Driving with a badly lit license plate, what are the risks?

License plate legislation

When you put your vehicle on the road, on the public highway, you must respect a few rules so that your car is well recognizable. Apart from the traditional position lights and stop lights, you must also be careful to have license plates in good standing. For this, the law provides some recommendations:

Your plates must be legible, not damaged and not hidden. The number must be easily identifiable, not only by the police, but also by other motorists.

At the front of the vehicle, a retro-reflective license plate must be installed. This allows for better identification at night, thanks to the reflection of other motorists’ headlights.

At the rear of your car, make sure you have a retro-reflective licence plate and a plate light. This is mandatory. Your license plate number must be readable from a minimum distance of 20 meters.

The different sanctions relating to license plates

If your vehicle is not in compliance with the law, you may be reprimanded by the authorities. And this, of course, concerns faulty license plates. Here are different cases that are sanctioned by the police:

Driving without license plates: Beware, if you choose to drive without license plates, you better be prepared to pay the full price! The fine for this infraction can go up to 3750€. In addition, you may be subject to a suspension of your driving license for a period of 3 years, and have your car confiscated. These sanctions are also applicable if you deliberately conceal part of the numbers and letters on your license plate, or knowingly change the number.

Using plates that are too reflective : If you use non-regulatory reflective plates, they will appear white when you are flashed by an automatic radar. If, at first glance, this seems convenient, consider that it is not without consequences if you are spotted by the police. You risk a 5th class fine of up to 1500€. You may also get a three-year licence suspension and a 6-point withdrawal.

Driving with damaged or dirty plates: If it seems accidental, you should know that driving with dirty or damaged plates can be punished by the authorities. Your license plate number must be visible in all circumstances. In the case of uncleaned or damaged plates, the fines are now 4th class. You may therefore have to pay 135€.

The case of badly lit license plates : If your license plate is badly lit and therefore not readable at night at 20 meters, you will also be fined. For this infraction, you risk a fine ranging from 45€ to 90€.

As you can see, it is not advisable at all to drive with non-conforming or unreadable license plates. Be careful and check that your license plate illumination is working properly. If you find a defect, don’t delay to act, to avoid the penalty.