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  1. #1
    a3_dan's Avatar
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    Personalized plates and legalities

    Hi guys and girls,

    I have been looking at getting a personalized number plate for a while and I think I have now found the one for me, however before I buy anything I want to know if I can arrange the letters/ numbers differently in terms of their spacing, legally, as I do not want to go for the plate otherwise. Do not want to get pulled over by the fuzz every 5 minutes due to a number plate! But if I do, I want to be confident I do comply.

    So, if I buy a plate which the DVLA site represents as this x1(space)xxx, I want to be able to represent this on my plate as, x1x(space)xx

    Is this legal to move one character over and then have the space?

    Also are you able to cut down the size of the number plate, so you dont have a large empty space at the beginning and end of the plate? And again, is this legal?

    Thanks
    Dan
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  3. #2
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    Your plate has to be displayed as shown on the DVLA website, but you can take a risk like me and put it how you want. Mines R11 GLA but it looks like this R11GLA. It also carries a 30 on the spot fine if you get pulled.
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    You would not legally be allowed to change the positioning of the space to where you want it.

    Regarding the size of the plate, there is no minimum or maximum size, it is the letters/numbers themselves which have to be a standard size and font.

    The plod are getting keen to stop non standard plate holders as their number plate recognition cameras cannot cope with odd sizes and fonts!

  5. #4
    The is no minimum size for a number plate but the law is strict on the size and typeface of the lettering and the spacing of the letters and numbers. If you were to do as you say and put the space in the wrong place the plate would be illegal and anyone who made up a set of plates like that could be subject to a fine of up to 5000.

    If you don't want to keep the number as it should be, don't buy the plate. In these days of Automatic Number Plate recognition the Police can be quite hot on mis-spaced plates. If you have illegally spaced plates your car will also fail any MOT test and the DVLA can also withdraw your right to use the plate.
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    a3_dan's Avatar
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    Ah, well thats that then! I will scrub this idea and keep looking (and will have to keep saving) for a better plate which doesnt require altering!

    Its a shame as it would have looked great, but I'm not wanting to ask for trouble from the plod! Im sure they have better things to do than pull me over with a stupid plate!

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    mitch78's Avatar
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    There is a minimum size for the plate. That is the size of legal lettering (including correct legal spacing) plus an 11mm border all round.
    Ex 8L S3 driver

    also A3, 320, Golf, Clio, Astra, Focus, Mondeo, Laguna, Escort, Calibra, 220, others and now back to a Focus...

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    Quote Originally Posted by mitch78 View Post
    There is a minimum size for the plate. That is the size of legal lettering (including correct legal spacing) plus an 11mm border all round.
    bang on mate, I have a 6 digit plate so can chop about 10cm off mine quite legally :-)
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    I've had a couple of plates in the past that weren't spaced properly and never had a problem with being pulled over, in fact I was pulled over once and they never mentioned the plate!

    I think it depends what you do, if you have no spaces on the plate as it spells one word like CRA1G then you will probably be ok (theres actually a local police car that has no spaces by mistake, I'm going to take a photo next time I see it haha) but if you have something like A1A AA you will definetly attract more attention.

    The police ANPR may struggle to read your plate so that could be an issue, although I thought the way the system worked is that it just reads all of the characters on the plate as XXXXX regardless of how they are spaced and it was more the individual characters that caused the issue's i.e mishaping characters or joining characters up very close to make a character- like 13 to make a B.

    An experienced traffic cop local to me once told my dad during a conversation he wasn't too bothered about the spacing of number plates as it helped identify cars easier as they were more unique, different fonts and minute characters however are an issue due to the fact they are hard for both human and ANPR to read.

    At the end of the day if you really love the plate and can afford to lose a couple hundred quid (worst case) then run it for as long as you can!

    As for MOT it might help to swap over onto legally spaced plates for the duration of the test just to make sure- job done.

    This has got me thinking about plates again!I seen a plate on Scott Alexander's (google him you will laugh) Lambo murcielago W33PON around the mayfair area in London a while ago, It looked pretty mean and I really wanted one similar so I bought W333PON, I might put it on the S3 once it's fully tuned and is worthy of the plate!
    gone: 2008 S3 sprint blue, buckets, optics, go-faster mods.

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    I have been pulled over about 3 times and they have never said anything about my plates being spaced incorrectly i have it like this A** 4NDY instead of A**4 NDY.

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    my sister got pulled over for the first time in 2 years recently for having her plate spaced incorrectly, but it was more the fact that she had an open topped 4 to make it look like a Y that they were bothered about. i've driven past many a cop car and nobody's paid any notice to my illegally spaced plate but that might be because i'm a doctor and it's spaced DR X XXXX so maybe they take it easy on me. in any event i've got my correctly spaced plates in the boot so if i do get pulled i can say i've already been given a warning so had new plates made just haven't had a chance to put them on. aside from that i'm happy to take the risk.
    2006 Phantom Black A3 2.0T S-Line.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sub39h View Post
    my sister got pulled over for the first time in 2 years recently for having her plate spaced incorrectly, but it was more the fact that she had an open topped 4 to make it look like a Y that they were bothered about. i've driven past many a cop car and nobody's paid any notice to my illegally spaced plate but that might be because i'm a doctor and it's spaced DR X XXXX so maybe they take it easy on me. in any event i've got my correctly spaced plates in the boot so if i do get pulled i can say i've already been given a warning so had new plates made just haven't had a chance to put them on. aside from that i'm happy to take the risk.
    Telling them you've already got correctly spaced plates might anger the police seeing as you're admitting you know what you're doing is illegal!
    Telling them you have already had a warning could be even worse because they would then question why you went to the bother of going to get the plates but not spend 5 minutes putting them on!

