Over the weekend I noticed a few cars driving around the St. Cloud area that only had a license on the back of the vehicle. On some vehicles not having a front tag does make the vehicle look cleaner, so is it legal in Minnesota to forego the front or back license plate on your vehicle? The answer is no, as you are legally supposed to have license plates on both the front and rear of your vehicle, but like all things, there are some exceptions.

There are four main exceptions to the two license plate laws here in Minnesota. Those exceptions are:

If the vehicle is a motorcycle, motor scooter, motorized bicycle, motorcycle sidecar, trailer registered at greater than 3,000 pounds gross vehicle weight (GVW), semitrailer, or vehicle displaying a dealer plate, then one license plate must be displayed

If the vehicle is a semitrailer, the number plate displayed must be assigned to the registered owner

If the vehicle is a trailer with 3,000 pounds or less GVW with lifetime registration, the numbered plate or sticker must be adhered to the side of the trailer frame tongue near the hitch.

If the vehicle is a collector's vehicle with a pioneer, classic car, collector, or street rod license; a vehicle that meets the requirements of a pioneer, classic, or street rod vehicle except that the vehicle is used for general transportation purposes; or a vehicle that is of model year 1972 or earlier

Those exceptions to having two license plates on your Minnesota registered vehicle are all found under the state statute 169.79, which you can find here.

Farm trucks, truck tractors, and road tractors are also allowed only one license plate, and that needs to be on the front of the vehicle, as in most cases those vehicles will be pulling large loads where a rear plate wouldn't be visible in most cases.

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So what happens if you are caught for only having one plate? According to portions of the state statute, it's a misdemeanor.

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