Home Tips & Tricks States That Don’t Require Front License Plates: All You Need To Know

States That Don’t Require Front License Plates: All You Need To Know

by Taufiq Haque
Front License Plates

Every person who owns a car needs to know about the laws and regulations on license plates in their state. You might believe that all the states in America have one law when it comes to this issue, but it’s pretty different. Many states don’t require front license plates, but other states do. In this article, find out everything there is to know about state-specific license plates and their usage and penalties.

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How Many States Don’t Require Front License Plates?

There are a total of 50 states in the USA. But not all these states have a unified license plate law. Among them, there are just 19 of the fifty states that don’t require front license plates on cars.

These states are in the country’s southeastern part, with a few exceptions. The other 31 states frequently cite law authorities as their justification for requiring both plates.

A total of 30 states, including the capital, Washington D.C., also mandate a front plate number. Thus, the many Eastern States and all West states need front license tags.

Except for Texas and Hawaii, most of the territories are on the northern side of the nation. However, only regions like Texas and Ohio don’t share a boundary with a territory with the equal plate rule.

Which Are The States That Don’t Require Front License Plates?

The license plate regulations vary with each state. However, most of these states are in the same part of the country, and it is essential to know the exact states that do not require you to have a front plate license. These states only need you to have a license plate on the back of your car.

States That Don't Require Front License Plates

The list of states where you can roam free without front plate licenses are:

    • Alabama
    • Alaska
    • Arizona
    • Arkansas
    • Delaware
    • Florida
    • Georgia
    • Indiana
    • Kansas
    • Kentucky
    • Louisiana
    • Michigan
    • Mississippi
    • New Mexico
    • North Carolina
    • Ohio
    • Oklahoma
    • Pennsylvania
    • South Carolina
    • Tennessee
    • West Virginia

Why Do Some States Require Front License Plates?

According to advocates for the slab, the front license plate helps with toll collection, public security, and criminal capture. In other words, putting a number plate on the face of a car can aid in preventing crimes.


Firstly, the front plate’s mirrored qualities can make the automobile more visible to other vehicles on the highway. And they provide some road direction for those who forget to switch on their beams when driving at night. Thus,  concerning accident prevention, front plates play a crucial role.


Front plates’ analysts argue that they increase public safety. Suppose a thief is operating a car with only a rear plate number and is conscious that there are surveillance cameras close to the property. Thus, they may tactically park or drive the vehicle so police officers cannot see the number plate. The same applies to hit-and-runs as well as other transport mishaps.

Furthermore, as per the authorities, two license plates often make it simpler to locate stolen vehicles. The police use license plate identification (LPR) devices to detect stolen vehicles. And to identify vehicles driven by owners with existing warrants or offenses. The cops use this equipment to take rapid-fire photos of passing automobiles.

The LPR recognizes the license plate numbers and compares them to a hotlist. LPR systems can go through ten thousand discs in around eight hours. However, this number decreases by 50% if the LPR can only operate with a back plate. The requirement for crime victims or witnesses to read a car’s license plate digits is an additional circumstance. Thus, the front license plate plays a crucial role when it comes to catching criminals.

It can be challenging to scan the license plates and give the police the crucial details if the car is speeding away from a felony or mishap scene. Furthermore, it is more challenging for the police and bystanders to accurately detect the number of the offending car. Especially under stressful circumstances, when drivers use just one plate.

Why Is There a Dislike Towards Front License Plates?

Considering all the benefits of using a front license plate, you might wonder why there is a dislike for it.

Design Flaw

Undoubtedly, many drivers in jurisdictions that need front license plates don’t even think about it. But owners of high-end premium vehicles, antique cars, and supercars sometimes protest the front band regulation. It is due to it taking the focus away from the aesthetics of their rides.

This issue is due, in part, to the fact that certain cars were never compatible to accommodate a front license plate. Classic cars are the best example. However, this also applies to exotic imported vehicles. Designers work for automakers to turn ideas into actual cars. Furthermore, some auto enthusiasts see automobiles as art pieces. Thus, they believe front plates are an affront to this aesthetic.

Moreover, front license plates on certain sports vehicles can affect the car’s performance. A front-mounted compressor on a few turbocharged cars allows the best possible cold air extraction to pass right into the turbocharger system. Attaching a front license plate to the front fender reduces the cold air coming into the engine. As a result, limiting their performance.

Safety Issues

Automobile technology has developed significantly throughout the years, focusing on the safety of passengers and drivers. Some high-end vehicles include 360-degree cameras that communicate with satellite systems to give you a real-time image of your car and its surroundings. But a front license plate might disable contemporary automobiles’ basic safety measures, which aren’t only for premium cars.

Intelligent traffic control, lane keeping, and automated braking are a few of the technologies that front plates interfere with. Misguided information renders the sophisticated safety standards worthless since the sensors employed in these systems depend on precise route observations, which the car’s electronics can misread because of a front license plate.

