(1) What is a personalized license plate?
Personalized license plates are plates reflecting the registered owner's chosen format or designation and are limited to those described in RCW 46.16.560
, 46.16.570 and 46.16.580.
(2) Are there any restrictions on the use of letters and numbers on personalized license plates? Personalized license plates may be issued with one to seven characters. Motorcycles and motorcycle trailers can have up to six characters. The letters "I" and "O" and the numbers "1" (one) and "0" (zero) may not be issued as single-digit plates.
(3) When may the department deny an application for or cancel personalized plates?
(a) The department may deny an application for personalized license plates or cancel personalized license plates previously issued if it determines the plate configuration to be:
(i) Offensive to good taste and decency;
(ii) Potentially misleading;
(iii) Vulgar, profane or sexually suggestive in nature;
(iv) A racial, ethnic, lifestyle or gender slur;
(v) Related to alcohol or to illegal activities or substances;
(ix) A duplication of license plate or decal numbers provided in chapter 46.09
, 46.10 or 46.16
(x) The personalized message appears to replicate the standard configuration for a special license plate; or
(xi) Contrary to the department's mission to promote highway safety.
(b) If the personalized license plates are canceled due to one or more reasons specified in subsection (3) of this section, the vehicle owner may:
(i) Apply for a refund for the fee paid under RCW 46.16.585
and 46.16.606 for such license plates; or
(ii) Instead of a refund, apply for and upon approval be issued personalized license plates with a different configuration without payment of additional personalized license plate fees.
(c) The department may cancel personalized license plates if they are:
(i) Not renewed by the owner within forty-five days of the vehicle expiration; or
(ii) Removed from a vehicle and not transferred to a replacement vehicle within thirty days; or
(iii) Transferred to a new owner who does not make proper application for the plates within twenty-five days.
(4) What special plates cannot be personalized?
(a) Medal of honor;
(b) Horseless carriage;
(d) Collector vehicle;
(e) Ham and Mars license plates;
(f) Former prisoner of war;
(g) Pearl Harbor survivor;
(h) Disabled veteran;
(i) Exempt license plates.
(5) If my registration for personalized license plates has elapsed, how do I get them reinstated or reissued?
(a) If you are an owner of a personalized license plate and do not renew it within forty-five days, you must reapply and pay the original personalized license plate fee in order to reinstate the plate.
(b) If you purchase a vehicle with a personalized plate and do not transfer the ownership of the personalized plate within twenty-five days, you forfeit ownership of the plate. The department will make that personalized plate available to the first applicant for that plate configuration.
(c) If you are the owner of a personalized license plate who does not transfer the plate as described in (b) of this subsection, you must reapply and pay the original personalized license plate fee in order to reinstate the plate.
(6) Can I transfer my personalized license plate? Yes, if you are the owner(s) of a vehicle with personalized license plates and sell, trade or otherwise transfer ownership of the vehicle, you may transfer the plates to another vehicle within thirty days; (the personalized license plates may be transferred at any vehicle licensing office or through a vehicle dealer if the owner wishes to transfer a plate to a dealer-purchased vehicle) or transfer the plates to a new owner. If the plates are transferred to a new owner, the current owner must provide the new owner with a notarized/certified release of interest for the plates. The new owner must make application to the department within twenty-five days, including payment of the original personalized license plate fee.
(7) How do I dispose of my personalized vehicle license plates?
(a) You may turn the plates in to the department with a notarized release of interest from the owner(s) relinquishing the right to that personalized license plate configuration; or
(b) If your vehicle has personalized license plates and is sold to a wrecker or you accept a total loss claim from your insurance company and you choose not to retain the salvage, you must either transfer the plates to another vehicle within thirty days or turn the plates in to the department with a notarized release of interest from all registered owner(s) relinquishing the right to that personalized license plate.
(8) Will I ever have to replace my personalized vehicle license plate? Yes, the personalized license plates are subject to the seven-year vehicle license plate replacement schedule.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 46.01.110
. WSR 07-20-110, § 308-96A-065, filed 10/3/07, effective 11/3/07. Statutory Authority: RCW 46.01.110
, 46.16.335, 46.16.276. WSR 01-10-069, § 308-96A-065, filed 4/30/01, effective 5/31/01. Statutory Authority: RCW 46.01.110
and 46.16.335. WSR 98-09-024, § 308-96A-065, filed 4/8/98, effective 5/9/98; WSR 91-15-006, § 308-96A-065, filed 7/8/91, effective 8/8/91. Statutory Authority: RCW 46.16.276
and 46.16.600. WSR 88-12-043 (Order TL/RG 41), § 308-96A-065, filed 5/27/88. Statutory Authority: RCW 46.16.600
, 46.16.276 and 46.01.110. WSR 87-12-023 (Order TL/RG-34), § 308-96A-065, filed 5/28/87. Statutory Authority: RCW 46.01.110
and 46.16.600. WSR 84-21-130 (Order TL/RG-9), § 308-96A-065, filed 10/24/84; Order MV-328, § 308-96A-065, filed 7/24/75.]