Does New Jersey Require Front License Plates?

When you register a car in New Jersey, you’ll need to have both a front and rear license plate. Get all the facts on this law here.
Written by Cassandra Hamilton
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
New Jersey
is a two-plate state. As such, you need both a front and rear plate on your vehicle in New Jersey. 
You need two
New Jersey license plates
in the Garden State or else you’ll violate the law. States that require two plates often do so because it makes it easier for law enforcement to track down stolen vehicles and identify suspects of crimes. It’s also easier to run plates on vehicles during a traffic stop.
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Does New Jersey require front license plates?

Yes, almost all vehicles in New Jersey need to display both front and rear plates
This is per the New Jersey law
which governs license plate regulations. This legislation requires two license plates at the time of registration which need to be displayed on the front and rear of the vehicle. Plates need to be firmly attached to the vehicle—you can’t simply place them in the front and rear windows. Your plates also need to be fully visible without any kind of obstruction, including clear license plate covers. 
If you have vanity plates or a special plate, you’ll still need a front and rear tag. These types of license plates aren’t exempt from the law.  


Many states make some exemptions to the two-plate law for certain vehicles, but that isn’t the case in New Jersey. The only exception to this law is if you drive a motorcycle. Motorcycles are the only vehicles that can get away with one plate on the rear of the vehicle.
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What is the penalty for driving without a front license plate in New Jersey?

Skipping the front plate in New Jersey means you’re committing a primary violation, which gives law enforcement cause to pull you over and issue a ticket.
A ticket for driving without a front plate costs $100 plus other fees and expenses. If you’re hoping to save money on car-related expenses, displaying your front tag appropriately will help you avoid a costly ticket.
But just because you can be ticketed for driving without a front plate doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily get one. Drivers who are new to New Jersey may not realize they’re required to display both tags and some officers are more lenient than others. If you’re given a second chance by law enforcement, take advantage of the opportunity and display your front tag pronto! 
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Which US states do not require a front license plate?

As we mentioned earlier, New Jersey’s neighbor, Pennsylvania, doesn’t require front plates. Nineteen other states also forgo two plates. We have a complete list of these states here:
  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Kansas 
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma 
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • West Virginia

Why New Jersey requires a front license plate

Many who drive luxury or performance vehicles don’t want to mar the front of their car with an unsightly front plate—and it’s no wonder since some cars aren’t designed to carry a front tag.
But front license plates help law enforcement find stolen vehicles. If your vehicle is stolen, it’s twice as likely to be found if it carries two plates rather than one. New Jersey might not suffer from the highest rate of vehicle theft in America, but auto theft does happen within state lines. If you become the victim of vehicle theft, you’ll want every chance available to find your car. 
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Which states have the highest rate of car theft?

While New Jersey isn’t one of the top states for car theft, it still saw more than 14,000 vehicles stolen in 2021—and that number is on the rise in 2022.
Your location in New Jersey determines how at-risk you are for having your car stolen. If you live in an area with a high rate of theft, you’ll pay more for car insurance as a result. You can lower your rates by driving a car that’s less likely to be stolen and living in an area with a lower rate of theft. 
Here are the top five cities for motor vehicle theft in New Jersey:
  • Newark
  • Irvington
  • Elizabeth
  • Camden
  • Orange
As a result, your
Newark insurance costs
Camden insurance costs
are going to be much higher than, say,
Pleasantville insurance costs
, since providers pay attention to factors that increase the likelihood of claims—like local car theft rates.

How to find cheap car insurance in New Jersey

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