Many companies continue to produce automobiles without enough space for a front license plate, suggesting that the industry has seemingly ignored this problem. Some vehicles have higher detectors, which allows for a front license plate while not interfering with the security features.

How Can You Mount Your Front License Plate?

Mounting a license plate on your car can be tricky, especially if you have never done it before. The solution to this issue depends on whether your vehicle already has a front plate mount, or perhaps even if you mind piercing through the front bumper and risking damage to it.

There are many ways to mount your front license plate to your car. We have decided it into two categories. One is a more professional approach, and the other is somewhat easier.

The Professional Way

Here are step-by-step directions: installing a few holes over your front plate will not upset you if you feel confident in your ability to attach a front bracket.

You would need a screw, a 1/8 inch molding machine, a wrench, a scale, your license plate, and the number plate holder. Additionally, you can use adhesive or a felt-tip pencil in place of these items. You don’t need a frame if you decide to mount the license plate straight to the vehicle.

Once you’ve gathered your materials, find the middle of your bumper by measuring its length, then label it with a felt-tip pencil or a strip of tape.

After that, position your bracket above the line you just drew. Once it is aligned, use your pen to make a trace within the bracket’s openings. Based on the amount you bought, there may be two or four openings.

After doing this, set your brackets away and check the designated pilot holes’ level with a level. Continue the same steps, substituting the holes on the license for drilled holes.

When you are confident with your calculations, use a 1/8-inch power drill to create holes in the indicator holes you made. Maintain a 90 ° angle while drilling, and leave the drilled holes shallow.

After completing the difficult phase, grab your brackets and align them with the gap you just created. Next, using your screwdriver, rotate the screws counterclockwise. Use the leftover screws to mount the license plate after your frame is in place.

If these steps seem too complicated for you, don’t worry about it. Furthermore, if you don’t consider yourself skilled enough to go through these steps, you might ask your dealer or locate a nearby technician to check if they can help.

The Easier Way

There are other more straightforward choices if you want to keep the structure of your front fender or if you are not skilled with hand tools. There are alternate front license plate brackets for several brands and models. Some permit owners to fasten the mount to the front or in additional slots on the valance rather than cutting into the fender. Such as:

  1. Using a mounting bracket with strong adhesive: A fastening bracket with a powerful bond is used to attach to the front bumper firmly. Please be aware that not all installation brackets are compatible and that these are not official license plates. Therefore, before making a purchase, be careful to study websites and with your nearest auto shop.
  2. Using a tow bracket: The tow hitch anchor, often found on the right or left part of the front fender, is where the mount bracket is attached. You can usually screw in the tow hooks stud with just a little hand labor, but you will need a screwdriver to secure the bracket. Remember that not all cars have a tow hook anchor; therefore, before buying the frame, confirm that your vehicle has one.
  3. Using a magnetic mount: A magnet mount attaches to the front bumpers with the help of powerful magnets. These are only ad hoc mounts for road tests and auto dealers. Even if you were to take a chance with one, you would still need to locate any iron on your vehicle’s front area, which is now primarily made of plastic.

Whatever you decide, it’s crucial to research your state’s unique display laws before installation because they vary from state to state.

Where Can You Get A Custom Front License plate?

A customized number plate on your front end is an excellent addition to your car if you live in a one-plate jurisdiction and want to give your vehicle extra flair and uniqueness. National symbols, the American flag, monogrammed initials, wildflowers, LED panels with color scheme light, and digital plates you can operate are just a few examples of the customized license plates available online.

Even though the field of vanity plates is your playground, keep it tasteful since other cars and police officials might not enjoy the original unsuitability that you have added to your automobile.

Pinterest is a terrific place to start if you need some inspiration. When you have a concept in mind, there are a few stores we suggest looking into for personalized plates, automobile supplies and services, and license plate brackets:

Amazon is a favorite among all. Countless selections, a range of costs, and quick shipment are available. Personal license plates are then available on Etsy, a global marketplace populated by motivated and imaginative company owners, and you can personalize them with different colors, fonts, texts, and designs. You could also construct bespoke bumper stickers and number plate templates from Sign, another internet vendor.

Where Can You Store Your License Plates?

Some people try to get around the requirement to display a license plate by sticking it in the windshield or storing it inside the vehicle. The glove compartment or the ground are familiar places to keep license plates. Most states with a two-plate requirement stipulate that the plates must be outside the vehicle, not inside.

Several exclusions exist in some states, including Washington state, which permits exemptions in the event of cars without front positions designed expressly for a front nameplate. To be eligible for such authorization, you must request a waiver in writing from the Washington State Patrol.

What Are The Laws Regarding Front License Plates?

You would need to maintain some rules when getting a license plate. Most of these rules are the same for different states, but it’s always best to check your state’s laws for better clarification.

Both plates are subject to the same license plate regulations in dual license plate states. Valid license plates must be visible. They must be securely fastened to the vehicle in the allotted location, free of obstacles. On the plate, each number, symbol, sticker, and additional piece of identification must be visible.

