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DIY Cardboard License Plate Won't Fly With Cops

By Ephrat Livni, Esq. on March 11, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Maybe in your youth you had a good fake identification that allowed you to get into bars when you were underage. It seemed cool, but actually it was a crime -- passing off a document or item as government-issued is against the law.

Now a woman in New York State has taken fakery (and custom plates) to the next level with a homemade license plate made of cardboard and markers.

Criminal Crafts

Amanda Schweickert last week was stopped on the road, according to the Huffington Post. She had a yellow and blue license plate made by hand that said Empire State and bore the numbers FYG-3925, unevenly penned and written on cardboard.

Erie County Police pulled over the crafty 28-year-old and discovered that she was driving with a suspended registration. She reportedly faces three traffic offenses. The county also posted on Facebook, reminding people that they should not be making their own license plates.

Registering a Vehicle

Every state requires drivers to be licensed and to register their vehicles. Driving with a suspended license or registration is a great recipe for trouble.

The New York Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 401 states that, "No motor vehicle shall be operated or driven upon the public highways of this state without first being registered." Registration ends with a license plate on an owner's car but the point for the state is to know who is driving what vehicle and to ensure that these are safe and in compliance with the law, equipped with the proper lights and more.

Registration and licensing also creates a connection between civil privileges and criminal charges. The New York statute points out that vehicle registration may be denied for someone who has failed to follow court orders.

Driving Without a License

State laws vary widely and each locale has its own specifics when it comes to licensing, registration, and how failure to comply is punished. Don't take the risk of faking a registration or driving with a suspended license. Usually, it's easier to follow the rules than try to come up with clever and creative workarounds like a cardboard license plate.

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