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? On this page is an explanation of what to look out for and what not being aware could cost.

If you’re thinking of getting private number plate, or are buying a car with one already fitted, how do you know whether it’s road legal? Here to explain the law and help you avoid a hefty fine, is Anton Balkitis, motoring solicitor, at law firm Rothera Sharp.

How do you know it’s road legal?

When purchasing a new vehicle most of us spend time checking that it’s mechanically sound and has a valid MOT and service history. However, it may not cross your mind to find out whether the registration plate meets the legal requirements. Those thinking of adding a private number plate should also be aware that it must comply with rules set out by the DVLA. Anyone found to be displaying an illegal number plate could well see it withdrawn with no reimbursement and/or receive a fine of up to £1,000.

Below are just a few important considerations to bear in mind when buying a new car or number plate.

Customising number plates has soared in popularity, but there are strict rules surrounding it. For starters, you will need to present ID and a copy of your vehicle logbook to the supplier, who must be registered with the DVLA. All companies are required to keep a three-year record of all sales activity for the police and DVLA. The government lists all approved number plate suppliers on its website.
Be on your guard against fake number plates by checking whether it has the British Standard Mark (BS AU145d) displayed on the bottom right hand side.
People often don’t realise they can be punished if the characters and letters on their vehicle registration plate are obscured by dirt or because it’s broken. It doesn’t cost much to keep it in good condition – and a little maintenance is far preferable to a fine, which could amount to £1,000 in serious cases.
Every six months, the DVLA issues a list of banned plates, which includes anything that incites hatred, causes political or religious conflict or is simply an offensive word. Think twice about branding your wheels with a potentially controversial phrase to ensure your plate isn’t withdrawn.
Most newer cars have the EU symbol displayed on the number plate, which means you no longer have to display a GB sticker to drive in most of mainland Europe. However, any personalised plates may not have this symbol, so you will need a GB sticker if you’re planning to take your vehicle over the Channel. You can also buy EU stickers, but always make sure they are in line with the rules set out by the government. There is nothing to stop you having a St George cross or Welsh dragon on your bumper – but remember you’ll still need a GB or EU symbol too.

If you have been prosecuted for having an illegal number plate, and are looking for expert legal advice, contact the team of motor transport solicitors at Rothera Sharp.