    Better off claiming you had no idea and you would immediately go and get legal plates made up!
    gone: 2008 S3 sprint blue, buckets, optics, go-faster mods.

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    fair point well made, but you could also say that at least i've tried to make the effort to get it sorted
    2006 Phantom Black A3 2.0T S-Line.
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    Yeah true man, hopefully you won't get stopped for it in any case!
    gone: 2008 S3 sprint blue, buckets, optics, go-faster mods.

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    I think a lot of it depends on your local force, some are hard on it, others dont care!
    B6 1.8T Avant s line gmbh

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    Quote Originally Posted by craig32 View Post
    Yeah true man, hopefully you won't get stopped for it in any case!
    indeedy
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  17. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee_R View Post
    I think a lot of it depends on your local force, some are hard on it, others dont care!
    this is true because the local plod in cardiff dont really care very much about stuff like that
    ​She is back on the road yay!!

  18. #17
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    You're from London town also mate, you must see two million cars per day with "illegally" spaced plates on. I know I do. I've seen numerous people with the number '3' back to front so it looks like an "E"!!
    The met just don't seem to give a damn.

    But yeah, having letter number letter (space) letter letter as you are planning might be asking them to have a word with you.
    You'll be sweating everytime a cop is driving behind you!

  19. #18
    Pii
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    Personalized plates and legalities

    If you don't want the hassle then don't do it.

    Whatever excuse you have is irrelevant because if the officer sees fit then he will take it further.

    There is no guarantee; only how the officer feels on the day.

  20. #19
    Why is it in the UK people seem so keen to break the law on such stupid things. The are rules relating to number plates, so why not stick to them. You never see 'silly' number plates in other countries because the authorities have the plates made up therefore they are always legal. Perhaps we need to start doing the same.

    It's quite possible to have a personal plate without breaking the law.
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    Personalized plates and legalities

    I have been using a half space where a full space should be for years now.

    On the back it's always a correct plate.

  22. #21
    Pii
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    your name says it all Dave!

  23. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by h5djr View Post
    Why is it in the UK people seem so keen to break the law on such stupid things.
    Have you ever broken the law?

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    mitch78's Avatar
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    If you've forked out for the plate in the first place, why do anything to risk having it taken off you? Not only do you lose what you paid for, you have all the hassle of re-registering the car, and they won't do anything to make that process go quickly or smoothly for you either.
    Ex 8L S3 driver

    also A3, 320, Golf, Clio, Astra, Focus, Mondeo, Laguna, Escort, Calibra, 220, others and now back to a Focus...

  25. #24
    Almost certainly, but not over something so stupid as the arrangement of the letters and numbers on a registration plate. If you want a personal number plate buy one that means something to you that is within the law or don't bother.
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  26. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by h5djr View Post
    Almost certainly, but no over something so stupid as the arrangement of the letters and numbers on a registration plate. If you want a personal number plate buy one that means something to you that is within the law.
    Whether or not it's "stupid" is subjective.
    You broke the law over something that you saw as 'worth it'. To some people breaking the law over number plate spacing is also worth it.

    Anyway, worst case (imo) the law breaker will get pulled, told to fit legal plates, get them acknowledged/signed off by an MOT testing station and then present to the local cop shop.

  27. #26
    mitch78's Avatar
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    For a first time, yes.

    But after that first time they'll probably have the number flagged on the PNC making future pulls more likely.

    This means the worst case if you get caught more often, is the plate being withdrawn by the DVLA (obviously meaning you lose whatever you paid for it in the first place), you being issued with a 1,000 fine, and the car being reregistered on a Q plate. Just that last item in the list can easily cost you more than the fine, when you come to sell the car.

    Like I said, just not worth the risk.
    Ex 8L S3 driver

    also A3, 320, Golf, Clio, Astra, Focus, Mondeo, Laguna, Escort, Calibra, 220, others and now back to a Focus...

  28. #27
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    Sound advice mitch. Never knew about the Q-plate penalty.

  29. #28
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    I have slightly iffy spacing on my plate, it wasnt a lot of money so took the chance.
    It doesnt jump out as being illegal or have any wacky italics etc however.

    Its been on 4 yrs now and no problems, maybe thats the kiss of death but I have set of properly spaced places in the garage so if Im pulled then I will put them on then.
    Until then i will ride my luck.

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  30. #29
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    I reckon you'd have to be VERY unlucky to get pulled for dodgy spacing here in London. I can't go for more than about an hour without seeing a mentally illegal plate.
    Its like the police have just given up and can't be bothered with the paperwork, because at the moment every other car seems to have one.
    Their focus seems to be on cars that are on road that shouldn't be... i.e motors with no tax, mot, insurance, etc.

