Vehicle Code 5200 VC - Display of License Plates

Have you recently received a citation for a Vehicle Code 5200 VC violation and you’re curious about what it means, as well as why you received it? You’ll learn all about it below, including some of the most important details, such as:

What is Vehicle Code 5200 VC?

The best place to start, when it comes to understanding a Vehicle Code 5200 VC violation, is with the California legislation! This reads: “When two license plates are issued by the department for use upon a vehicle, they shall be attached to the vehicle for which they were issued, one in the front and the other in the rear. […] When only one license plate is issued for use upon a vehicle, it shall be attached to the rear thereof, unless the license plate is issued for use upon a truck tractor, in which case the license plate shall be displayed in accordance with Section 4850.5.”

While legislation often does hold a confusing and convoluted tone, this one isn’t too tricky. It says that you must put both DMV-certified license plates on your vehicle when you receive them. If you only get one license plate, it must go on the back of your vehicle.

What does it mean to have violated Vehicle Code 5200 VC?

It sounds obvious and straightforward, right? The thing is, a Vehicle Code 5200 VC violation is more common than you’d think, and it’s important to understand it. Let’s put Jose, our California driver, into the situation and see the different forms this violation can take.

Jose receives his two plates from the DMV and he puts one on the front of his car, but gets distracted or called away and forgets to put the matching one on the back of the car. When he goes to drive to work, he has the correct plate on its front, but none on its back, which would be a Vehicle Code 5200 VC violation.

In another similar situation, Jose receives his DMV license plate (or plates, but he doesn’t feel like going out to attach them to his vehicle. He decides that it’s inconvenient and a waste of time and simply decides to stick them in the filing cabinet, or even throws them out. He is driving with an invalid (or no) license plate. This would also be a Vehicle Code 5200 VC violation.

In a third situation, Jose receives only one license plate and, because he thought it looked better, attaches the license plate to the front of the truck deliberately instead of the back. If only 1 license plate is issued by the DMV it must go on the back of the vehicle. This means that Jose can be pulled over that cited for a Vehicle Code 5200 VC violation.

While this legislation example is pretty straight-forward, there are a few situations where a Vehicle Code 5200 VC would be considered inaccurate and invalid. For example, there was an emergency where Jose was incapable of attaching his license plate to his vehicle and he had to drive his car without it in place. The emergency could be either something physically blocking the place to secure the plate (such as a pest or an animal), or it could be a situation where the plates are inside the home and there is a fire or floor and Jose is unable to safely get into his home to retrieve his plates.

In these cases, a Vehicle Code 5200 VC violation wouldn’t be realistic since the situation is outside of his control. The violation must be a deliberate and willing activity to not attach the license plates correctly.

What can I do about this violation?

Receiving a Vehicle Code 5200 VC violation is considered an infraction. The punishment, if you are guilty and plead as so, is a fine of $197. Since this is considered a “minor” violation (though it is still very important to take seriously, so keep that in mind), there would be no points assessed or taken off when it comes to your license.

That being said, if you don’t feel that you are guilty of a Vehicle Code 5200 VC violation, you can consult with a lawyer and plead your case if you wish. Saying you are guilty even if you are innocent is just as serious as trying to plead innocent when you are guilty, after all. Just because the fine is minimal doesn’t mean that you simply have to take it if you think you are innocent and can prove it.

Other possible Vehicle Code violation connections

There are a few similar violations that can often be connected to a Vehicle Code 5200 VC violation. Some of the most popular ones include:

  • Vehicle Code 4461 VC: This is similar to the below offense and it means that you aren’t allowed to give your plates to someone else.
  • Vehicle Code 4462.5 VC: This offense means that you have registration stickers or license plates that are mismatched to your vehicle (ie: they don’t match DMV records).
  • Vehicle Code 4463 VC: This violation means that you have tampered with the license plates, which are DMV-issued and a crime to deliberately modify.
  • Vehicle Code 26708 VC: Being issued this violation means that you’ve illegally tinted any or all of your windows.

Depending on the peace officer who issued the ticket, as well as the scenario that led to the Vehicle Code 5200 VC violation, one or more of these could be added to your citation. Or, one or more of these could be used in place of a Vehicle Code 5200 VC violation, depending on what is considered to be the most accurate.

Is this ticket eligible for traffic school?

This particular ticket is not eligible for traffic school. This is because eligibility to an accredited traffic school, including MM TRAFFIC SCHOOL, the citation must be for a moving violation. An example of this would be failing to stop for an emergency vehicle. Since this ticket is not considered a moving violation, traffic school wouldn’t apply.

Not sure or want more information on this? Please feel free to contact us and we’ll happily explain this in detail for you. You can also go ahead and reach out to the court that issued your ticket, too, as they would be more familiar with your actual case itself.

How can I avoid a citation for a Vehicle Code 5200 VC violation?

Like a lot of the “minor” and non-moving citation violations, avoiding a Vehicle Code 5200 VC violation is relatively simple. Firstly, make sure that you fully understand how to properly mount your license plates. This is especially so if you receive only 1 license plate and you want to make sure that you mount it properly and legally. There is lots of information online to help you with this, and you can also call the DMV and ask, if you want to, just to make sure. If you are a new driver or you’ve never received license plates to put on your car before, this is perfectly reasonable and a great idea!

Further, you’ll want to make sure that you always check that your license plates are securely in place after any kind of situation where you put wear and tear on the vehicle. For example, you accidentally hit your vehicle near your plates with a basketball, or you hit a pile of dirt or rocks while reversing. Since the securing part holding on the license plates in place can come loose, especially after direct contact with something foreign, it’s always a good idea to make sure that they are still in place tightly and not lopsided or falling off.

Finally, when you are securing your license plate to your car, make sure that you do it properly.  Give it a tug at the corners and sides to see if you can take it off with your fingers. If you can, tighten it. The goal is to make sure that the plates are securely in place so that they don’t fall off and earn you a Vehicle Code 5200 VC violation, after all! Always remember: receiving a Vehicle Code 5200 VC violation means that you are intentionally failing to put the license plate on the wrong way. If you don’t do it yourself or it’s an emergency situation that can’t be reasonably controlled, the violation wouldn’t stick.



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