Illegal Private Plates

Step 8. Is your plate illegal?

Think about the word that your plate could spell. Does it require any kind of space modification? If you need to change your spacing or configuration to spell out a word or phrase to maintain its meaning then the value of your plate could be sorely diminished. Take this into account when valuing your plate as you can be sure that prospective buyers probably will.

Some data from North Yorkshire Police makes interesting reading. Via a freedom of information request, it transpires that in 2008 they “dealt with” 543 motorists for misrepresenting number plates, and issued 762 fixed penalty notices. It looks as though the police aren’t shy in arresting people multiple times for number plate misdemeanours.

In rare circumstances I have read that the DVLA will take back registrations, so take care if you are displaying a plate outside of DVLA regulations. You will typically receive two letters before this including a request for photographic evidence that you have corrected your mis-spaced registration plate. But don’t rely on this as a motive for breaking the law. It’s your hard-earned plate and you should do what you can to minimise the risk of losing it. Also note that the maximum fine is £1,000 for committing this offence.

See how Bobby could potentially break the law by mis-spacing or using a bit of old black electrical tape. Bad Bobby.

BOB 3Y, BOB BY, BOB3Y
Regular spacing A nice bit of electrical tape Where’s that space gone?

Please note: At the end of 2013 all 39 local DVLA offices closed and the DVLA transferred all dealings to its national centre at Swansea. If your vehicle was registered before the end of 2013 then the street view map shown on the car registration page will point to the original office despite the fact that the office has closed.