Restrictions on personalized plates

Commissioner's Rules & Regulations
Subchapter Part 16 - Special Number Plates

16.5 Restrictions. 

(a) Personalized plates.

  • (1) No person has a right to a particular personalized plate. Personalized plates are issued by DMV in the sole discretion of the commissioner.
  • (2) Personalized plates bearing a plate number that represents a word, phrase, expression, or that has a meaning, connotation or format that the commissioner deems objectionable shall not be issued. Such plates shall include, but need not be limited to, those that the commissioner determines:
    • (i) are obscene, profane, vulgar, repulsive, depraved, or lewd;
    • (ii) describe or refer to a sexual or intimate body part, area or function;
    • (iii) describe or refer to eliminatory or other bodily functions;
    • (iv) are derogatory, contemptuous, degrading, disrespectful or inflammatory;
    • (v) express, describe, advertise, advocate, promote, encourage, glorify, or condone violence, crime or unlawful conduct;
    • (vi) describe, connote, or refer to illegal drug(s), controlled substance(s) or related paraphernalia;
    • (vii) may constitute copyright infringement, or infringement of a trademark, trade name, service mark, or patent;
    • (viii) refer to, suggest, or may appear to refer to or to suggest any governmental or law enforcement purpose, function or entity;
    • (ix) do not have at least one letter, consist of six numbers followed by one letter, or may be misleading or confusing in identifying a plate number (e.g., the substitution of the numeral zero for the letter “O”); or
    • (x) are reserved for issuance to specific classes of vehicles other than passenger vehicles (e.g., plates assigned to county clerks, members of certain professions, historic motor vehicles, etc.).
  • (3) Personalized plates that the commissioner may deem to be objectionable shall include plates bearing a combination of letters or numerals that in any language, or by means of a slang term, abbreviation, phonetic spelling or mirror image, in the judgment of the commissioner, forms a word, phrase, or expression, or has a meaning or connotation listed in paragraph (2) of this subdivision.
  • (4) The commissioner may determine at any time that a personalized plate is objectionable, regardless of whether the plate is requested, approved but not yet issued, or issued. If, after the commissioner receives a request for a personalized plate, the commissioner deems the requested plate to be objectionable, the commissioner shall deny the applicant’s request. In such cases, the applicant shall be deemed to have consented to withdraw the application for the personalized plate. If, after the issuance of a personalized plate, the commissioner deems the issued plate to be objectionable, the commissioner shall invalidate the plate. The registrant will be required to remove the invalidated plate from the registered vehicle and will be issued a standard registration plate. When the commissioner either withdraws approval for a requested personalized plate or invalidates an issued personalized plate, the registrant may select a non-objectionable personalized plate or a non-personalized plate at no additional cost.