Syed.Hosain | 29 mai 2019

Interesting! I think that the License Plate Wrap product does look better than the plate hanging out front.

However, I scraped my bumper (argh!) and need to get it painted/replaced, so will get that done first, I think.

Although I should ask first: does anyone know if the License Plate Wrap be removed and put on a new bumper?

Thanks for the info, javawolfpack!

VC | 29 mai 2019

I currently have license plate wrap on my Model 3 and love it. I also have license plate bracket from (you don't have to drill holes to your bumper).

tbd2001_01 | 29 mai 2019

50.00 for a wrap. Way too much. Good idea. Bit. You can probably get it printed on vinyl

tbd2001_01 | 29 mai 2019

50.00 for a wrap. Way too much. Good idea. Bit. You can probably get it printed on vinyl

msm.socal | 29 mai 2019

I bought the one from license plate wrap but I'm not putting it directly on the car, I stuck it to a piece of vinyl film first in case I need to remove it. (same with the HOV stickers).

jin7991 | 12 novembre 2019

I got a ticket today because I only have one license plate in the back. Police said "you must have license plate in the front too". The violation code is VC 5200 (a). Here is the code:
(a) When two license plates are issued by the department for use upon a vehicle, they shall be attached to the vehicle for which they were issued, one in the front and the other in the rear.

(b) When only one license plate is issued for use upon a vehicle, it shall be attached to the rear thereof, unless the license plate is issued for use upon a truck tractor, in which case the license plate shall be displayed in accordance with Section 4850.5.

The problem is that I only received one license plate from DMV.

California85D | 12 novembre 2019

I thought I had only received one license plate from the California DMC once. Then I took it off and looked closely and there were actually two stuck together really tightly so I had thought it was only one.

ronjolley | 12 novembre 2019

@California85D. - me too!

my S is a P85 with HW1.
Wife's 3 is a 2017 lr rwd

Stuck so tight that it took me a minute to realize such.

Scrannel | 13 novembre 2019

I put on one of those plate devices that can be removed (some day) and requires no drilling. Don't need the hassle. Malibu.

Tuning In | 13 novembre 2019

With all of those cars with illegal tint, trucks with aftermarket blinding led lights in the front, cars with no license plates in the back, etc, they chose to pull you over for not having a front plate? Sounds like they were looking for probable cause or was it was an add on ticket for a traffic violation?

Scrannel | 13 novembre 2019

Usually you get nailed for one of these if you are pulled over for a general infraction OR if a municipality decides to target a specific act. Was pulled over in an E-Type in So. Ca for speeding and cop offered that I didn't have a front plate. But, didn't bust me on it. (When a kid, in the '60's, I was pulled over on the Northway because the cop wanted to check out my Jag Mk I. Then he sold me some great pot! Different times!)