Vermont Drivers, Beware of License Plate Covers | BarrSternberg

Southern Vermont Justice

News and updates from Vermont's most respected attorneys

Vermont Drivers, Beware of License Plate Covers

  • April 8, 2016
  • BarrSternberg
  • Comments Off on Vermont Drivers, Beware of License Plate Covers

Vermont Drivers, Beware

Police have begun to stop cars with license plate brackets that cover any part of the license plate, including the “Vermont” at the very top and “Green Mountain State” at the very bottom of the plate. Almost every license plate bracket issued with every new or used car by a dealer covers some or all of the top and bottom of the plate. Local police are using license plate brackets as an excuse to stop cars in order to investigate drivers for suspicion of DUI. These stops usually occur late at night or early in the morning. Most people think, reasonably, that as long as the numbers and letters on the plate and the registration sticker are completely visible, this complies with the law. Unfortunately, the DMV and law enforcement officials do not interpret the applicable statute (23 V.S.A. sec. 511) this way. “The Vermont Supreme Court has not yet ruled on this issue, but in an analogous case, the Court held that the statutory language of section 511 should be interpreted as only requiring that the numbers and letters of the registration and the registration sticker be clearly legible,” defense attorney David Silver explained. “However, until the Supreme Court rules on this, you will not win this argument with a local police officer.”