In Missouri, it is required by law to display a license plate on both the front and back of any motor vehicle up to a certain size. Trailers, motorcycles, motor tricycles, and auto cycle must display a plate on the rear of the vehicle. Failure to properly display your license plates can result in significant fines. Learn more with MRD Lawyers.
Failure to Display Plates – Traffic Violation Statute
301.130. License plates, required slogan and information — special plates — plates, how displayed — tabs to be used — rulemaking authority, procedure.
Citation: MO Rev Stat § 301.130 (2018)
- The director of revenue, upon receipt of a proper application for registration, required fees and any other information which may be required by law, shall issue to the applicant a certificate of registration in such manner and form as the director of revenue may prescribe and a set of license plates, or other evidence of registration, as provided by this section. Each set of license plates shall bear the name or abbreviated name of this state, the words “SHOW-ME STATE”, the month and year in which the registration shall expire, and an arrangement of numbers or letters, or both, as shall be assigned from year to year by the director of revenue. The plates shall also contain fully reflective material with a common color scheme and design for each type of license plate issued pursuant to this chapter. The plates shall be clearly visible at night, and shall be aesthetically attractive. Special plates for qualified disabled veterans will have the “DISABLED VETERAN” wording on the license plates in preference to the words “SHOW-ME STATE” and special plates for members of the National Guard will have the “NATIONAL GUARD” wording in preference to the words “SHOW-ME STATE”.
- The arrangement of letters and numbers of license plates shall be uniform throughout each classification of registration. The director may provide for the arrangement of the numbers in groups or otherwise, and for other distinguishing marks on the plates.
- All property-carrying commercial motor vehicles to be registered at a gross weight in excess of twelve thousand pounds, all passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicles, local transit buses, school buses, trailers, semitrailers, motorcycles, motortricycles, autocycles, motorscooters, and driveaway vehicles shall be registered with the director of revenue as provided for in subsection 3 of section 301.030, or with the state highways and transportation commission as otherwise provided in this chapter, but only one license plate shall be issued for each such vehicle, except as provided in this subsection. The applicant for registration of any property-carrying commercial vehicle registered at a gross weight in excess of twelve thousand pounds may request and be issued two license plates for such vehicle, and if such plates are issued, the director of revenue shall provide for distinguishing marks on the plates indicating one plate is for the front and the other is for the rear of such vehicle. The director may assess and collect an additional charge from the applicant in an amount not to exceed the fee prescribed for personalized license plates in subsection 1 of section 301.144.
- The plates issued to manufacturers and dealers shall bear the letters and numbers as prescribed by section 301.560, and the director may place upon the plates other letters or marks to distinguish commercial motor vehicles and trailers and other types of motor vehicles.
- No motor vehicle or trailer shall be operated on any highway of this state unless it shall have displayed thereon the license plate or set of license plates issued by the director of revenue or the state highways and transportation commission and authorized by section 301.140. Each such plate shall be securely fastened to the motor vehicle or trailer in a manner so that all parts thereof shall be plainly visible and reasonably clean so that the reflective qualities thereof are not impaired. Each such plate may be encased in a transparent cover so long as the plate is plainly visible and its reflective qualities are not impaired. License plates shall be fastened to all motor vehicles except trucks, tractors, truck tractors or truck-tractors licensed in excess of twelve thousand pounds on the front and rear of such vehicles not less than eight nor more than forty-eight inches above the ground, with the letters and numbers thereon right side up. The license plates on trailers, motorcycles, motortricycles, autocycles, and motorscooters shall be displayed on the rear of such vehicles either horizontally or vertically, with the letters and numbers plainly visible. The license plate on buses, other than school buses, and on trucks, tractors, truck tractors or truck-tractors licensed in excess of twelve thousand pounds shall be displayed on the front of such vehicles not less than eight nor more than forty-eight inches above the ground, with the letters and numbers thereon right side up or if two plates are issued for the vehicle pursuant to subsection 3 of this section, displayed in the same manner on the front and rear of such vehicles. The license plate or plates authorized by section 301.140, when properly attached, shall be prima facie evidence that the required fees have been paid.
