Are You Required to Have a Front License Plate in Ohio?

Every car that’s on the road has to have a license plate. License plates are a part of vehicle registration, which helps to identify the vehicle and its owner. Every state requires that vehicles have a license plate in the back, but 31 states also require a front license plate.

Is Ohio one of the states that requires a front license plate?

Front License Plate Regulations in Ohio

Ohio is in fact one of the states that requires a license plate in the front and back. That means you’ll have to pay twice as much to get license plates, but at least you’ll only need a validation sticker on the back plate.

However, there are some scenarios where only a back license plate is needed. Here are the people and vehicles that only need to have a rear license plate:

  • A manufacturer of motor vehicles or dealer
  • Holder of an in transit permit
  • Motorcycles
  • Motorized bicycles or mopeds
  • Motor-driven cycles
  • Motor scooters
  • Autocycles
  • Cab-enclosed motorcycles
  • Manufactured homes
  • Mobile homes
  • Trailers
  • Semitrailers

Sorry, but your golf cart is still going to need a front license plate.

Even golf carts need a front license plate in Ohio

Penalties for Failing to Have a Front License Plate

There’s been a push by some lawmakers to eliminate the front license plate requirement or at least to reduce it to a secondary offense with limited penalties. But so far, none of the bills introduced to change the regulations have passed. Law enforcement and officials from the Ohio Department of Public Safety say front license plates help identify drivers who have broken the law.

Even though a front license plate is required, some Ohio drivers still cruise around without one. They think it’s no big deal - until it is.

What can happen if you drive in Ohio without a front license plate? You can:

  • Be found guilty of a minor misdemeanor.
  • Be stopped by a police officer, which could lead to further fines.
  • Be slapped with a ticket if the officer cites you for another offence.
  • Get ticketed while you are legally parked - the fine is $100.

Even if you have a front license plate you could still get in trouble if it isn’t displayed properly. The front license plate has to be well secured so that it doesn’t move at all. You also can’t have anything obstructing the license plates.

Bottomline: you need to have both a back and front license plate to legally drive a vehicle that’s registered in Ohio.

Image sources in order of appearance: Wikimedia , Wikimedia

Krista Doyle
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