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Appeals court says don't hide letters on Florida license plates

Turns out, you can be pulled over for covering any part of your license plate.

An appeals court released an opinion Wednesday that upheld a previous rule put in place in 2015.

That rule states, “all letters, numerals, printing, writing, and other identification marks upon the plates regarding the word ‘Florida,’ the registration decal, and the alphanumeric designation shall be clear and distinct and free from defacement, mutilation, grease, and other obscuring matter, so that they will be plainly visible and legible at all times 100 feet from the rear or front.”

You can read the full opinion here .

The defendant was stopped for the words “MyFlorida.com” being obscured by a tag frame. The trial court said this was illegal. The defendants car was then searched and the officer found drugs in the car. The driver was charged with a narcotics offense.

The appeals court said because words were obstructed, the stop was legal, not illegal as the lower court had ruled.

“It’s very, very clear. All letters, numeral, printing writing, the registration decal, and the alphanumeric designation shall be clear and distinct and free from defacement, mutilation, grease, and other obscuring matter, so that they will be plainly visible and legible at all times 100 feet from the rear or front,” Noelle Branning with the Lee County Tax Collector office said.

That very law was the reason a Central Florida woman received a $140 fine.

“We’re not talking about the Florida or the Sunshine State part, but the tag itself. Being pulled over for all the other things being obstructed is not going to be so common,” Phil Mullen with the Cape Coral Police Department said.

The appeals court disagreeing with the lower court’s decision means the case will be sent back for further proceedings.

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