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license plate law

If someone commits a crime in California and drives away from the scene, then hopefully a witness will be able to write down the license plate number in order to help authorities track down the offender. Seems pretty straight forward. However, what if the offender recently purchased a new vehicle? That is where things get complicated.

Under California law, a newly purchased vehicle are not required to display for up to 90 days. If somebody commits a crime with a brand new vehicle, there is a fairly good chance that there will not be a license plate.

Two investigations on the aforementioned problem in 2013 led Assembly Speaker pro Tempore Kevin Mullin (D-San Mateo) to work tirelessly for three years to change the law, starting first with AB 516, which had been hindering police investigations, KTVU reports. Towards the end of last month, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the new statewide license plate law.

California is the only state that allowed for the three (3) month grace period. The new law requires a temporary numbered plate to be attached to all vehicles before leaving the dealer lot. The law should go into effect on January 1, 2019.

“This will create for the first time in the state of California a temporary license plate program,” said Mullin. 

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This new law will assist with crime investigations for offenses like drunk driving, robbery, vehicular manslaughter, and hit and run to name a few.

Ronald G. Brower is a criminal defense attorney in Southern California. Based out of Orange County, Attorney Brower has represented individuals charged with crimes in state and federal court.

Contact the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower online or by telephone at 714-997-4400.

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