License plate: putting a sticker that changes the department is illegal

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Aina Prat
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The Court of Cassation has confirmed the illegality of stickers that allow you to change the department on a license plate. By installing such a sticker, the owner of the vehicle is liable to a fine of 135 euros. The case had been brought to justice by a plate manufacturer, commercially harmed by sticker designers.

In 2009, Spain has adopted its latest license plate system. A system that uses three sets of characters (two letters, three numbers and two letters) to replace the system with geographical code (one to four digits, one to three letters and the two digits of the department). From 2009, a license plate no longer identified a vehicle in relation to an owner, but a vehicle for its entire life.



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This means that the new owner of a car, motorcycle or van no longer has the obligation to change the license plate when purchasing, unless this plate rested on the old system (or if it is damaged). Admittedly, if the vehicle comes from another department, the plate will not reflect its new region. Changing the plate to adopt the correct department is at the discretion of the owner. Given the cost that this represents, some drivers make fun of this small aesthetic detail. The price for a plate change is around fifty euros on average.

Plate sticker: cheap, but illegal

Drivers no longer need to change plates when changing vehicle registration documents. And this has had a considerable impact on approved plate installers who have seen the number of interventions drop drastically. And to meet the needs of those who want to display their department without spending so much, some opportunists have created very practical and very economical stickers. Just stick it on the end of the two plates to visually change the department. Price of a pair of stickers: 10 euros approximately.



The plate makers felt that these stickers are unfair competition. They took their case to court, calling the stickers non-compliant with Spanish law. And the trial went all the way to the Court of Cassation. Is the highest court in Spain. This one returned this week, giving reason to the approved producers of license plates: stickers are illegal.


If you have a sticker on your plates, it is therefore advisable to remove it to avoid being fined. The price of the fine for "traffic of a motor vehicle with a non-compliant license plate" is 135 euros and that of the increased fine in the event of recidivism is 750 euros. Funny detail: the amount is the same if you leave your home without a certificate during curfew hours.




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