2017 ORS 803.550¹
Illegal alteration or display of plates
  • exception
  • penalty

(1) A person commits the offense of illegal alteration or illegal display of a registration plate if the person knowingly does any of the following:

(a) Illegally alters a registration plate in a manner described in subsection (2) of this section.

(b) Causes a registration plate to be illegally displayed as described in subsection (3) of this section.

(c) Operates any vehicle that is displaying a registration plate that is illegally altered in a manner described in subsection (2) of this section or that is illegally displayed as described in subsection (3) of this section.

(d) Owns and causes or permits a vehicle to display a registration plate that is illegally altered in a manner described in subsection (2) of this section or that is illegally displayed as described in subsection (3) of this section.

(2) A registration plate is illegally altered for purposes of this section if the plate has been altered, modified, covered or obscured in any manner including, but not limited to, the following:

(a) Any change of the color, configuration, numbers, letters or material of the plate.

(b) Any material or covering, other than a frame or plate holder, placed on, over or in front of the plate that alters the appearance of the plate.

(c) Any frame or plate holder that obscures the numbers, letters or registration stickers, so as to render them unreadable.

(3) A registration plate is illegally displayed for purposes of this section if the plate:

(a) Is displayed on a vehicle other than the vehicle for which the plate was issued; or

(b) Displays registration stickers that contain an expiration date that is different from the expiration date shown upon the vehicle registration records of the Department of Transportation.

(4) Subsection (2) of this section does not apply to the following:

(a) Any placement of registration stickers described under ORS 803.555 (Replacement).

(b) Any public official who displays or performs any alteration of a registration plate in the course of official duties.

(c) Any special interest registration plate approved under ORS 805.210 (Special interest vehicle plates).

(5) Subsection (3)(a) of this section does not apply to a vehicle dealer authorized to use and operate vehicles displaying the dealer’s plates under ORS 822.040 (Privileges granted by certificate).

(6) A person does not commit the offense of illegal alteration or illegal display of a registration plate if, at the time the conduct described in subsection (3)(b) of this section occurs, the person has proof of registration of the vehicle but has not yet received new registration stickers from the department. The proof of vehicle registration is valid 30 days from the date of issuance. The department shall adopt rules regarding what constitutes proof of vehicle registration under this subsection.

(7) The court shall dismiss any charge under this section if, prior to the court appearance date listed on the citation, the person charged delivers to the clerk of the court named on the citation proof of registration of the vehicle at the time of the violation.

(8) The offense described in this section, illegal alteration or illegal display of a registration plate, is a Class B traffic violation. [1985 c.243 §2; 2007 c.192 §1; 2015 c.154 §1]

Notes of Decisions

Frame or plate holder that obscures word “Oregon” does not obscure “letters.” State v. Stearns, 196 Or App 272, 101 P3d 811 (2004)

Chapter 803

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Applica­tion of Article XI, sec­tion 11b of Oregon Constitu­tion to fees imposed under this chapter, (1991) Vol 46, p 447

1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 803—Vehicle Title and Registration, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors803.­html (2017) (last ac­cessed Mar. 30, 2018).
 
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2017, Chapter 803, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano803.­html (2017) (last ac­cessed Mar. 30, 2018).
 
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent.