2020 Bills

SB 85: No Front License Plate? Now You’ll Be Pulled Over

This bill was never voted on.

Libertas Institute opposes this bill

Staff review of this legislation finds that it violates our principles and must therefore be opposed.

Update: Senator Sandall has notified us that he will not be advancing this bill during this legislative session.

Under current law, Utahns are required to mount a front and rear license plate on their vehicle. According to state officials, approximately one-in-five cars on Utah roads do not have a plate on the front of their vehicle.

The current law specifies that violation of this law is only a secondary offense, meaning that it cannot be the primary purpose for which a person is pulled over by a police officer. Senator Scott Sandall is proposing Senate Bill 85, which would make this a primary offense.

This means that law enforcement would now have a reason to pull over 1/5 of Utah drivers at their discretion, simply because they do not have a front license plate. This gives them an opportunity to potentially search for items in the vehicle, including cash or contraband, pursue civil asset forfeiture, and generate significant revenue for the government from the infraction fines that would be charged.

We favor legislation that repeals the requirement to have a front license plate, as one is sufficient for identification by law enforcement. Further, the widespread non-compliance with the current law gives far too broad of discretion to the government to begin enforcing this as a primary offense to pull people over and potentially cause other altercations.