Get that registration sticker in the right place

posted by Grant Gangestad on Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Have you ever seen a license plate with registration stickers all over it? It drives me crazy...and it is (most of the time) ILLEGAL and will subject you to a traffic stop by law enforcement!

According to Iowa Administrative Code section 761-400.53(1)(321), the validation sticker shall be affixed to the lower left corner of the rear registration plate. Exceptions: For motorcycle and small trailer plates, the validation sticker shall be affixed to the upper left corner of the... plate. For natural resources plates, the sticker may be affixed to the lower right corner of the rear plate.

So unless you have a motorcycle, trailer, or natural resource plates, make sure the valid registration sticker is in the lower left hand corner of the plate. Having the sticker anywhere else may subject you to a stop by law enforcement. Scrape those bad boys off and get it in the right place!

License plate frames can also be an issue.  The Iowa Supreme Court's recent decision in State v. Harrison, 846 N.W.2d 362 (Iowa 2014)makes clear that, if an officer sees a license plate frame that covers up the county on the license plate, an officer can make a stop of the vehicle because the vehicle has committed a traffic violation.  Iowa Code section 321.37(3) makes it unlawful “for the owner of a vehicle to place any frame around or over the registration plate which does not permit full view of all numerals and letters printed on the registration plate.”  So if you have a license plate frame or cover, make sure that it does not cover ANY of the letters on the plate. Not the "Iowa" at the top, not the County at the bottom, and not the actual plate number itself. Better yet, just get rid of that plate frame or cover and save yourself some hassle.

If you do find yourself in the unfortunate position of having been pulled over, ticketed, and/or arrested, make sure you download the Oh Crap App and call one of the knowledgeable attorneys at Gourley, Rehkemper & Lindholm, PLC.

    1. criminal defense
    2. drunk driving defense
    3. grl law
    4. oh crap app
    5. traffic enforcement
    6. traffic stop

    About The Author

    Grant Gangestad grew up in Clarion, Iowa, where he graduated from Clarion-Goldfield High School as the Salutatorian of his class in 2003.  He then attended the University of Northern Iowa and obtained a bachelor of arts in Political Science and a minor in Polit ... read more