    But yeah, it's no fun if you do happen to get busted.

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    mitch78's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aythreee View Post
    Their focus seems to be on cars that are on road that shouldn't be... i.e motors with no tax, mot, insurance, etc.
    You're right, but for them a dodgy plate is a good indicator that there could well be other things to pick up on once they're stopped.

    And it's ok thinking about how the police treat them locally, but do you seriously never venture out of your local areas? I don't think "...but they don't mind it back home." would work somehow.
    Last edited by mitch78; 31st August 2010 at 11:26.
    Ex 8L S3 driver

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  32. #31
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    Obviously I wouldn't advise using that as an excuse if tugged lol. Take it on the chin I guess.
    As for driving outside of the local area, London's a pretty big place so I'm guessing that like most Londoners the OP does the huge majority of his driving in London at the weekends.
    If I was the that worried about getting collared on the odd occasions that I drive out of London I'd just get some properly spaced plates for that 1% of my driving that needs it.

    I guess all I'm trying to say is that here spacing doesn't seem to be a big enough risk to stop me from risking it.

  33. #32
    mitch78's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aythreee View Post
    Obviously I wouldn't advise using that as an excuse if tugged lol.


    No, I didn't think you would!

    It must be bloody boring doing all your driving in London.

    I would have thought there were a fair few that like to get out every now and then for a refreshing drive in the country, maybe not.
    Ex 8L S3 driver

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  34. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitch78 View Post
    It must be bloody boring doing all your driving in London.
    Driving in London is never boring. Too many fat security guards chasing thieving wiry crackheads to laugh at, road rage arguments to look at, and chavmobiles to stare in amazement at!

    Quote Originally Posted by mitch78 View Post
    I would have thought there were a fair few that like to get out every now and then for a refreshing drive in the country, maybe not.
    We do. For 1% of the year.

  35. #34
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    Aythree you need to stop hanging out in South East London. Last time you went you saw the Peckham terminator as well!

  36. #35
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    I won't travel any further south than the blackwall tunnel after that!

  37. #36
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    maybe not completely boring, but it is as dull as it gets, from a driving perspective. I do more than enough driving in London to know that I need more than 4 days a year away from it!
    Ex 8L S3 driver

    also A3, 320, Golf, Clio, Astra, Focus, Mondeo, Laguna, Escort, Calibra, 220, others and now back to a Focus...

  38. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Pii View Post
    Sound advice mitch. Never knew about the Q-plate penalty.
    Would the DVLA not just issue a new number relating to the age of the car in the same way as they do when I transfer my personal plate to a new car.

    You could also get a 60 fixed penalty fine for displaying an illegal number plate.
    Last edited by h5djr; 31st August 2010 at 12:47.
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  39. #38
    mitch78's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by h5djr View Post
    Would the DVLA not just issue a new number relating to the age of the car in the same way as they do when I transfer my personal plate to a new car.
    I thought that, then I was informed otherwise by someone that found out the hard way.
    Ex 8L S3 driver

    also A3, 320, Golf, Clio, Astra, Focus, Mondeo, Laguna, Escort, Calibra, 220, others and now back to a Focus...

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    Quote Originally Posted by h5djr View Post
    Why is it in the UK people seem so keen to break the law on such stupid things. The are rules relating to number plates, so why not stick to them. You never see 'silly' number plates in other countries because the authorities have the plates made up therefore they are always legal. Perhaps we need to start doing the same.

    It's quite possible to have a personal plate without breaking the law.
    i completely disagree with you. rules on numberplates in this country are petty and stupid. in the US you don't get illegal plates because you can have whatever letter and number combo you want. it's meant as a unique identifier so what the hell does it matter if it conforms to an arbitrary set of orders like XX11 XXX or X111 XXX or XXX 111X?

    without meaning to sound like a rebel some of the laws in this country are stupid, pointless and waste time. police shouldn't be pulling people for tints or silly lettering on their plate, they should be out trying to find the cars that have been stolen or are being driven without insurance or by those who are unable to drive in a safe manner. but no, they want to find those who don't have the correct spacing on their plates. f'ing ridiculous.

    and i'm sure many of you have never had the joy of being pulled over purely because you're a young asian and in a nice car. traffic cops can f*ck off.
    2006 Phantom Black A3 2.0T S-Line.
    DSG | 18" BBS Pescaras | Rear Parking Sensors | MFSW | Symphony II | BOSE | Auto lights/wipers | Half leather
    MODS : '09 tail lights | TT vents | Weitec Hicon GTs | RNS-E 2010 | Controls Pack (Red Stitching)
    PLANS: Dumbos | 8P3 S-Line Rear Bumper | OEM Parking Sensors


    GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN:
    2005 Ebony Black A3 1.6 Sport tiptronic. You will be missed!
    1997 BMW 316i Coupe M-Sport. You won't be missed quite so much!

  41. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by aythreee View Post


    I won't travel any further south than the blackwall tunnel after that!
    lol - i aint ever taking the bus again!

 

 
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