• Brad Keating

Understanding the Tennessee Front License Plate Law

Every car in Tennessee must have license plates in the front part of the vehicle. You can notice that just by going out looking at the cars passing by. It's odd to see a vehicle without a license plate attached to it. That's because police officers can stop you if you are driving without a license plate.

You may be used to cars with license plates. However, have you stopped to think why they have it? We are here to answer that question! License plates help law enforcement officers do a better job and find valuable information about the vehicle's owner. That can help you in case you have any problem with your car.

Driving a vehicle without a license plate or having a problem with it represents a class c misdemeanor. Having second and subsequent violations can develop into a serious issue. You don't want to get involved in that kind of trouble. Keep reading this article if you want to know more things about the matter!

You can contact us in case you need legal advice or assistance. Our team of experienced, qualified, and experienced vehicle accident attorneys offer you a free consultation of your case. If you decide to hire us, we can start working on your case as soon as you need it!

Why Do We Need License Plates?

Why Do We Need License Plates?

Unlike what many people think, license plates offer tons of information to the people who see them. That information is helpful for law enforcement officers and detectives. Accessing that information is not difficult, so it's excellent for police investigations and related activities.

The first thing you can notice when looking at a registration plate is that it shows you the state and county in which the license plate was registered. Registration plates issued for cars are not the same as the ones issued for large trucks. Take that into account in case you have any trouble with your vehicle's license plate.

Regardless of that, the most useful part of registration plates is their tags. Introducing the license plate's tag into a police database tells the law enforcement team everything they need to know about the owner of the vehicle.

Police investigations use license plates to have key information to find people trying to escape from the law such as murderers, thieves, and drug dealers. Plates are important because of that. Some places need you to have two license plates on your motor vehicle. However, some others ask for only one plate.

That's also helpful in case someone gets lost. Law enforcement officers can search the driver's information to improve their chances of finding that person. As we mentioned before, it's not common to see drivers without a license plate. Make sure everything on your car is in the right place. By doing that, you avoid having trouble while driving.

How Should my Registration Plate Be?

Not having a license plate is not the only thing that can cause you problems with the police. The law also requires you to place your registration plate in a specific way. If it doesn't follow the parameters established by the law, you can get a fine, and you get a larger fine for second and subsequent violations.

Regardless of that, things are different if the person without a plate is a litigation tax levied pursuant. The law states some specific considerations that must be taken into account regarding that kind of citizen.

Many states require you to have a front license plate. For that reason, every registration plate issued in those states is placed in the front part of the vehicle. Tennessee has different regulations from those states.

Every registration plate issued in Tennessee for cars, motorcycles, and semi-trucks should be attached to the rear of the vehicle. That applies to all non-commercial motor vehicles that get a registration plate. The only vehicles that need to have a front license plate in Tennessee are large trucks and truck tractors.

Other trucks with a manufacturer's ton rating not exceeding three-quarter-ton and that have a pickup body style must have the registration plate issued for them attached to the rear of the vehicle. Registration plates issued for motor homes, regardless of ton rating or body style thereof, should also be placed in the rear part of the motor home.

Avoid having a registration plate issued with the top of such license plate fastened through its right vertical edge or mounted vertically in general. The rear plate should be securely fastened in a horizontal position. As we mentioned before, it also has to be attached to the rear of the vehicle.

Tennessee has similar laws to North Carolina, West Virginia, and South Carolina, so you can take them as an example if you want to understand the law in a better way. One of the reasons why these states don't require you to have front plates is that they can interfere with the vehicle's adaptive cruise control, automatic braking, lane-keep assist, and other safety features.

Regardless of that, most East Coast states require front plates. Your plate needs to be legible and maintained free of foreign materials or tinted materials that change anything about it.

Even if Tennessee doesn't require you to have two plates, if you do, both of them have to be maintained free of foreign materials and tinted materials, too. Some car enthusiasts try to take off front license plates or rear plates from their cars to make them look better.

The fines imposed for doing that can be light at first glance. You have to pay $10 dollars for a first violation and additional fees if you get involved in more misdemeanors, such as a nonmoving traffic violation.

Additionally, the person charged with a lighting violation often pays for statutory fees, court costs, and a clerk's fee. Even if it's a class c misdemeanor, try to avoid getting it. Plates cost money, so make sure to take care of them and follow your state's rules.

Do Passenger Motor Vehicles Need License Plates?

Do Passenger Motor Vehicles Need License Plates?

The short answer is 'yes.' Every motor vehicle in Tennessee needs to have a license plate, even if you have an antique motor vehicle. The only thing that changes depending on the car you have is where you place your plate.

That includes motorcycles, which also need to have a license plate of their rear plate holder. Motorcycle plates are the same regardless of which motorcycle model you have. The same applies to regular cars that need to have a license plate placed in the same spot as others even if they are bigger than other models.

As we mentioned before, all motor vehicles need to have a plate attached to the rear of the vehicle. However, trucks and truck tractors exceeding three-quarter-ton rating with a pickup body style must have a front plate. Other trucks and motor homes, regardless of body style thereof, can have their plate placed on the rear of the truck.

Whether you have a front plate or a rear plate, your license plate has to be securely fastened in a horizontal position. Passenger motor vehicles are not an exception to that. If you don't follow those rules, the offense charged to you can be expensive.

Even if it's the first violation, the person charged still has that fine on their record. Some people don't care about that and say the fines imposed on them are not that expensive. However, what you have to pay goes up if you add court costs to it.


Whether you do it to avoid having trouble with police officers or to make their job easier, make sure your vehicle has a license plate that follows all the parameters required by the law. Remember that having a front plate doesn't save you from getting stopped by an officer if you don't have a rear plate.

The offense charged to you can cause you trouble in the future, so try to avoid that. License plates help law enforcement officers do an overall better job. If they do a good job, you can safely wander around your city knowing that someone is making sure the law is respected by everyone.

That also helps with police investigations to find robbers or dealers. Apart from that, they can also help you recognize your vehicle in a better way. Try to memorize your license plate tag in case anything happens!

Our goal is to help you address all your law-related concerns, including with your license plates. Read more of our articles if you are interested in learning more things about the laws you must follow in your state, including window tint laws and helmet laws. You can always rely on us if you need legal assistance.

Contact us to receive a free consultation of your case! Our team of lawyers at our personal injury law firm is qualified to help you, don't hesitate to call us! We are available for you any time you need. Keep in mind that everything we do is to help you address all your problems.