Miami Man's License Plate Frame Leads to Ticket

You can see them in every parking lot or when driving down any street. Thousands of Florida vehicles sport a license plate frame.

But one driver now thinks he would have been better off without one.

A Miami police officer stopped Alvaro Alves because one of his lights wasn't working. He had a backup light and offered to fix it on the spot. But the officer pointed out what he considered another problem.

"You have this frame," he recalls what the officer said. "This is illegal in Florida."

Alves says the officer told him the frame obstructed the view of the license plate. But Alves pointed out that his tag number and registration decal were fully in view.

"He couldn't see the "MyFlorida.com" and the Sunshine State wording," Alves said.

Miami Police spokesperson Kenia Fallat says you can't cover any part of your plate.

"It can’t cover where it says Florida, or Sunshine State, on the very bottom," she said.

Florida law says you must be able to read “all letters, numerals, printing, writing, and other identification marks…” so that an officer can read your tag.

"It’s not something that people know," she said. "But if it’s a small frame and it doesn’t cover anything on the tag then it’s ok." 

Daniel Gonzalez, an attorney with the Ticket Clinic believes it's all about how the law is interpreted.  

"I don’t think that this plate (Alves') is in violation of what the statute intends to be a violation," he said.  "If you want to extrapolate this sentence and say nothing should be on the face of a Florida license plate, then yeah, technically this is on the face, but the cops don’t need to see florida.com."

Gonzalez agreed to take Alves' case for free.

A judge dismissed the ticket after seeing proof that the frame has been removed.

Gonzalez recommends instead of risking a ticket, you can remove the frame. He says a police officer can issue a ticket even if the car is parked with no one inside.

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