Does Louisiana Require Front License Plates?

Louisiana is one of 19 states that do not require front license plates.
Written by Amber Reed
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
In
Louisiana
, you are only required to display one license plate on the rear of your vehicle. 
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Does Louisiana require front license plates?

No, front license plates are not required in Louisiana. 
While it may be the norm in most states, Louisiana does not require vehicles to have a license plate on the front, regardless of what kind of vehicle it is. 
According to
Louisiana Revised Statute § 32:53
, dump trucks and large trucks with a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 pounds or more are permitted to have their license plate on the front of the vehicle. 

What’s the penalty for driving without a license plate in Louisiana?

It’s illegal to drive in Louisiana with no license plate, and a law enforcement officer may impound your car if they pull you over for driving without one. In addition, you’ll be subject to a fine amounting to 25% of the annual cost of a license plate. Louisiana license plate fees are tied to the sales price of the vehicle, so your fine would depend on what kind of car you have.  
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Which US states do not require a front license plate?

There are 18 other states that join Louisiana in the one-plate-only rule, and they’re predominantly fellow Southern states. Of the states that border Louisiana, only Texas requires license plates on the front and the back of vehicles.
Here’s the complete list of states that require a rear license plate only:
  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Kansas 
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma 
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • West Virginia

Why some states require a front license plate (and some don’t)

So, what’s the deal? Why do some states require that you have two plates, and some only one?
One argument against front plates is that they disrupt the aesthetics and aerodynamics of the vehicle, and may also interfere with proper air intake through the front grille. Additionally, some claim that front license plates interfere with the performance of driver-assistance technologies like forward collision warning and emergency braking. Is that actually true? We can’t say for sure, but those are the claims.
On the other hand, front license plates play a vital role in assisting law enforcement. They make speeding and red-light-running detection cameras more effective, as they can quickly capture people coming and going.  They’re also useful in solving hit-and-run crimes, as the front license plate will often come off or leave an impression at the scene. 
Lastly, they also help police recover stolen vehicles. Having a front and a back license plate essentially makes it twice as easy to identify a vehicle, and greatly increases the chances of law enforcement successfully recovering it. Depending on where in Louisiana you live, car theft might be a major concern. 
While Louisiana as a state ranks roughly in the middle when it comes to car theft, the New Orleans-Metairie area has some of the highest rates of car theft in the nation.  
According to the FBI, there were 4,686 vehicles stolen from this area in 2020. That breaks down to 368 car thefts for every 100,000 people, which is well above the national average of 246 per 100,000 people. To make matters worse, this trend showed a steep increase in 2021.
Baton Rouge
is also struggling with sharply increasing rates of car theft in the past few years. 
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