Attaching Wrong Plates to Conceal Identity in Massachusetts

When facing criminal charges or when fearful of arrest and criminal charges, a person may take steps to conceal their identity or the identity of their vehicle  for the purpose of evading police or otherwise avoiding criminal consequences. In some cases, and depending upon the specific actions that are taken to conceal identity, doing so may be unlawful and result in criminal charges. One unlawful action is that of attaching the wrong plates for the purpose of concealing identity, as found in Massachusetts Code Chapter 90, Section 23. If you have been charged with this crime, please call our experienced criminal defense attorney directly for legal counsel. 

Penalties for Attaching Wrong Plates

Failing to attach license plates to a vehicle, or failing to attach the correct license plates to a vehicle for the express purpose of concealing the identity of a vehicle is prohibited under Massachusetts law. As found in the section of code referenced above, a person who is found guilty of failing to “display on a motor vehicle or trailer the number plate and the register number duly issued therefor, with intent to conceal the identity of such motor vehicle or trailer,” can be subject to a fine of $100, imprisonment of 10 days, or both. Note that the offense will also result in points against your driving record and is considered a misdemeanor criminal traffic offense. It could also result in an increase in insurance costs and license suspension or revocation if you have a history of other traffic violations. 

Elements to Prove Guilt Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

The prosecution for the commonwealth has the duty of proving a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in order to secure a conviction. The elements that must be established in order to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt include:

  1. The defendant attached or permitted to be attached a license plate to a motor vehicle or trailer;
  2. The license plate that was attached by the defendant was not a plate that was assigned by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles to the trailer or vehicle to which it was attached; and
  3. The plates were not mistakenly or accidentally attached, but instead the attachment was done with the express intent of concealing the identity of the vehicle or trailer.

The third element is certainly the most difficult to establish, as it requires proving the defendant’s intent. The prosecution will submit evidence to this point; the defense will have the opportunity to refute this evidence. 

Defenses to Criminal Charges

In order to avoid a finding of guilt, the defendant will need to prove that they did not in fact attach plates or that they did not attach the plates with intent to conceal the vehicle’s identity. Other ways to have charges reduced or dropped may include submitting evidence that the police violated your rights in collecting evidence against you, which could result in the evidence being withheld from the court process. 

Call The Law Offices of Paul R. Moraski Today 

To learn more about the crime of attaching wrong plates and your legal defense options, reach out to The Law Offices of Paul R. Moraski directly today. Our attorney is here to represent you. You can call our law office directly at (978) 397-0011.