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New York License Plate Offenses

Vehicle and Traffic Laws 392-a, 2130, and 402 all control and punish criminal conduct associated with license plates. Convictions of Vehicle and Traffic Laws (VTL) 392-a and 2130 yield surprisingly stern punishments for mere violations of the New York traffic law.

If you have been accused of falsifying, obstructing, or counterfeiting license plates, call our experienced team of traffic attorneys today. Our experienced traffic attorneys will protect your rights. Call us for a free consultation today.

VTL 392-a punishes selling or offering to sell license, non-driver id cards, registration certificates, and license plates as a misdemeanor in the first instance, but, upon a second conviction VTL 392-a violations are punished as class E felonies, the maximum penalty is 4 years in prison and a fine of $5000.00 or double the gain obtained through the criminal acts. VTL 2130 prohibits various conduct that is associated with illegally modifying, fabricating, counterfeiting, or falsely pretending to be another person in relation to Department of Motor Vehicles documents. VTL 2130(5) prohibits creating fake license plates and possessing machines for making fake license plates. Creation of fake plates or possessing the machines to make them is a class E felony and the maximum penalty is 4 years in prison and a fine of up to $5000.00 or double the gain obtained through the crime. Other crimes under the New York Penal Law may also apply to these acts.

VTL 402 charges are the least serious of the three. Subdivision 1(b) of VTL 402 prohibits driving with obstructed, damaged, or obscured plates. Since roughly 2005, manufacturers have sold spray on formulas that are invisible to the eye, but, obstruct the cameras and equipment required for reading tolls. This formula cost the state a great deal of money in tolls. The statute is plainly worded with the offending spray in mind. It covers other types of obstructions as well, including, but not limited to: tinted frames that darken the plate so it can’t be read, having mud on the plate, bending or concealing the plate so that it is out of sight, having the plate covered in snow and road debris, and removing lettering from the license plate. VTL 402 convictions yield a violation with a maximum penalty of a $200.00 fine.

VTL 392-a prohibits the sale of faked or fenced Department of Motor Vehicles documents, including license plates. License plates are easy to reproduce using rudimentary metal stamping equipment and paint available at the hardware store. Anyone considering trying to stamp fake license plates for another person to make some quick money should be very wary. As stated above VTL 392-a carries with it a surprisingly strict punishment for a traffic offense, a misdemeanor crime in the first instance, and a class E felony in the case one is convicted a second time within 10 years of the first conviction.

How would the police know that a person has created a fake license plate, is using a stolen plate, has a fabricated plate, or is selling fake license plates? The police have various methods of investigation that can be used to determine 1) if the license plate on a vehicle is fake and 2) who sold or fabricated the license plate. Digital plate readers are affixed to many police cars in the New York Metro area and these police cars can scan license plates. Should a license plate return a no match or be the same a license plate that is reported stolen, the police may begin investigating. As to creating and selling fake plates, the police may use confidential informants to obtain information regarding such a network. People involved with the scheme to sell the plates may be arrested and coerced into testifying and providing evidence to the police against their former conspirators.

If you or someone you love has been accused of making, selling, or using fake license plates please call our experienced New York traffic lawyers today. Our experienced New York traffic lawyers can argue your case and present you with the best chance to have your charges reduced or dismissed.

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