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Illegal Registration Plate, VRM not conforming
creesteN
post Thu, 16 Mar 2017 - 16:44
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Good Afternoon,

I have recently received a traffic offence report for the reason of offence code 400, VRM not conforming. Let me explain the situation first:

  • I have arrived at a council, public access, free to use (at that time of the day) car park. I met my friend there and parked beside him. The place was known for various car meets which have been shut down by the local police and council. No event was happening that evening. With only me, and my friend being there in the other car, we have been chatting outside our cars for a few minutes. Two foot police show up; they write our registration down. I question it, they say they have no issue with us, it's only for the record if there is any antisocial behaviour. They told us we can stay.
  • 10 minutes later, a marked police car shows up, tells us to leave with no discussions as there is a dispersal order in place. I ask if I can repark my car on the other side of the car park and stay on foot, go across the road to a shop, etc. They immediately get out and look for a reason to fine me.


I then receive a telling off about my license plate as the other officer looks for more issues (finds none). I get told to get in the car and present my ID. When I question the officer as to why I'm getting the ticket, I get the response: "VRM not conforming". I ask him to be more specific, he says - I have no stamps with BS, postcodes, etc. I tell him to check again, he comes back telling me they're not visible. I tell him they don't have to be. He then adds onto that telling me the material is not reflective (it is, I have photos of the light bouncing straight into my camera), the letters are not smooth (they are pressed), and the position is not in the middle.

I have not argued about the letters as I wasn't sure. I checked the rules, I can't see anything prohibiting it. Position, I argued, mentioning the plates on Alfa Romeo. His reason was 'it's legal because it's standard, your car doesn't come like that'. I'm not satisfied and waiting for correspondence to come from police now.

What should my course of action be? I can send photographs if required.

Thanks!

This post has been edited by creesteN: Thu, 16 Mar 2017 - 16:46
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post Thu, 16 Mar 2017 - 16:44
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Mat_Shamus
post Fri, 17 Mar 2017 - 03:11
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My pressed plates are only single row and in the standard location on my car, but like yours they have laser etched markings at the bottom so not as bolt as printed markings, but still conform and still legal.

As mentioned it sounds like you failed the attitude test as i've never heard of anyone else getting in trouble for relocated front plates, especially if it's still on the front bumper. About 50% of Fabia vRS seem to have this mod these days but they seem to get left alone, even with stick on non legal plates....



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Slick
post Sat, 18 Mar 2017 - 12:56
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QUOTE (notmeatloaf @ Thu, 16 Mar 2017 - 22:10) *
QUOTE (Slick @ Thu, 16 Mar 2017 - 21:48) *
The MOT garage will tell you if your plate conforms to the regs........but wont tell you want you want to know as regards visibilty

Only if the MOT garage is blind, illiterate or routinely turns down easy business.

You're taking it to an MOT garage because they are a business with standing and knowledge of how to test vehicles. Therefore their evidence carries greater weight in court than the OP taking DIY photographs.

You're not taking it there for an MOT test, you're taking it there to obtain an "expert" statement - which is why it's so important to ask them to include the points I detailed about.



I'll bow to your superior knowledge......after all I'm only a vehicle examiner
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creesteN
post Sat, 18 Mar 2017 - 15:52
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QUOTE (Slick @ Sat, 18 Mar 2017 - 12:56) *
QUOTE (notmeatloaf @ Thu, 16 Mar 2017 - 22:10) *
QUOTE (Slick @ Thu, 16 Mar 2017 - 21:48) *
The MOT garage will tell you if your plate conforms to the regs........but wont tell you want you want to know as regards visibilty

Only if the MOT garage is blind, illiterate or routinely turns down easy business.

You're taking it to an MOT garage because they are a business with standing and knowledge of how to test vehicles. Therefore their evidence carries greater weight in court than the OP taking DIY photographs.

You're not taking it there for an MOT test, you're taking it there to obtain an "expert" statement - which is why it's so important to ask them to include the points I detailed about.



I'll bow to your superior knowledge......after all I'm only a vehicle examiner


I'll be honest with you. I went to halfords and two MOT garages.

Halfords: Plate looks legal to me, not sure about position as we only make them; take it to a police station.
1st MOT: I don't know the details. Can't help you.
2nd MOT: Plate is probably not reflective (because it's not plastic), and letters are poking out so it must be illegal (is it? biggrin.gif).

As you can see, most MOT garages are clueless.
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NewJudge
post Sat, 18 Mar 2017 - 18:16
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Why don't you try this as a "starter for ten":

Get a mate to help you measure 11 metres immediately in front of your number plate. Go to that point. Then get your mate to help you measure 11 metres immediately to the right (seen with your back to the car) of your starting point. Now from that point, see if you can read your plate.

