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Is a vehicle still licensed if its license plates are not displayed?

Fairview Heights, IL |

"Unlicensed motor vehicle" is undefined in the International Property Maintenance Code (which is part of my city's code). My city claims I was not compliant with its code by parking my registered vehicle in my driveway without my license plates installed. The paragraph in question (§ 302.8) reads, "Except as provided for in other regulations, no inoperative or
unlicensed motor vehicle shall be parked, kept or stored on any premises...".

I want to know if a registered vehicle is a licensed vehicle, and whether the city has the jurisdiction to enforce the display of license of plates with this specific paragraph.

Attorney Answers 1


  1. A registered vehicle is a licensed vehicle, and the proof of that is that the license plates are affixed to the outside of the vehicle as required by the vehicle code. The only way a city can tell if a vehicle is registered is by the plates because they can't readily search VIN numbers. Courts routinely uphold these laws and fine people who keep unlicensed vehicles on their premises. The key is that a car without plates cannot be driven and these codes were developed to prevent people from parking undriveable cars on their properties. Hope this helps clarify this code even if it's probably not the answer you were looking for.

    Please be sure to mark the best answer to your question. My answers are general and do not form an attorney-client relationship. I'm happy to talk to prospective clients in my areas of concentration and geographical location.

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