One license plate in a Two-Plate State

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1,321
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US
Thread starter
I'm wondering a bit about this one. The other day, I was coming back from St. Louis to Louisville, KY on I-64. I stopped in rural, southern Illinois to get gas(exit 130, Grayville, right on the IN/IL state line if anyone is interested) and had a local sheriff's deputy approach me while I was pumping gas. He said that he COULD cite me for not having a front license plate on my car, and suggested that I "take care of it." I mentioned that Kentucky doesn't issue/require a front plate and was told it "didn't matter", so I just thanked him for the advice and went on my merry way. I travel through this area once or twice a month and can't really avoid it, so I'm a bit worried. Here's my issue, though. I live in Kentucky(i.e. my legal residence is there and I have a KY driver's license) and I was driving a vehicle I own that is also registered in Kentucky. Kentucky does not issue two license plates for normal vehicle registrations(I was issued two for my MG, but that's a weird thing with classic car tags and I'm entirely sure why they do it). The state only requires one plate to be displayed on the rear, and there's no possible way that I could even GET a matching front plate for my car. I know this isn't a place for legal advice, but is he correct about this? It would seem to me that if my vehicle is 100% legal(and there's no gray area on that-I don't have any window tinting, it's wearing the same exhaust that the factory fitted, all the lights are working, 2 year old tires in the stock size on stock rims, etc etc) in the state where it's registered, it would be awfully hard to issue a citation for not having something that my state doesn't even offer me the option of getting. The only way to get a front plate-as I see it-would be to register the vehicle in a state where I don't even HAVE a legal residence, and I don't see how that's possible. Any thoughts on this? Of course, if he HAD cited me, I would have gone to court and fought it, even though it would have been a huge inconvenience to do so. Still, though, since it's been brought up to me I don't want to have the occasion to even test that.
 
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429
Location
Midwest
I think this deputy is an idiot. If you and your vehicle are from another state that only issues the rear plate then there's nothing the law in another state can do about it. I've lived in many states that require front and rear and many that only require the rear. I hate the look of a license plate on the front of a car.
 
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Messages
389
Location
Stallings, NC
I'm a Deputy and I'll tell you that Deputy is an idiot. If your state only issues one plate, you are good to go. If you get cited for that, the case would get dismissed. No worries.
 
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4,158
Location
N.C.
Originally Posted by ammolab
Your car was legal in Kentucky the state of registration...and it was legal in all other 49 states. The cop was an idiot or jerk, maybe both.
^^^ Exactly. N.C. Issues only one plate as well and my vehicles are legal in every state. I have a big DUKE plate on the front of my truck. ( I would most likely get a ticket in Ky for just having a Duke plate, but that's another story)! I would call his office and voice a complaint.
 
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3,277
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On another site
Originally Posted by Ryan
I'm a Deputy and I'll tell you that Deputy is an idiot. If your state only issues one plate, you are good to go. If you get cited for that, the case would get dismissed. No worries.
There you go. Why not carry a copy of the Kentucky statute which indicates only one plate? That way if it happens again you can show it to the officer. If he issues you a ticket, ask him what section of the state code he is citing you for violating, and look it up on your phone while he's in his cruiser.
 
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429
Location
Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted by ammolab
Your car was legal in Kentucky the state of registration...and it was legal in all other 49 states. The cop was an idiot or jerk, maybe both.
I can cite this cop is a bleeding idiot and but I will save the profanity when I see him in person.
 
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1,337
Location
ZFW
I'm no legal expert, but I'd say that as long as you're operating your vehicle in accordance with the laws of the state in which it's registered, then you're perfectly fine.
 
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1,321
Location
US
Thread starter
Thanks guys for confirming what I thought. I'll go through the area with no fear! Printing out a copy of the statue probably isn't a bad idea, but at the same time I've also heard derisive comments from officers about people they stop who try to "play lawyer" on the side of the road. It seems as though if he HAD wanted to cite me for one plate, he'd have done it regardless of the evidence presented to the contrary.
 
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4,914
Location
Columbus,Nebraska
United States Constitution, Article IV, Section 1. "Full faith and credit." States are required to respect public acts and records of other states. Your drivers license,vehicle registration, marriage license, divorce certificate et.al. issued in one state are legal and binding in all states. Just think of the gigantic mess we would have if it were otherwise. Deputy must have been smoking confiscated pot.
 
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48
Location
Central OH
As someone with over 20 years in LE, from Deputy to Director of Public Safety, I can attest to what the others have said and this Deputy was an improperly trained, under-educated public servant. Your vehicle is properly registered for the state in which you reside. Happy and safe travels!! By the way, if it were me, I'd beg this idiot to issue me a citation and gladly take the day off of work to go and completely destroy him in court. It wouldn't do much good as I'm sure this clown is a well-known [censored] in his department.
 
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4,143
Location
Central Arkansastan
You're good. I drive from Arkansastan to Missouri quite frequently, and when I get around the KC area I get the look, but only because when they don't see a front plate they think it's not licensed, but I see that head turn and once they see a back plate they mosie on. Yep, that deputy is an idiot, and being a former deputy myself, you handled it better than I would have.
 
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1,755
Location
South Central PA (Fulton Co)
Bwahaha, that's absurd. That "deputy" needs to go back to school. I live in PA which is a one plate state, work and frequently go to Maryland which is a 2 plate state. I've NEVER had any troubles or heard anything like that. I have gotten pulled over for a tinted license plate cover (in Maryland) but I think the State Trooper might have been suspicions with the plate cover and dark tinted windows. Got a couple warning tickets for that one...
 
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24,822
Location
Upstate NY
I only have one plate on my NY truck and no one has stopped me. I need to find the other plate before I move to DE. And my one plate is almost down to bare metal. In NY a series of plates that started with "E" got bad paint jobs and DMV knows it. They will send you a new "retro" plate if you request it, but not the white and blue one which I have. Each car wash takes a little more of the paint off.
 
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