Not entirely scientific (you may have difficulty making sure the second point is exactly at right angles to the first) but it will give you a fairly good idea whether your plate is readable as required. If it is, you can then decide whether to fight the matter in court (assuming it is the visibility that you are charged with and not the other compliance requirements). If the police did not carry out such a simple test when they decided your plate was non-compliant because of its visibilty, it is hard to see how they decided it did not comply.
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southpaw82
post Sat, 18 Mar 2017 - 18:18
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I'm always amused at how threads such at this grow to such great length when the answers are quite simple (as above).


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peterguk
post Sat, 18 Mar 2017 - 18:23
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QUOTE (NewJudge @ Sat, 18 Mar 2017 - 18:16) *
If the police did not carry out such a simple test when they decided your plate was non-compliant because of its visibilty, it is hard to see how they decided it did not comply.


Maybe the plate's position was so bad a measurement test was not necessary?


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bill w
post Sat, 18 Mar 2017 - 21:08
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Unless I've missed it somewhere, no-one's defined exactly what was non-conforming about it, so everyone's having to guess; OP included.

It might just be the angle of the photo, but does the after market 2 line "square" style plate obscure the beam pattern of the (fog?) light in the front valance?
If so, would that make it non-conforming to whatever "offence code 400" is??

ej-plates ebay shop certainly claims that the plates are UK legal, and they also claim to be an approved supplier, so taking those claims at face value, it only leaves positioning.
Always assuming that the text size is correct for a car,rather than being a motorcycle plate of course.
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peterguk
post Sat, 18 Mar 2017 - 21:17
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QUOTE (bill w @ Sat, 18 Mar 2017 - 21:08) *
Unless I've missed it somewhere, no-one's defined exactly what was non-conforming about it, so everyone's having to guess; OP included.


From what OP has told us, the plate can not be read from everywhere within a defined area. i.e. the OSF area of the vehicle.

I have queried the meaningless "VRM not conforming" in the TOR in an earlier post. OP does not appear to have queried it with the authorities.

This post has been edited by peterguk: Sat, 18 Mar 2017 - 21:20


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GM71
post Sat, 18 Mar 2017 - 23:32
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Using the trigonometry calculation area provided by NewJudge, but with the triangle dimensions divided by 4 to get everything in the picture (all angles still work out exactly the same), this is an exact 1:50 scale diagram showing the location of the plate on the Leon along with the required O/S viewing angle. Based on the given viewing area calculations, the viewing angle of the plate does look to be right on the limit but I reckon all the numbers could just about still all be seen from that required angle.



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peterguk
post Sat, 18 Mar 2017 - 23:43
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QUOTE (GM71 @ Sat, 18 Mar 2017 - 23:32) *
I reckon all the numbers could just about still all be seen from that required angle.


So, so close that might just be visible, but might not be visible. Not forgetting the odd 20m difference in distance between drawings...

We can sit pontificating forever. OP needs to carry out test as previously advised. Anything else is just speculation.


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creesteN
post Sun, 19 Mar 2017 - 03:40
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To put an end to the speculations, I will check exactly how the position of my registration affects visibility tomorrow. However, I would like to know first:


  • I just checked GMP's documents. Offence code 400 returns "REGISTRATION MARK NOT CONFORMING". What does this mean?
  • If the ticket only includes one offence, can I be prosecuted for another? For example, ticket states my registration has no british standards mark. Can I be fined for the position?
  • If the police issuing the ticket didn't check visibility using the measurements above, how can they prove to me that I'm violating it?
  • Are officers allowed to take evidence in the form of photographs using their private iPhones or do they have to use specific equipment provided?
  • Can I be fined for this offence if it took place in a council car park?


This post has been edited by creesteN: Sun, 19 Mar 2017 - 03:43
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Jlc
post Sun, 19 Mar 2017 - 09:36
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You will have to wait and see what they issue. (It will have to state the particular part of the relevant legislation)

The photographic evidence is fine but obviously it depends on what they are progressing.

Yes, the offence can occur in the car park.

Personally, I don't they are proceeding on the exact visibility - my take is that they think the plate is deficient from BS AU 145d. (Possibly the visibility of the required info) But it doesn't appear to have been violated - but I haven't checked all the requirements.

The reflectivity has to retroreflective, that is the light is reflected to where it came from.

This post has been edited by Jlc: Sun, 19 Mar 2017 - 09:37


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southpaw82
post Sun, 19 Mar 2017 - 12:05
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QUOTE (creesteN @ Sun, 19 Mar 2017 - 03:40) *
[*]I just checked GMP's documents. Offence code 400 returns "REGISTRATION MARK NOT CONFORMING". What does this mean?


