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Could You Spot An Illegal Number Plate or Are You in Danger of being Fined?

Could You Spot An Illegal Number Plate

Could you spot an Illegal Number Plate if you saw one? If you’re thinking of getting a private number plate or are buying a car, how do you know whether it’s legal?

On this page is an explanation of what to look out for and what not being aware could cost. Which includes a quick guide to what elements have to be on a number plate. And what modifications to avoid like the plague.

How do you know it’s road legal?

When purchasing a car most of us spend time checking that it’s mechanically sound and has a valid MOT. However, it may not cross your mind to check whether the registration plate is legal. Or if you’re thinking of buying new plates, you must ensure they comply with DVLA rules.

After all, anyone found displaying an illegal number plate could well see it withdrawn with no reimbursement. Or if your plates unreadable, you could end up with a fine of up to £1,000. But what are those rules, and what should you look out for?

Below are 5 Key Areas to bear in mind when buying a car or checking you number plate.

1: Elements Missing

To be road legal your number plate must have several elements on it. At the bare minimum it must have the registration, show the suppliers name and postcode along with a BS number. And dependent on your cars age, the British Standard should be either BSAU145d or BSAU145e. In addition, it can also have a side badge and a border as well.

If any of these elements are missing, your number plate isn’t legal and should be replaced.

2: Wrong Colours

Your number plate has to have a reflective white or yellow background for safety reasons. This means no modifications can be made to its original colour or finish. Similar rules apply to your plates registration, which has to be black and without a pattern. Yet you can have raised 3D Digits, as long as they are a single shade of black.

So if your number plates have a background pattern or are tinted they’re illegal. And make sure your plates are clean and in good condition, readability is legally required.

3: The Registration

Notably the registration is the most important element on your number plate. If it’s unreadable or a digits appearance has been changed, you could face a £1000 fine. So check for screws placed among the digits, or tape trying to alter your letters. And don’t forget its format, adding or removing the gaps between digits is a common fault.

Then there’s your registrations font, it’s supposed to be Charles Wright. If you’re unaware of what this looks like, the BNMA website has an article which covers it. It is very distinctive, and is easy to tell apart from any others.

4: Side Badges & Flags

Many cars come with a National Flag displayed on their number plate, such as the Union Flag. In fact, you will find many used cars may still carry the outdated GB Euro. There’s nothing wrong with these badges, and you don’t have to replace them. But do look out for football crests, emoticons and other logos, these are all illegal.

To clarify, only certain badges can be displayed on your number plate. This means national flags only, with a set format of a Flag above a Text Identifier. Yet there’s still a few variations, some with blue or green backgrounds. Try this article for examples of the flags we use on our number plates.

5: Getting Replacement Plates

Getting replacement number plates isn’t difficult, a quick search online will reveal local suppliers. We recommend you use a local business, because of number plates strict rules. And being there yourself, gives you the chance to check the plates over before you pay. After all, you want to ensure they are legal.

For starters, you will need to present your ID and the Vehicle Registration Certificate (V5C) to the supplier. This proves you have the right to use the registration number, and is required by law. Any supplier who doesn’t ask for these documents is probably unscrupulous.

Next there’s the elements and the style of your number plate. Start by saying you want a legal number plate, with the supplier name and BS number. If you want a side badge, consider the Overseas Badge which allows travel abroad without needing a UK Sticker. And if you want a 3D Plate, pick solid black digits, stay away from patterns or LED lighting – they’re illegal.

Worried About Your Number Plates?

Getting and replacing your cars number plates is easy and relatively cheap. Many suppliers offer a fitting service as part of their service. And if you’re unsure, they’ll be able to confirm whether yours are illegal number plates.

If you are being prosecuted for having an illegal number plate, we suggest you look for expert legal advice. If the Police stop you, you will always be given the chance to replace them. And don’t ignore their warnings, or you could face a £1000 fine.