A law that's been on the books in New Jersey for years that could cause you to get a $100 ticket -- even if you weren't responsible for doing what's illegal -- is getting closer to changing.

As it currently stands, if you have a frame around your license plate that covers any portion of any number or letter, a police officer can stop you and give you a ticket.

Yes, any portion of any number or letter. That includes the words "Garden State" and "New Jersey" at the top and bottom. That means that even if the large letters and numbers of your registration are not obstructed in any way, shape, or form, but the name of the state is partially blocked by the frame, a $100 ticket could be in your future.

The law, considered by more and more people to be ridiculous, is slowly changing.

Progress in Trenton

According to NJ.com, the Assembly’s version of a bill to rework that law, "took a major step when the transportation committee unanimously voted 11-0 Thursday to release the bill for a future vote by the full Assembly, if it’s posted by the speaker."

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That bill would permit license plate frames as long as the information on them can be "reasonably identified."

Classic car with obstructed NJ license plate - Photo by Edgar Moran on Unsplash
Classic car with obstructed NJ license plate - Photo by Edgar Moran on Unsplash
According to the state judiciary, 501,699 summonses were issued in the five years between 2017 and 2021 for license plate violations. -NJ.com

The need for change

State Sen. Pat Diegnan highlighted the need for the change because many people don't even know they're breaking the law or when they bought a car, a dealer put a frame on their vehicle without their consent.

Last summer, the state Supreme Court ruled that it’s not a violation if partially covered markings are still legible.

What's next?

The full Assembly needs to vote on the proposed legislation. When that may happen is unknown. Until then, keep those license plate frames off of your car in the Garden State.

With prior reporting from Townsquare Media's David Matthau.

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