Plates shouldn’t be dirty or scuffed up with debris, and owing to the brightness they produce, several jurisdictions even forbid plastic coverings. Drivers must keep their license plates as the Department of Motor Vehicles sends them; they cannot personalize them by filing down corners or removing them (DMV). In jurisdictions requiring two license plates, the state laws do not permit automakers and retailers to deliver passenger cars with only a single plate.

What’s the Penalty For Disobeying Front License Plate Laws?

Since there are laws regarding the use of license plates, there are punishments for car owners who don’t go by the book. The laws vary across the states, and so do these penalties. A general overview of these punishments is as such.

If the state mandates it, police frequently stop vehicles that do not have a front license plate. State-specific fines exist. Police may give a legal notice or an instant penalty to the motorist depending on the situation. The typical fine range for this offense is somewhere between $100 to $200.

In certain places, the city parking agency may issue a parking penalty to a car stopped on the street without a legible license plate. These penalties might range widely and cost as little as $25.

The fix-it notice is another tool used by police departments. This procedure implies that even if you first receive a citation, it can be canceled if you upload the license plate and confirm it with your regional police department afterward. The best part is that hardware citations, such as a fix-it penalty, seldom impact the cost of your automobile insurance if you’re willing to travel with no front plate.

Final Remarks

It is always good to be cautious and aware of your state’s laws and regulations. When it comes to front license plates, make sure you know your state’s rules and follow them properly for a safe and smooth driving experience. Check out our website for the latest news about cars and everything related to it.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How to put a license plate on?

You can quickly put a license plate on your car using simple techniques. Here is a detailed guide on that.

  • Do you have to have a front license plate in Texas?

Yes, displaying a front license plate is required by law in Texas.

  • What do you need to get license plates in Ohio?

You need to submit the required documents and make your payment to the state, and you’ll have your license plate in no time. Click here to register your car in the state of Ohio.

  • Do you need a front license plate in California?

Yes. To lawfully drive in California, you must have a license plate at both the front and back of your vehicle.

  • What states require front license plates?

In total, 30 states in the United States of America where you need front license plates to drive legally.

  • How to remove a license plate?

Put your fingertips beneath the license plate’s border and pull hard but consistently. Otherwise, dental floss, plastic tubing, or thread is also standard when removing license plates.

  • Why do people cover license plates?

Two reasons make digital number plate masking possible. People cover license plates to either safeguard their confidentiality or to prevent self-incrimination.

  • Do you have to have a front license plate in Ohio?

No, displaying a front license plate is not required by law in Ohio.

  • Do you need a front license plate?

If the state you’re living in requires a front number plate, then you need it. Otherwise, it is acceptable not to use a front number plate.

  • Is it illegal not to have a front license plate?

No, it’s not against the law, but several states mandate them, and most police officers said they help find stolen cars.

  • Can you get tags without a license?

Without a driving license, you can sign up for your car at a statewide or municipal automobile department. There are registration standards for vehicles in all 50 U.S. states, but none of them include a necessity for a driver’s license.

  • Is it illegal to drive without a front license plate?

In states where front plate licenses are mandatory, it is legally wrong to drive without a front license. However, in many states, these laws are loosely implemented.

  • Can you drive without a license plate?

No, you must have a car license plate to drive it.

  • Do you need a front license plate in Wisconsin?

Yes, displaying a front license plate is required by law in Wisconsin.

  • Does Illinois require a front license plate?

Yes, displaying a front license plate is required by law in Illinois.

  • Do you need a front license plate in colorado?

Yes, displaying a front license plate is required by law in Colorado unless it is a two-wheeler or a street rod automobile.

You may also read: Are Hyundai Good Cars?

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Sean March 15, 2023 - 5:06 am

add Alaska to the list of the rear plate states. They dropped the requirement in 2022 just last year!

Sean August 21, 2023 - 7:47 am

Hi, license plate laws list needs to be changed. Alaska no longer requires front license plates as of last year. Now 21 states don’t require front license plates. And 29 still require front license plates. And erase the one sentence that talks about Ohio that you have to display a front license plate. That is wrong Ohio got rid of the front license plate requirement 3 years ago. Happy to point out the errors

Avatar photo
Rae Castillon August 22, 2023 - 1:44 pm

Hi Sean,

Thank you so much for your input. We really appreciate it. We have already updated the post.

Sean August 27, 2023 - 7:11 am

Very nice! Just one more error needs to be fixed. A sentence says 19 states don’t require front license plates. Now bump it up to 21 states in the sentence that includes Ohio and Alaska

Sean April 18, 2024 - 9:30 pm

Hi, so an update note will need to be done. So now add Utah to the rear plate state list, on January 1st, 2025 Utah’a front license plate requirement will be eliminated! The Utah governor signed a bill into law back in March 2024. Now the new number of rear plate states will be 22, and new number of front and rear plate states will he 28. Happy to keep everyone updated! 👍


Sean April 20, 2024 - 4:18 pm Reply

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