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All California Cars Must Have License Plates Starting January 1

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - Starting January 1 any car bought or leased and driven off a car dealership lot must have temporary license plates.

Assembly Bill 516 was signed by Governor Jerry Brown in 2016. It requires dealers to place temporary tags on cars, instead of paper advertisements. Drivers who use temporary tags assigned to other cars, or manufacture a temporary license plate, would face felony charges if they're caught.

READ ALSO: New Bill Would Make Breaking Into An Unlocked Car A Crime

Currently, dealers issue drivers a numbered report-of-sale document and submit a registration application to the DMV. The DMV then issues drivers 2 license plates, one of the front and one for the back. Drivers are responsible for putting those plates on their newly purchased or leased vehicle within 90 days of their purchase date. On average, license plates are received between 14 and 30 days after the sale goes through.

Before 2011, drivers had 180 days to install a license plate. The state approved AB 1215 to cut that time down to 90 days, as a way to close the "Steve Jobs" loophole. According to IT Wire, Jobs apparently realize California allowed a driver to have no plates for up to 6 months after buying or leasing a vehicle, so he would trade in his Mercedes just as time expired - giving him another 180-day window.

SEE ALSO: Using Your Phone While Driving May Add Point To Your Driving Record

In addition to allowing law enforcement to identify drivers, the new law also came about as a way to cut down on parking and toll evaders. The state estimates toll evaders who have no license plates reduce toll revenue by approximately $15 million a year.

35 other states require temporary license plates.



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