AZ must be visible on license plates or drivers face fine

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Cops can pull you over starting Jan. 1

PHOENIX - If you have a car, listen up. You are going to want to take a close look at your license plate before the first of the year.

If you have a license plate cover that obscures the word " Arizona" you could get pulled over come January 1. This affects hundreds of thousands of drivers.

It is difficult to drive around and not see license plate frames these days. People usually have them on the back of their cars to make a statement.

Nevertheless, their big statements could be interpreted as being illegal come January. Not because of what the frames show, but what the frames do not show.

Cydney Demodica is with the Arizona Department of Motor Vehicles. She explains, "License plate frames are going to have to allow the State of Arizona to be shown at the top of the AZ license plate."

State lawmakers have apparently added a sentence to the statute that regulates license plates. It now reads every license plate should be "clearly legible so that the name of this state at the top of the license plate is not obscured."

You might not think it is obscured but if the cop behind thinks the word "Arizona" is not clearly visible, you can be pulled over.

Demodica clarifies, "Law enforcement can cite people for not having the state of Arizona visible."

License plate frames that totally block the state's name will be illegal. As for frames that partially block the state's name, it will be up to the officer to decide to cite you or not.

You can still have a license plate frame and you can still make your statement, just make sure that statement doesn't cover the word "Arizona."

The tickets are going to be pricey. Each city will come up with its own penalty but you can pretty much count on citations costing around $140 or more.