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Feb 14

License Plate Law Going Into Effect Jan. 1 To Help With Toll Evasion ... and Crime Reduction

Posted on February 14, 2019 at 5:37 PM by Deputy Aaron Scheller

Happy New Year, everyone. In this month’s blog I want to talk about a state bill that goes into effect January 1, and will help law enforcement in detecting and apprehending criminals. Assembly Bill 516, referred to as the “Electronic Report of Sale and Temporary License Plate” bill was actually created with California toll roads in mind.

EZPass Express

The bill aims to tackle the issue of a sizeable loss of toll revenue that has occurred as a result of individuals who circumvent paying toll charges by not having license plates installed on their vehicles. I’ve heard the loss of funds amounts to close to one million dollars every year.

Essentially, AB 516 mandates car dealerships to submit information about every sold vehicle, new or used, to the DMV at the point of sale so that vehicles can be immediately assigned a license plate number that can be printed and affixed to be vehicle before it is driven out of the lot.


Why is this important? Well, it’s very common for criminals to drive vehicles without license plates or with temporary paper plates advertising the dealership where the car was purchased. These vehicles tend to look newer and appear to have been recently purchased because they lack a license plate, which allows criminals to commit a crime and avoid being identified by the vehicle license plate number.

When a vehicle is used in a crime, the license plate number – complete or partial – greatly increases the chance of the criminal being located and apprehended. Many crimes have been solved and criminals caught when a vigilant individual witnesses a crime and is able to jot down a license plate and provide it to law enforcement, or when surveillance footage in or near the vicinity of the crime location captures the vehicle, and later obtained during the post-crime investigation. Without a license plate number, solving crimes becomes tougher if not improbable … and every unsolved case makes criminals that much more brazen knowing they stand a good chance of fleeing the scene and escaping apprehension.

Starting January 1, law enforcement will be able to stop vehicles with missing license plate information and either warn or cite the driver for the infraction. During this traffic stop, the driver must show their valid driver license and proof of insurance so that the law enforcement officer can identify the driver. Individuals who attach fraudulent license plate information to their vehicle will be committing a misdemeanor and can be arrested for “defrauding the DMV.”

CA License Plates

If you are among those who are procrastinating attaching license plates on your vehicle, take a moment to take care of the matter today – when you do, you become part of the solution of reducing crime in our community.

As always, thanks for subscribing to Safety Speak. If you have any public safety-related questions or concerns you want to share with the City or the Diamond Bar-Walnut Sheriff's Department, or if you have suggestions for topics to cover in this blog, be sure to let me know using the Ask a Deputy feature.