When we think of traffic tickets, we typically think of speeding, running a red light, or other clear violations of traffic laws. But did you know that in Idaho, you could actually get a ticket for having a dirty license plate?

Idaho License Plates Laws

It seems excessive to fine someone for something that's largely out of their control, doesn't it? But according to Idaho Code 49-428, Display of Plate and Stickers, it’s illegal to drive a car with a license plate that's not clearly visible and legible.

If your license plate is covered in dirt or grime, you could be risking a ticket and a fine. At first, this may seem like an outrageous or unfair law, but when you think about it, it actually makes sense. 

Photo by Will Smith on Unsplash
Photo by Will Smith on Unsplash
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The purpose of Idaho Code 49-428 is to ensure Idaho law enforcement officers can identify and track drivers on the road.

If a license plate is too dirty or obscured, it can be hard to read and could potentially hinder investigations. Idaho, where winters can be harsh and snowy, it's especially important to keep license plates clear and clean.  

The dirtier your Idaho license, the more likely you are to get a ticket.

Snow, ice, and dirt can easily accumulate on license plates during the winter months, making it difficult to read them. That's why it's important to regularly wipe down your license plate and make sure it's free from debris. 

Also, Idaho license plates also have registration stickers that must remain visible at all times. If these stickers are covered up by dirt or caked-on grimy snow, you could get pulled over if an officer believes you’re intentionally concealing expired registration. 

Idaho & California have similar license plate laws.

It's worth noting that this law isn't unique to Idaho. In fact, many other states have similar laws that require license plates to be clean and visible. For example, in California, it's illegal to drive a car with a license plate that’s not clearly visible.  

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Idaho License Plates Fines

If you’re issued a ticket for a dirty license plate in Idaho, the fine can vary depending on the circumstances. Typically, it's considered a minor traffic violation, which could result in a fine of up to $67. Thankfully, a dirty license plate isn't a criminal offense and won’t result in points on your driver's license. 

Pro-tip: keep your Idaho license plate clean!

While it may seem silly to get a ticket for a dirty license plate, it's important to remember that this law exists for a reason. Ensuring that license plates are clean and legible is an important part of keeping our roads safe and making it easier for law enforcement officers to do their jobs.

So, if you're driving in Idaho, take a few extra minutes to wipe down your license plate and ensure that it's free from debris. It could save you from a ticket and help keep everyone on the road a little bit safer. 

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