CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. - You see hundreds license plate borders everyday, decorating the rear of other vehicles on the road. But if you choose the wrong one, you could be fined more than $100.
A man in Charlotte County said his wife was ticketed for having an obstructed license plate. Despite fighting it in court, she ended up having to pay $155. Many drivers have frames, but not everyone knows the trouble they can bring.
"The more common one is they didn't know, they're not sure, they didn't know that was a violation," Deputy First Class Leamon Combs of the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office Traffic Safety Team said.
He sees it every day. Under Florida Statute, if anything obstructs the numbers, letters or the registration decal on your plate, you could be get a non-moving violation.
"Up here in Charlotte County, it's a $111 fine," Combs said.
This is not a new law. But as car dealerships ramp up advertising, Combs is seeing a lot more violations.
"For the most part, we try to educate them and let them know exactly what they can and can not do with that license plate," Combs said.
A couple years ago, it happened to Greg Griffin. "They actually pulled me over and told me they could give me a ticket and made me take the bracket off right there on the spot," he said.
Griffin is the used car director at Palm Automotive Group in Punta Gorda. He says their business actually consulted with the Police Chief to make sure their frames were in compliance before sending customers off the lot. "They used to be a lot thicker at the bottom and when we found out this could be a potential problem to our customers, we went back and redesigned it," Griffin said.
Basically, authorities say it's illegal to have anything that covers your license plate. Novelty frames are often meant for the front license plate, which in Florida can be an accessory, since the state does not require two registration tags.