Grab a screwdriver to avoid $136 fine
By Linda Bentley | December 24, 2008
New license plate law goes into effect Jan. 1
ARIZONA – A new law, A.R.S 28-2354(B), goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2009 stating “a person shall maintain each license plate so it is clearly legible and so that the name of this state at the top of the license plate shall not be obscured.”
The law applies only to Arizona license plates and, according to “frequently asked questions” by the Arizona Department of Public Safety, making “Arizona” clearly visible provides several benefits, the most important of which “centers on citizens who witness a crime involving a motor vehicle or otherwise recognize a license plate from a broadcast for an Amber Alert or other Attempt to Locate will better able the witness to identify ‘Arizona’ and the characters on the plate.”
The fines for violating this new law vary throughout the state, ranging from $110 to $200, depending on the jurisdiction, with fines in the greater Metropolitan Phoenix area averaging about $136.
There is no grandfathering in of non-compliant license plate frames that were already in place before the new law went into effect, although, it is up to the law enforcement officer’s discretion whether to issue a warning or a citation.
A.R.S. 28-2354(B) is considered a “primary enforcement” law, which means any law enforcement officer can make a traffic stop based solely on a violation of that law.
Classified as a civil offense, violations of A.R.S. 28-2354(B) do not add points to one’s MVD record.
While the new law is touted as beneficial for Amber Alerts and easy identification by witnesses to crimes, it seems to coincide with the first round of speed camera citations.
When the cameras came online the state made it clear tickets would not be issued to out-of-state visitors.
Perhaps more than a few people got their speeding tickets dismissed because there was no way to prove a ticket was issued for a vehicle with an Arizona license plate.
It takes less than a minute with a Phillips head screwdriver to either remove a noncompliant frame altogether or replace it with one that is.