Running euro plates alone is not legal in California, but what about mounting your regular plate in front of the Euro plate?

Sometimes the Mercedes, BMW, or Audi badges aren’t enough, you need to make clear to regular traffic that you drive a European vehicle.

A great way to make that blatantly clear is running Euro plates.

But, like in most states, especially California, that’s strictly verboten, against the vehicle code, and screams to local police to pull you over and hand you a fix-it ticket.

Titles on Heavy Equipment [ Dealing...
Titles on Heavy Equipment [ Dealing with Theft or Sale ]

But, what about running your regular, issued plates in front of those Euro plates as illustrated below?

Is this legal?

CA plates in front of Euro plates

Here’s what the California Vehicle Code says about that.

CVC 5200 states that,

“(a) When two license plates are issued by the department for use upon a vehicle, they shall be attached to the vehicle for which they were issued, one in the front and the other in the rear.”

The rest of the VC says if you get one plate, that goes in the rear.

According to this portion of the VC, you legally must display both plates they give you, it doesn’t necessarily say anything about what’s in front of or behind the plates.

The other section of the CVC that pertains to plates is CVC 4464 which states,

“A person shall not display upon a vehicle a license plate that is altered from its original markings.”

By mounting your issued plates in front of Euro plates you’re not, by any means, altering your DMV issued plates.

You’re certainly not wrapping or painting it a different color which, according to a recent post by Irvine police is a direct violation of CVC 4464.

With these two parts of the CVC in mind, as long as you mount both plates, front and rear, in their original, unaltered form as issued by the DMV (original California or special interest plates,) it doesn’t necessarily matter what’s behind it.

In light of the CVC, as I see it, Euro plates mounted behind California plates, both front and rear, seems to be A-OK in the Golden State.

The purposes of the plates are to ID the vehicle, its rightful owner, and for toll roads and the like.

Mounting Euro plates behind your regular plates doesn’t make that harder, in fact, it makes it easier to ID you, especially if you’re doing something like speeding.

This, of course, is my interpretation of the CVC and, after publishing this blog post, will query an official to find an actual answer.

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