Defaced, Obscured or Illegible Number Plates in NSW Penalties: Adelaide Man Busted Over Hand-Painted Number Plate “Not Stolen OK”

Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.

 

*cue facepalm*

A man in Adelaide, perhaps extremely bored, has decided to hand-paint over his vehicle’s number plates with characters that read the words “Not Stolen OK” – and now, indeed being only a matter of time, has officially been caught and summonsed to appear in court over the offence.

The 26-year-old driver from Rosetown in Adelaide’s south-east was spotted by police on 10 February 2021 in the early hours of the morning when he was driving along a main road without his lights on.

According to South Australia Police, patrols noticed the Mitsubishi sedan travelling along John Rice Avenue and Elizabeth Vale, stopping him just after 2:00am.

Upon close inspection of the man’s car, officers realised his number plates were, in fact, defaced, noticing that the characters had been reworked with paint.

Indeed, it was evident he had somehow painted over his number plates and also brushed on the words, “Not Stolen OK” – a message which police described as “helpful” in detecting the offence.

But the wrongdoings did not end there.

Making matters worse for the defaced number plate offender, it turns out the man was allegedly caught driving while disqualified.

Additionally, he was unregistered. And uninsured.

“The number plates had in fact been painted over and hand painted with different characters and a helpful message,” police said in a statement.

“Further enquiries revealed the driver was disqualified and his vehicle was unregistered and uninsured.”

The man was reported for driving with a defaced number plate, driving while disqualified, driving having an unregistered and uninsured vehicle, and driving at night without lights on.

He will appear in court at a later date.

 

“Take His Crayon Licence Away”: Man Ridiculed on Social Media Over Asinine Move to Paint Over Number Plates

Indeed, as one would expect of the dim-witted move to paint over one’s number plates and create a customised edition, the man was ridiculed for his stupidity.

An image of the number plates found itself doing the rounds on social media, receiving thousands of likes and comments, many online users finding humour in the matter.

“Looks legit,” one person commented in a news post shared on Facebook, while another added the hand-painted plates were a “masterpiece”.

“Take his crayon licence away while you’re at it, before he draws on the walls,” another user wrote.

One person teased the incident gave a “whole new meaning to ‘personalised number plates’”, which was encouraged as fan of the page commented, “Coming up on tonight’s episode of ‘Australia’s Funniest Criminals’”.

But perhaps the situation was summed up most accurately by one user who simply wrote, “This may be the dumbest man alive”.

 

What the Roads and Maritime Services Advises about Defaced Number Plates in NSW

The law on displaying clear number plates in NSW is clear. According to the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) in NSW, all registered vehicles are required to have official number plates which also not be obscured, defaced or otherwise not legible.

This is so the police, along with those driving or walking past, are able to read number plates.

This is particularly crucial in circumstances where a vehicle is involved in an accident and details need to be exchanged with parties.

Furthermore, police and members of the public also need to be able to clearly see number plates so they can accurately report details if a vehicle is involved in criminal behaviour.

When a number plate is defaced, obscured or has been tampered with, police officers have the power to issue infringement notices.

In NSW, clause 25 of the Road Transport (Vehicle Registration) Regulation 2017 (NSW) prohibits a vehicle’s number plates to be obscured, defaces or otherwise illegible.

Additionally, the numbers on the number plate must be clearly visible from any point that is up to 20 metres from the number plate, and within an arc of 45 degrees from the surface of the number plate above or to either side of the vehicle.

Moreover, any cover on the number plate must be clear, clean, untinted and flat over its entire surface, and must have no reflective or other characteristics that would prevent the successful operation of a device approved for use under a law relating to the detection of traffic offences.

In NSW, there is a NSW fine of $464 and 3 demerit points for using a vehicle with defaced or obscured number plates.

If the matter is finalised in the local court by way of a court election, the maximum penalty you can receive is a fine of $2,200.

Have a question, get in touch with our criminal lawyers Sydney based today.

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