That the number plate doesn't comply with the rules.

QUOTE
[*]If the ticket only includes one offence, can I be prosecuted for another? For example, ticket states my registration has no british standards mark. Can I be fined for the position?


Yes. You've not got a ticket yet.

QUOTE
[*]If the police issuing the ticket didn't check visibility using the measurements above, how can they prove to me that I'm violating it?


They don't have to prove it to you, just a court. If they didn't do the measurements it's unlikely they're contemplating that offence.

QUOTE
[*]Are officers allowed to take evidence in the form of photographs using their private iPhones


Yes.

QUOTE
or do they have to use specific equipment provided?


No.

QUOTE
[*]Can I be fined for this offence if it took place in a council car park?


Yes



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Churchmouse
post Sun, 19 Mar 2017 - 12:26
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QUOTE (Jlc @ Sun, 19 Mar 2017 - 09:36) *
Personally, I don't they are proceeding on the exact visibility - my take is that they think the plate is deficient from BS AU 145d. (Possibly the visibility of the required info) But it doesn't appear to have been violated - but I haven't checked all the requirements.

The reflectivity has to retroreflective, that is the light is reflected to where it came from.

These types of generally plates use a retroreflective adhesive film, just like the plastic plates do, except that it is applied to the front of the aluminium plate rather than to the back of the plastic one. Not surprisingly, it reflects light in exactly the same way.

--Churchmouse
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andy_foster
post Sun, 19 Mar 2017 - 14:23
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QUOTE (creesteN @ Sun, 19 Mar 2017 - 03:40) *
[*]Can I be fined for this offence if it took place in a council car park?


The legislation does not stipulate where the offence is committed. Many motoring offences stipulate either a road a road or other public place.

Taken literally, it would be an offence to remove the front bumper for repairs in a locked private garage, which is clearly absurd. I would argue that the legislation must be read restrictively to apply only to vehicles being used on public roads.


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southpaw82
post Sun, 19 Mar 2017 - 16:13
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QUOTE (andy_foster @ Sun, 19 Mar 2017 - 14:23) *
QUOTE (creesteN @ Sun, 19 Mar 2017 - 03:40) *
[*]Can I be fined for this offence if it took place in a council car park?


The legislation does not stipulate where the offence is committed. Many motoring offences stipulate either a road a road or other public place.

Taken literally, it would be an offence to remove the front bumper for repairs in a locked private garage, which is clearly absurd. I would argue that the legislation must be read restrictively to apply only to vehicles being used on public roads.

Maybe. A purposive interpretation would suggest that it's desirous to be able to identify vehicles on a road or public place, so perhaps somewhat wider than just roads. Private property I agree.


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baroudeur
post Sun, 19 Mar 2017 - 17:40
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QUOTE (Churchmouse @ Thu, 16 Mar 2017 - 23:27) *
Pressed metal numberplates can definitely be conforming. There is nothing in the regs that prohibits them, per se.

It's true nothing the regs prohibits tham but there are many reports of users being fined for using them and others who have not as you have commented on before and specifically in 2014 when you bought your pressed metal plates. You also referred to possible new standard BS AU 145e which might have included pressed metal plates but still hasn't been approved. If pressed plates are legal currently why are the major suppliers of plates - Hills - Jepsons - Bestplates etc not selling them? perhaps it's because BS AU145d states "The plate must be made of retroreflecting material which, as regards its construction, colour and other qualities, complies with the requirements of BS AU145d— Do pressed metal plates conform to 'construction and other qualities'? I can't afford £100+ to find out and neither has anyone else it seems..

I wasn't sure about two-row plates on automobiles, but they do not appear to be prohibited by either the regs quoted in this thread previously, or by the DVLA information leaflet INF104.

arrangement of characters plate layouts

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roythebus
post Mon, 20 Mar 2017 - 11:24
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The number plate does not comply with the layout and spacing. the top row of letters/numerals should be positioned centrally, not set to the right.

See diagram 3b in the link above. But let the court/cps provide that evidence.
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bm1957
post Mon, 20 Mar 2017 - 11:50
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QUOTE (roythebus @ Mon, 20 Mar 2017 - 11:24) *
The number plate does not comply with the layout and spacing. the top row of letters/numerals should be positioned centrally, not set to the right.

See diagram 3b in the link above. But let the court/cps provide that evidence.

I think there's a 'whited out' letter, top left of the plate. So no issue there
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io1901
post Mon, 20 Mar 2017 - 12:28
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Isn't the BS AU 145d(a) standard required to understand the regulations? From the info that I've been able to find online (not the standard itself) implies that the registration plate needs to be manufactured from "crash resistant acrylic". See here for instance.



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