Certain license plate frames have been an ongoing issue with New Jersey law enforcement for many years. Now, there is finally some much-needed clarification, with Governor Murphy recently signing into law a bill (A3494/S2381) that allows license plate frames to obscure certain parts of permanent or temporary license plates under certain conditions.
The new law makes clear that license plate frames cannot conceal, or otherwise obscure, the name of the State, the registration number, or the expiration date on any temporary registration plate. Further, it clarifies that a driver may not be stopped if the name of the State or the registration or the expiration date on a temporary certificate or temporary registration plate is concealed or otherwise obscured. The bill, signed on May 8th, 2023, takes effect on July 1st, 2023.
NJ CAR previously communicated to dealers about potential issues surrounding license plate frames in August 2021 and February 2022. This legislation simply codifies the New Jersey Supreme Court ruling in State v. Darius Carter. The ruling found that when a license plate frame conceals or obscures a marking on a license plate in a manner where it cannot reasonably be identified or discerned, that driver would be in violation of the law. However, if a phrase such as “Garden State” is partly covered, but is still recognizable, then there would NOT be a violation of the law.
Under this bill, drivers cannot be pulled over if their license plates obscure the name of the State, the registration number, or the expiration date of a license plate. Please note that license plate frames sold through NJ CAR Services are compliant with current law. Please contact your NJ CAR Services representative if you want to explore options for a re-design of your dealership license plate frames in light of the new law. NJ CAR Services will not design, produce or sell plates that are non-compliant.