- (1) The director of revenue shall issue annually or biennially a tab or set of tabs as provided by law as evidence of the annual payment of registration fees and the current registration of a vehicle in lieu of the set of plates. Beginning January 1, 2010, the director may prescribe any additional information recorded on the tab or tabs to ensure that the tab or tabs positively correlate with the license plate or plates issued by the department of revenue for such vehicle. Such tabs shall be produced in each license bureau office.
(2) The vehicle owner to whom a tab or set of tabs is issued shall affix and display such tab or tabs in the designated area of the license plate, no more than one per plate.
(3) A tab or set of tabs issued by the director of revenue when attached to a vehicle in the prescribed manner shall be prima facie evidence that the registration fee for such vehicle has been paid.
(4) Except as otherwise provided in this section, the director of revenue shall issue plates for a period of at least six years.
(5) For those commercial motor vehicles and trailers registered pursuant to section 301.041, the plate issued by the highways and transportation commission shall be a permanent nonexpiring license plate for which no tabs shall be issued. Nothing in this section shall relieve the owner of any vehicle permanently registered pursuant to this section from the obligation to pay the annual registration fee due for the vehicle. The permanent nonexpiring license plate shall be returned to the highways and transportation commission upon the sale or disposal of the vehicle by the owner to whom the permanent nonexpiring license plate is issued, or the plate may be transferred to a replacement commercial motor vehicle when the owner files a supplemental application with the Missouri highways and transportation commission for the registration of such replacement commercial motor vehicle. Upon payment of the annual registration fee, the highways and transportation commission shall issue a certificate of registration or other suitable evidence of payment of the annual fee, and such evidence of payment shall be carried at all times in the vehicle for which it is issued.
(6) Upon the sale or disposal of any vehicle permanently registered under this section, or upon the termination of a lease of any such vehicle, the permanent nonexpiring plate issued for such vehicle shall be returned to the highways and transportation commission and shall not be valid for operation of such vehicle, or the plate may be transferred to a replacement vehicle when the owner files a supplemental application with the Missouri highways and transportation commission for the registration of such replacement vehicle. If a vehicle which is permanently registered under this section is sold, wrecked or otherwise disposed of, or the lease terminated, the registrant shall be given credit for any unused portion of the annual registration fee when the vehicle is replaced by the purchase or lease of another vehicle during the registration year.
- The director of revenue and the highways and transportation commission may prescribe rules and regulations for the effective administration of this section. No rule or portion of a rule promulgated under the authority of this section shall become effective unless it has been promulgated pursuant to the provisions of section 536.024.
- Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law to the contrary, owners of motor vehicles other than apportioned motor vehicles or commercial motor vehicles licensed in excess of twenty-four thousand pounds gross weight may apply for special personalized license plates. Vehicles licensed for twenty-four thousand pounds that display special personalized license plates shall be subject to the provisions of subsections 1 and 2 of section 301.030. On and after August 28, 2016, owners of motor vehicles, other than apportioned motor vehicles or commercial motor vehicles licensed in excess of twenty-four thousand pounds gross weight, may apply for any preexisting or hereafter statutorily created special personalized license plates.
- No later than January 1, 2019, the director of revenue shall commence the reissuance of new license plates of such design as approved by the advisory committee under section 301.125 consistent with the terms, conditions, and provisions of section 301.125 and this chapter. Except as otherwise provided in this section, in addition to all other fees required by law, applicants for registration of vehicles with license plates that expire during the period of reissuance, applicants for registration of trailers or semitrailers with license plates that expire during the period of reissuance and applicants for registration of vehicles that are to be issued new license plates during the period of reissuance shall pay the cost of the plates required by this subsection. The additional cost prescribed in this subsection shall not be charged to persons receiving special license plates issued under section 301.073 or 301.443. Historic motor vehicle license plates registered pursuant to section 301.131 and specialized license plates are exempt from the provisions of this subsection. Except for new, replacement, and transfer applications, permanent nonexpiring license plates issued to commercial motor vehicles and trailers registered under section 301.041 are exempt from the provisions of this subsection.
Penalty of Conviction
Any person who is convicted of failure to display their license plate, for which no specific punishment is provided, shall be guilty of an infraction punishable by a fine of not less than five dollars or more than five hundred dollars.
If you are facing a traffic charge, it is important to trust an experienced defense team to keep your driving record clean. MRD Lawyers are well-versed in traffic law, and we can ensure your rightful defense.