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Ask A Cop: License plates on front and back?

(In this space every week a Lake Oswego police officer will answer questions of our readers. Send your questions to staff reporter Cliff Newell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

“A lot of the vehicles I see on roads every day don’t have front plates. The violation is easy to spot and is a clear violation. Why isn’t this law enforced?”

You are absolutely correct. Oregon Revised Statute 803.525 requires that all vehicles in the state of Oregon be issued two license plates with the exception of mopeds, motorcycles, trailers, campers, antique vehicles, and vehicles of special interest. by: SUBMITTED PATCH - This patch is for the Lake Oswego Police Department.

Oregon Revised Statute 803.540 requires that the plates must be displayed on the front and rear of the vehicle. This has been further litigated in the courts to mean the plates must be placed on the front and rear bumpers of the vehicle and not in the front and rear windows.

This is a very easy violation to spot, and although I can’t speak for other agencies or officers in this state, I can speak for myself and the Lake Oswego Police Department: I very commonly enforce this violation with a fix-it-ticket. This means that a violator has the option of fixing the violation (putting the front plate on the vehicle) or paying the fine and having the conviction show up on their driving record.

I have heard many excuses from violators in regards to this violation, but the most common two seem to be: (1) that it detracts from the beauty of their vehicle; and (2) that they do not want to drill holes in their front bumper.

All dealerships will install the front license plate bracket for free when purchasing a new car.

Many states in the U.S. do not require a front license plate to be displayed on vehicles, but most all of the western states do, or at least the ones surrounding Oregon. In Washington, Idaho, and California front license plates are required on vehicles.

— Sgt. Gary deMoss



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