How Much is the Fine for Illegal Number Plate

If you are thinking of customising your vehicle with a personalised number plate, then there are legal requirements which you have to meet.

In this article, we will explore number plate legality and answer the question ‘how much is the fine for illegal number plate?’

How much is the fine for illegal number plate?

An illegal number plate is one which is incorrectly displayed. It could contain the wrong spacings, font, colours, style, material, and so on.

So, how much is the fine for illegal number plate?

If your vehicle is displaying illegal or incorrectly displayed number plates, you could be fined up to £1,000 and your vehicle will fail its MOT test.

If you are a first-time offender, police will issue you with a ‘vehicle defect rectification notice’, giving you 14 days to get the plate made legal and get the form stamped by an official supplier, which then gets handed in at your local police station.

It is important to keep your private plate clean: if it gets cloned by criminals, you could receive speeding tickets or parking fines that do not belong to you. If this happens, return the tickets and fines to the issuing authority, and explain what happened, providing any evidence to prove this.

You should also contact the DVLA and the police if your private plate gets cloned, so they can retain this information in their records and help you.

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To learn more about the laws surrounding number plates, click here to read our helpful articles on:

What are the legal requirements for a number plate in the UK?

If you buy a personalised number plate for your vehicle, the plate must be within the guidelines set by the government.

The conditions that your number plate must meet are:

  • be made from a reflective material – for the purpose of road safety
  • black display characters on a white background (front plate)
  • black display characters on a yellow background (rear plate)
  • not have a background pattern – so as not to distort the readability of your plate
  • be marked to show who supplied the number plate – to assist with thefts and sourcing queries
  • be marked with a British Standard number – this is ‘BS AU 145e’ for plates fitted after 1 September 2021
  • The characters must not be removable or reflective. If your number plates were fitted after 1 September 2021, they must also be a single shade of black.

Your personalised number plates can also:

When it comes to 3D and 4D plates being illegal to drive on the road, it is only in the instance of a show plate being used.

At Bespoke Plates, our team will guide you in creating your plate, regarding what is legal to drive on the road.

All private number plates must be supported by legal documentation

Private plates must have either a V750 certificate or a V778 retention document to prove you have legal ownership and the right to use the bespoke design.

The V750 is the document that assigns the actual registration mark to the new owner. This document will be needed for assigning a plate and for selling in the future.

The V778 is the retention document needed to keep ownership of a private plate and to be able to use it legally on the roads. Valid for ten years, it only needs to be renewed if the plate is not currently assigned to a vehicle.

Private plates must always be legally assigned to your vehicle before they are used

If you are changing cars or have recently come into ownership of your private plate, you must legally process the change. Once you have successfully been approved to use the plate on a new vehicle, you must ensure you have the physical copy of the V778 retention document and V5C logbook before you can use the plate.

You can also only assign private plates to vehicles that meet the below criteria:

  • The vehicle must be legally registered with DVLA in the UK and have a valid MOT certificate.
  • Only operational cars can be assigned private plates so they must be able to move under their own power.
  • The DVLA reserves the right that you be available for them to conduct inspections on cars with a private plate. This can be at any time, so the car must always be available for inspection.
  • The vehicle has been taxed or had a SORN in place continuously for the past 5 years.

If you want to apply to change a vehicle’s registration, this will cost you £80. You must also update your insurance at the same time otherwise your coverage is not legally relevant.

How Much is the Fine for Illegal Number Plate
How Much is the Fine for Illegal Number Plate

Purchasing private plates

You are only able to buy legal private number plates from either DVLA auctions or from their licensed sellers. Private plates are all pre-approved and created by the DVLA. As such, they maintain a library of legally registered private plates that can be sold to dealers or customers, all supported by legal documentation.

You must always research where you are buying your private number plate from, as illegal plate sales are on the rise. Your dealer or auction house should always be able to provide you with a view of their documentation which approves them as a legitimate seller when you ask to see it.

You can also gain peace of mind if you book to attend an auction which has been listed on the DVLA’s official list of upcoming events as they all will be adhering to the private plate rules.

As with our own collection of private registrations, most resellers will only stock a selection of designs, so alarm bells should always ring if someone gives you a large selection.

Will I fail my MOT if I have illegal number plates?

If your number plate is illegally or incorrectly displayed, then your vehicle will fail its MOT test.

Your registration plates will be checked during your MOT test. So, what aspects of the number plate are they actually checking?

  • condition
  • secure attachment
  • colour
  • characters correctly formed and spaced

As long as all of these conditions are met, you will pass an MOT.

At Bespoke Plates, we offer installation on all of our plates, guaranteeing you will pass your MOT. Self-installation may result in you damaging the plate, or not securing correctly, which is why we offer this service to you. The only exception to this is show plates.

How Much is the Fine for Illegal Number Plate
How Much is the Fine for Illegal Number Plate

Would illegal number plates affect my car insurance?

You should always inform your car insurance provider that you have added a personalised plate to your vehicle. If you don’t inform them, this could invalidate your insurance cover.

If you are driving a vehicle with illegally or incorrectly displayed number plates, then this may impact your car insurance. The police will pull you over and fine you up to £1,000, as the number plate is not identifiable on APNR.

ANPR refers to Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras, which read the registration plates of cars and check them against their database of registered vehicles, which is done to help detect criminal activity.

Your insurance rate could bump up too, if you have been handed a hefty motoring fine by the police. Your insurance premium could rise by up to 86%, which means you could be paying nearly twice the price.

Purchasing a Number Plate from Bespoke Plates

At Bespoke Plates, our process is very straightforward:

  1. Head to our website, and choose between 3D or 4D plates under the ‘build your plate’ tab
  2. Enter your registration for a preview of the plate
  3. Specify whether this will be a legal plate or a show plate
  4. Choose your style
  5. Select whether your plate will be for the front and back of your car or just one of them
  6. Select your size
  7. Select additional customizable options
  8. Have it delivered to your home

What documents do I need to purchase a number plate?

When purchasing a number plate, you must prove that you are the registered vehicle owner. Hence, you will have to provide us with either:

  • the V5C logbook
  • the V5CNI logbook
  • V5C/2 or V5C/2NI new keeper slip
  • the V778 certificate

You must also bring a document to confirm your name and identity. These could be your:

  • driving license
  • current passport
  • National identity card
  • utility bill/Council Tax bill from the last 6 months
  • bank statement from the last 6 months
  • bank card/ credit card
  • financial statement from the last 6 months

About Bespoke Plates

As one of the established number plate makers in the UK, we at Bespoke Plates have all the options you can ask for. From 3D plates4D platesstandard number plates, and gel plates, we offer outstanding craftsmanship with every plate we produce.

We are an approved license vendor, so we can guarantee that your modification abides by the DVLA rules, whilst offering same-day collections and a full fitting service.

So, what are you waiting for? Browse our options today to get the plate that speaks to you, and speaks for you, with Bespoke Plates.

We hope to have provided valuable information, whilst also answering the question ‘how much is the fine for illegal number plates?’

Want to read more about all things custom number plates? Check out our blog here.

To get in touch and discuss the full fitting service we offer with our plates, you can talk to one of our friendly team members by:

  • Email –
  • Phone – 0333 006 7878
  • Visit in-store –36A Broughton Street, Manchester, England, M8 8NN.

Follow Bespoke Plates on Facebook and on Instagram here.

How Much is the Fine for Illegal Number Plate
How Much is the Fine for Illegal Number Plate
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