Am I Required To Have A Front License Plate In Washington State?

If you own a vehicle in Washington State, you may be wondering whether or not you need to display a front license plate. 

Universal Images Group via Getty
Universal Images Group via Getty

What Are The Requirements For Having A Front License Plate In Washington State?

The rules can be complicated, so it's important to understand the requirements to avoid any potential fines. I've seen cars and trucks all over Washington State without a front license plate.

Let's address the question at hand - do you need a front license plate in Washington State?

The answer is yes.

According to state law (RCW 46.16A.200), all vehicles must display two license plates - one on the front and one on the back of the vehicle. Failure to comply with this law could result in a fine of up to $250.

But what if your vehicle doesn't have a bracket or other means to attach a front license plate?

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Unfortunately, this is not an excuse for not displaying one. You may need to get creative with mounting options, such as using adhesive strips or suction cups, but ultimately it is your responsibility as the vehicle owner to ensure both plates are properly displayed.

What Are The Exemptions For Not Having A Front License Plate In Washington State?

It's also worth noting that there are some exceptions to this rule.

For example, motorcycles only require one license plate on the back of the vehicle and are not required to display a front plate.

Similarly, certain types of vehicles such as antique cars or military vehicles may be exempt from front plate requirements.

Wall of colorful old and new license plates in Colorado

So why is it so important for vehicles in Washington State to display two license plates?

One reason is for law enforcement purposes - having both plates easily visible helps officers identify vehicles involved in crimes or traffic violations more quickly and accurately.

credit: ebay/jsmccoy2020
credit: ebay/jsmccoy2020

Additionally, it can help make toll collection more efficient by allowing cameras to capture images of both plates without issue.

If you own a car in Washington State it is crucial that you properly display both front and back license plates. While it may be tempting to ignore this requirement, doing so could result in a hefty fine of $250.

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