New York requires vehicles registered within the state to have two license plates—one on the front and one on the rear. If you don’t have a front license plate, you may be pulled over by law enforcement, ticketed, and fined.

New York’s law only applies to vehicles registered in the state. However, more than half of the states require a front license plate. You should comply with the license plate law where your car is registered.

How To Get Your License Plates in New York

You get your New York front and back license plates when you register your vehicle with the Department of Motor Vehicles. You’ll need your vehicle’s title, proof that it is adequately insured in New York, identification, and to pay the registration fee. Your license plates will be mailed to you after you’ve submitted the required documents and payment.

If your vehicle is registered in New York, it must be inspected every 12 months. 

Other License Plate Requirements in New York 

In addition to having two license plates, there are other license plate requirements in New York.

License Plates Must Be Visible

A key purpose of the two license plate requirement is that your license plates must be visible. New York has other requirements to ensure that license plates are visible, including: 

  • License plate covers are prohibited
  • License plates must be right-side up
  • License plates cannot be lower than 12 inches from the ground or higher than 48 inches from the ground
  • License plates cannot be coated with anything that obscures their appearance
  • Your vehicle should have a light around the license plate so it is easily visible

In addition, you can have a license plate frame, but it cannot limit the plate’s visibility. A license plate frame cannot obscure any information on the license plate, including the number, the state, and the registration sticker.

You Cannot Transfer the Plate to Someone Else

If you sell or gift the vehicle, you cannot transfer the plate to a new person. You can, however, transfer the plate to another vehicle in your name.

Exceptions to New York’s Front License Plate Requirement

Motorcycles only require one license plate in New York. 

Certain travel trailers do not require registration in New York. These include well drillers and wood chippers mounted on a chassis.

You should contact the DMV if you’re unsure of the license plate requirements for your vehicle.

Purpose of New York’s License Plate Laws

License plates help law enforcement identify vehicles. This is useful for looking up information regarding a driver and identifying stolen cars. License plates are also useful for pay-by-plate tolls and parking permits. 

New York’s license plate requirements are intended to make license plates visible so law enforcement can easily read them. For example, if you were injured in a hit-and-run accident, law enforcement may be able to locate the responsible driver through their license plate number if you saw it or if it was captured on surveillance footage. 

If you were injured in a hit-and-run accident, our experienced car accident attorneys will investigate the accident to help you find the at-fault driver. 

Contact a New York Car Accident Attorney To Discuss Your Case

If you’ve been injured in an accident in New York, NY, and need legal help, contact our New York City car accident lawyers at Rosenbaum Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation.

Rosenbaum Personal Injury Lawyers
100 Wall St 15th Floor
New York, NY 10005
(212) 514-5007