Q&A - Front Licence Plate Ticket

Q&A ImageBC law that requires a front licence plate on most vehicles. To mount a front plate on my vehicle requires that I punch a hole in the bumper. I don't want to do that.

As an alternative, I had an exact replica of my plate created (size, colour, etc) as a decal/sticker and attached that to my bumper.

It is 100% as visible and effective as the original plate, I know that officers have commented on the front plate being easier for identification in some cases. In fact, the decal is even more effective than the original plate because it's easier to clean.

I just received a $109 ticket for failure to display the actual plate. Considering the extent to which I have gone to comply with the law, I think this is ridiculous. 

The ticket was issued by RCMP highway patrol near Summerland. 

Is there any point in disputing this? Will the court listen to logic or simply, like the officer, go with the most literal interpretation of the law?

Is It a Licence Plate?

image of sample bc licence plate

The crux of the matter is if your decal can be considered to be a number plate or not.

"number plate" means the following:

(a) a number plate issued under this Act;

(b) if a validation decal is issued under this Act for attachment to a number plate, the number plate with the validation decal;

Your decal was not issued under the Motor Vehicle Act, so it is not a number plate.


13  (1) A person commits an offence if the person drives, operates, parks or is in charge of a motor vehicle or trailer on a highway

(b) without displaying on it, in the manner prescribed, the number plates issued or designated by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia or otherwise prescribed to be displayed on that motor vehicle or trailer for the current licence year of that motor vehicle or trailer

Looking at section 13, I would expect that BC number plates are issued by ICBC and number plates issued for vehicles licensed in other jurisdictions are "otherwise prescribed."

So, unless your decal was issued to you by ICBC to put on the vehicle or ICBC designated it as sufficient for use, I don't think that you have a reason to dispute that the court would accept.

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Display and Use of Number Plates

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I also have the same problem with a custom bumper on my restored car I took the ICBC plate and lathered the back of it with Silicone and taped the plate in place until the silicone dried.The plate has been on there for about three years now and still is attached like the day I put it on 

I always wondered about the legitimacy of the decals on the back of Translink buses which are yield signs.The fact they are on a moving object seems a bit dodgy on its own,but now you have posted this about the decal plate,I wonder if this is an angle to dispute your ticket with.If you were to make your own plate out of plastic and it appeared  identical to an"ICBC" plate,would you also be in violation.You are allow to use a photocopy of the insurance and registration.Its comforting to know that the RCMP in the Okanogan have all other crimes covered,and can focus on clearing the roads of major criminals, such as yourself.

The yield sign is required by section 169.1 MVA to give effect to the need to yield and let the bus proceed from the curb in places where the speed limit is 60 km/h or less.

I would reduce your fine to $1 if I was the one making the decision - if you were able to satisfy me that all that you've said is accurate.  You will have a chance to cross-examine the constable; show him a photo of your vehicle in the exact state that it was in at the time of ticket being issued, and have him confirm exactly what's been done by you to comply with the spirit and purpose of the act.  You are technically in breach.  I can see the Court having considerable sympathy for you, and doing what can be done to reduce the penalty.  Who knows, the charge might be stayed if you pursue your defence.....I would fight it.

I’ve heard this complaint before (not the decal of the plate but not being able to mount a front plate to an import) and people fail to realize that there are a number of plate holders available for all makes and models.

A simple search of “no drill licence plate holder” on Google gives you endless options regardless of the make and model!

I bet the local dealership or even a used car lot will have an option too as they deal with imports as well.