License plate frame could cost you $200 and a day in court

Police will issue citations for license plate frames.
Police will issue citations for license plate frames.

A little-known law could soon leave Huntsville roads with a little less team spirit.

License plate frames, like those showing off your favorite college football team or even advertising the dealership that sold you your car, are illegal in Alabama.

Huntsville Police Department Court Liaison Nathan Nickelson said the frames are an absolute violation of the law. If an officer sees you driving with a frame covering any part of your tag, you can be pulled over and issued a citation. According to Nickelson, the violation could cost you around $200 in fines and court costs.

Nickelson said the law aims to make important parts of the tag visible, like the dated stickers.

"When those are on the corners usually those plate frames will cover the numbers that are on those stickers, and that's what we have to have," he said.

The law also links itself to the controversial Alabama immigration law, because it gives officers a little-known cause to pull someone over.

"That gives them the ability to stop you, and then of course if you're driving without a license or whatever then you'll get ticketed for that also," said Nickelson.

Under the immigration law, drivers must be able to show proof they are legally in the U.S. A valid driver's license is sufficient proof to satisfy the law's requirement.

Some civil rights groups have raised concerns the law will be a catalyst for racial profiling.

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