Definition of Attaching Plate / Tag Not Assigned
Under Section 320.261, Florida Statutes, it is a criminal offense for a person to knowingly attach to any motor vehicle (or mobile home) a registration license plate or a validation sticker if the plate or sticker was not issued and assigned or lawfully transferred to such vehicle.
To prove the crime of Attaching Plate or Tag Not Assigned, the prosecution must establish the following three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- the accused attached a registration license plate or validation sticker to a vehicle;
- the registration license plate or validation sticker was not lawfully issued and assigned to that vehicle; and
- the accused knew that the plate or sticker was not lawfully issued and assigned to the vehicle.
Penalties for Attaching Plate / Tag Not Assigned
In Florida, knowingly attaching an unassigned license plate, tag, or validation sticker to a vehicle is a second degree misdemeanor, with penalties of up to 60 days in jail or 6 months of probation, and a $500 fine.
These penalties represent the statutory maximum sentence that is available for this type of charge, and not the probable range of sanctions that will be imposed in the majority of cases. For most first-time offenders, the primary risk is that they will be adjudicated guilty of the offense, assessed court costs and fines, and, most importantly, acquire a permanent criminal record.
An adjudication of guilt for Attaching Tag / Plate Not Assigned means that a person is convicted of the offense and will be permanently barred from expunging or sealing their record. Thus, a seemingly minor traffic offense will result in a person having ‘criminal history,’ which can permanently interfere with employment applications, career opportunities, security clearances, college applications, and other matters in their professional and personal life.
Defenses to Attaching Plate / Tag Not Assigned
If properly raised at trial, there are numerous defenses available in Florida to contest a charge of attaching a tag or plate that is not assigned to a vehicle. With the assistance of a qualified attorney, an accused should almost never plead to the offense.
Factually, it is difficult for the prosecution to prove either that the defendant himself attached the tag, plate, or sticker, or that the defendant knew the tag, plate, or sticker was not assigned to the vehicle. This, of course, assumes that the proper evidentiary objections and arguments are made.
Attaching a plate or tag not assigned is also highly defendable for the simple reason that most Florida misdemeanor prosecutors lack the diligence and know-how to properly prove the charge. Again, this assumes that proper evidentiary objections are made and that the case is defended with a working knowledge of recent Florida case law.
If you have been charged with Attaching a License Plate, Tag, or Validation Sticker not Assigned to your vehicle in Jacksonville or the surrounding counties of Northeast Florida, contact Hussein & Webber, PL today. Our Jacksonville criminal defense attorney will contest the charge on your behalf and work towards a dismissal or other resolution that avoids a criminal conviction. Call us today for a free consultation.