Could Your Maine License Plate Land You a Ticket? Avoid Legal Trouble with This Tip

License plates are an essential part of every vehicle, serving as a unique identifier for each car on the road. In Maine, however, some drivers have taken to decorating their license plates with frames or covers, unaware that this seemingly harmless act could be a violation of state law. In this blog post, we’ll explore the significance of license plate additions in Maine and why they might lead to a ticket.

Could Your Maine License Plate Land You a Ticket

The Magical Moment of Picking Up a New License Plate

Before diving into the legal aspects of license plate frames, let me share a personal story. Recently, I visited my local town office to pick up a new license plate for a car I had just bought. To my surprise, something truly magical happened. I opted for a random plate, and when I received it, I discovered that it contained all the initials of my family members! It was an amazing coincidence that left me feeling delighted.

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The Purpose of License Plate Frames

Many folks in Maine have added plate frames to their cars for various reasons, such as:

  • Decoration
  • Advertising
  • Adding character to the plate
  • Protecting the plate from incidents or dents

While these reasons may seem harmless, it’s important to be aware that using license plate frames could be a violation of Maine’s laws.

The Legal Implications of License Plate Frames

According to WGME, there is no specific law in Maine that prohibits the use of license plate frames or covers. However, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles advises against their use due to public safety concerns. The primary function of a license plate is to identify the vehicle, and many decorative covers can impede this function, making it harder for law enforcement officers and even toll readers to do their jobs effectively.

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The Maine statutes state that all characters on a license plate must be “plainly visible and legible.” This requirement applies to everything on the plate, except for the state’s iconic chickadee or pine tree. Failure to comply with this law could result in a ticket, and just last year, 30 tickets were handed out for illegible plates, according to the article.

A Maine Driver’s Experience

One Maine driver named Jeff shared his personal experience with WGME:

“Recently, I got pulled over and the officer told me I had an illegal license plate frame. He said it’s a $150 fine because the frame cannot cover any part of the plate that says Maine or the registration stickers. Is this true? If it is, a lot of Mainers are breaking the law.”

This anecdote serves as a reminder that even if you weren’t aware of the potential legal consequences of using a license plate frame, you could still face a hefty fine.

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While license plate frames and covers may seem like a harmless way to personalize your vehicle or protect your plate, it’s crucial to be aware of the potential legal ramifications in Maine. The state’s laws require that all characters on a license plate be plainly visible and legible, and failure to comply could result in a ticket and a significant fine.

As a Maine driver, it’s essential to prioritize public safety and ensure that your license plate is easily identifiable by law enforcement and toll readers. By keeping your plate free of obstructions, you can avoid unnecessary legal troubles and contribute to a safer driving environment for everyone on the road.


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