Too Much on Your Plate!
Guy B. Price

Beginning January 1, 2009, Arizona drivers can be ticketed if their license plate frame blocks or obscures the word “Arizona” at the top of their license plates.
The new law, Arizona Revised Statute 28-2354(B), takes effect on the first of the year, and provides that the state name at the top of Arizona license plates must be visible. Any license plate holder that prevents the license plate from being clearly visible violates this new law. Many license plate frames or holders cover up the state name. These holders are now against the law.
Arizona law has always required that license plates be displayed such that they are “clearly visible”. In the past this has meant that police could cite drivers with protective covers or coatings on their plates if such covers obscured the visibility of the plates from a reasonable distance or angle. Some covers are specifically marketed as impediments to photo radar photographs.
The new law makes it illegal to cover up even the state name at the top of the plate.
Have an out of state license plate? The new law doesn’t apply to you. Arizona law does, however, require new residents to immediately obtain an Arizona vehicle registration and an Arizona driver’s license if you:

  • Work in Arizona;
  • Have a business with an Arizona office that bases and operates vehicles in Arizona;
  • Are registered to vote in Arizona;
  • Have children in school (without paying nonresident tuition);
  • Obtain a state license;
  • Reside in Arizona for a total of 7 months or more during any calendar year.

 So, to stay out of trouble, follow your mother’s advice and “Clean your plate.”