Are you registering an out-of-state vehicle in the Sunshine State for the first time or buying a car? When you register your vehicle in Florida, you will receive your metal license plate, registration certificate, and validation decal. In many states, vehicles must have a rear and front license plate, but Florida does not require a front license plate. 

Here is what you should know about Florida’s license plate laws and why they matter. 

Is a Front License Plate Required in Florida?

Florida Statute Section 320.06 governs license plates in the state. In Florida, vehicles are only required to display one license plate. Section 316.221 specifies that the license plate must be displayed in the rear of the vehicle with a white taillamp that makes the plate legible within 50 feet, even at night.

Why Florida Doesn’t Require Front License Plates

The absence of a front license plate requirement in Florida can be attributed to both practical and financial considerations.

Requiring a front license plate would increase the costs associated with vehicle registration. This includes the production of additional plates. Also, many new vehicles do not have a standard front license plate frame; dealers sometimes offer the option to car buyers. Car owners who move from a single-plate state to a state that requires a front license plate may need to pay for a frame to be attached or buy a front license plate frame kit. 

By limiting the requirement to a rear plate, Florida keeps registration fees lower, benefiting vehicle owners.

While it wasn’t a consideration when Florida transitioned from two license plates to just one in 1922, toll readers and speed enforcement cameras do not need front license plates. Most cameras only take photos of the rear of vehicles, although some also take pictures from the front to verify the identity of the driver.

There is a drawback to not requiring a front license plate, though. Front plates make it easier for witnesses or victims of pedestrian accidents and car accidents to identify the vehicle no matter which way it goes. 

Other Florida License Plate Laws

There are several other important vehicle registration and license plate laws in Florida.

  • Current registration sticker: Florida law mandates that your license plate must display a current registration sticker in the upper right corner. This decal indicates the month your registration expires. It also shows that your vehicle’s registration is up-to-date.
  • Visibility and condition: Your license plate must be clearly visible and unobscured at all times. This means it should not be obstructed by any part of the vehicle or aftermarket accessories, and it should be kept clean and legible. A taillamp with a white light must be operational so the plate is legible when the headlights are turned on. 
  • License plate replacement: According to Florida law, license plates must be replaced every ten years. This ensures that all plates remain reflective and easy to read. When renewing your registration, the DMV will notify you if it’s time for a plate replacement.
  • Ownership and surrender: License plates in Florida are the property of the state. If your vehicle’s registration is valid but your insurance coverage is canceled or expires, you are required to return the license plate to the DMV. Failing to do so can result in a suspension of your driver’s license. You can return license plates to a motor vehicle service center in person or by mail with a request to cancel your registration.

State law requires every vehicle operating on Florida roads to have a valid registration. If you have an out-of-state registration, you have a deadline to register your car in Florida. By law, you have ten days from establishing residency or getting a job in the state.

Driving with an expired registration is a traffic infraction with fines of up to $250. If your car registration has expired for more than six months, it becomes a second-degree misdemeanor if it’s a second offense. 

Understanding Florida’s registration and license plate laws helps you avoid costly penalties. These laws are also important for public safety. 

Contact Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today

For more information, please contact the legal team of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for a free initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer in Clearwater. We have four convenient locations in Florida: Clearwater, New Port Richey, and Tampa.

We serve throughout Pinellas County, Hillsborough County, Pasco County, and its surrounding areas:

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater Office
1811 N. Belcher Road, Suite I-1
Clearwater, FL 33765
(727) 787-2500

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Congress Ave Office
2360 Congress Avenue
Clearwater, FL 33763
(727) 591-5610

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
6601 Memorial Hwy Suite 202
Tampa, FL 33615
(813) 686-7588

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – New Port Richey Office
2515 Seven Springs Blvd.
New Port Richey, FL, 34655
(727) 815-8442