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How to report illegal number plates

Updated March 23, 2017

Plate numbers must follow a certain number of rules and regulations that are governed by the states that issue them. License plate laws differ from state to state. Breaking these laws can include fines and license suspension. Reporting illegal license plates is important, as plate numbers allow the police to quickly identify drivers who commit offences by looking up the number in a police database. Illegal plate numbers are not valid numbers (valid numbers are issued by the state's Department of Motor Vehicles) and therefore do not exist in a database unless previously known to the police department.

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  1. File a report with your local police office. Walk into your local police department office and ask to speak with an officer who can assist you in filing a police report.

  2. Provide the officer with the details of what constituted to the license plate being illegal. Tell the officer the specifics, such as: if the plate numbers were too small to be seen except from up close, if the numbers or letters were a duplicate of another license, if the license plate was not reflective and readable at night, or any other laws your state mandates for license plate numbers. The city of Hubbard, Ohio, for example, mandates that there can not be duplicates of a license plate number.

  3. Provide the officer with information about the car, driver and license plate number. Include specifics about the car, such as the colour of the car, make and model. Tell the officer the driver's name if you know it.

  4. Keep your case number. Each report generates a case number. A case number allows you to follow up with the police department on your filed report, in case you have more information or wish to inquire whether the case is closed or not.

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About the Author

Located in Pittsburgh, Chris Miksen has been writing instructional articles on a wide range of topics for online publications since 2007. He currently owns and operates a vending business. Miksen has written a variety of technical and business articles throughout his writing career. He studied journalism at the Community College of Allegheny County.

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