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Do Teslas Need a Front License Plate in California?

A white tesla without a license plate driving down the road.

Have you ever seen a Tesla without a front license plate and wondered, “Why don’t they have one?” As Teslas are becoming popular in California for its environmentally conscious design, cutting edge technology, and its sleek style and performance, there has been an increase of Teslas on the road and, as a result, a lack of front license plates. 

Why Do Teslas Not Have Front License Plates?

Not having a front license plate for your Tesla is illegal, according to California Vehicle Code 5200, all vehicles that have been issued two license plates must install them to the front and back of the vehicle. However, the main reasons that Tesla owners do not follow this rule is due to personal aesthetic reasons and a lack of enforcement. 

Most Tesla vehicles do not have a front license plate holder preinstalled to their vehicles and requires owners to install it themselves. However, many Tesla owners believe that a front license plate will ruin the sleek futuristic aesthetic of their vehicles and choose not to install it.

While it is still illegal to drive a vehicle without a front license plate, there is a lack of enforcement to this rule and, as a result, many Tesla owners believe it is a victimless crime to drive without a front license plate. However, this doesn’t mean that Tesla owners will never get a ticket for this infraction. 

What Are the Penalties for Driving Without a Front License Plate?

Tesla drivers who are driving their vehicles without a front license plate will be issued a fix-it ticket that will cost them around $25, however, depending on the issuing officer and the severity of the correction additional fines and citations may be added on. 

If the fix-it ticket is not paid and resolved by the Tesla driver within 20 days, then according to California Vehicle Code Section 40310, the fine of the fix-it ticket is subject to a 50% upcharge.  So if you are driving a Tesla without a front license plate, you are at risk of getting fined and penalized for a subjective aesthetic choice that will cause more of a hassle than it should.  

How to Install Front License Plate Bracket on Your Tesla 

A red tesla with a blank license plate driving down the road.

Installing a front license plate bracket onto your Tesla is an easy and painless process that should not take that much time to do. To install the front license plate bracket, you must clean the mounting area with isopropyl alcohol, fully remove the protective tape from the rear end of the bracket, and carefully stick the bracket to the middle of the bumper. Once the bracket is securely in place, use the four screws to attach your license plate to the bracket, and you are done and your Tesla can be legally driven on the streets.  

What Is the Alternative for Front License Plates in California?

If you are absolutely against installing a front license plate bracket onto your Tesla, then there is an alternative option that will not ruin the sleek design of your Tesla. A license plate wrap is a popular alternative that is made from a scannable reflective vinyl and it perfectly replicates the metallic look of a traditional license plate. The usage of a license plate wrap has been legalized as an alternative option in California since 2022 with the passing of the Assembly Bill 984.

What Should I Do If I Receive a Ticket For Not Having A Front License Plate?

With California incentivizing its residents to purchase an electric vehicle due to the Advanced Clean Car initiative, many residents are switching over to Teslas and start cutting down their gas costs by going electric. However, if you received a ticket for not having a front license plate it is important that you take the necessary steps to pay for the ticket and the associated fines before it leads to serious legal trouble. 

However, if you are subjected to an unlawful traffic stop and would like to seek legal representation of the matter, contact us today by calling (213) 927-3700 or filling our contact form to schedule a free consultation with our compassionate and talented legal team.

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