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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Chicago Suburbs

    Default "Tinted" License Plate Cover

    My question involves vehicle maintenance laws for the State of: Illinois

    I got pulled over the other day for having a "tinted" license plate cover by an IL state cop. I put tinted in quotes because it's clear, but dirty--the cop insisted that it was tinted, but mentioned that clear covers were illegal, so it didn't matter if I thought it was clear.

    I did some research and found that the law changed 2006-Jan-1 to include clear covers--I'm guessing due to the proliferation of red light cams. When I put the cover on, back in 2001, it was not illegal. Although dirty, the plate was still visible from a distance of at least 60 feet (that's the furthest away I could get when I parked it at work). When I got to work, I immediately grabbed a screw driver and removed it--taking before and after pictures. Had I thought about it, I would have asked the cop for a screwdriver. My intent was to keep the plate protected, and not break the law.

    I realize that ignorance of the law does not get me out of the requirement of complying with it. Since I acted immediately, what are the chances of the ticket getting dropped or reduced if I go to court with dated before and after pictures? Also, if the citation is upheld, does this ticket have points associated with it? Looking through the IL code, I couldn't find any mention of it in the point offense or the non-point offenses. It seems silly that I should go to traffic school for a $5 piece of clear plastic.

    Quite honestly, the whole traffic stop surprised me because I saw the cop as I merged onto the highway (traffic was moving at 30mph), and when traffic cleared up, I specifically set the cruise control for 55. The cop tailgated me for about a mile and then pulled me over--I couldn't figure out why until he mumbled at my window. I'm good for an average of one speeder/year, and not once have the cops even mentioned a problem with the license plate cover...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005

    Default Re: "Tinted" License Plate Cover

    What's the exact citation - statute or ordinance? You're telling us that it's not a fix-it ticket?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Chicago Suburbs

    Default Re: "Tinted" License Plate Cover

    Quote Quoting aaron
    View Post
    What's the exact citation - statute or ordinance? You're telling us that it's not a fix-it ticket?
    I wish it were a fix-it, and that's what shocked me the most. It's a full fledged moving violation, citing 625 ILCS 5/12-610.5:

    Sec. 12‑610.5. Registration plate covers.
    (a) In this Section, "registration plate cover" means any tinted,
        colored, painted, marked, clear, or illuminated object that is
        designed to:
        (1) cover any of the characters of a motor vehicle's
            registration plate; or
        (2) distort a recorded image of any of the characters of a
            motor vehicle's registration plate recorded by an automated
            red light enforcement system as defined in Section 1‑105.5
            of this Code or recorded by an automated traffic control system
            as defined in Section 15 of the Automated Traffic Control
            Systems in Highway Construction or Maintenance Zones Act.
        (b) It shall be unlawful to operate any motor vehicle that is
            equipped with registration plate covers.
        (c) A person may not sell or offer for sale a registration plate cover.
        (d) A person may not advertise for the purpose of promoting the sale
            of registration plate covers.
    (e) A violation of this Section or a similar provision of a local
        ordinance shall be an offense against laws and ordinances
        regulating the movement of traffic.
    (Source: P.A. 94‑304, eff. 1‑1‑06.)
    The guy must have been having a bad day and/or was pissed about traffic. He was pretty much a jerk throughout the whole encounter.

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