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RULE §217.27Vehicle Registration Insignia

(a) On receipt of a complete initial application for registration with the accompanying documents and fees, the department will issue vehicle registration insignia to be displayed on the vehicle for which the registration was issued for the current registration period.

  (1) If the vehicle has a windshield, the symbol, tab, or other device prescribed by and issued by the department shall be attached to the inside lower left corner of the vehicle's front windshield in a manner that will not obstruct the vision of the driver.

  (2) If the vehicle has no windshield, the symbol, tab, or other device prescribed by and issued by the department shall be attached to the rear license plate, except that registration receipts, retained inside the vehicle, may provide the record of registration for vehicles with permanent trailer plates.

  (3) If the vehicle is registered as a former military vehicle as prescribed by Transportation Code, §504.502, the vehicle's registration number shall be displayed instead of displaying a symbol, tab, or license plate.

    (A) Former military vehicle registration numbers shall be displayed on a prominent location on the vehicle in numbers and letters of at least two inches in height.

    (B) To the extent possible, the location and design of the former military vehicle registration number must conform to the vehicle's original military registration number.

(b) Unless otherwise prescribed by law, each vehicle registered under this subchapter:

  (1) must display two license plates, one at the exterior front and one at the exterior rear of the vehicle that are securely fastened at the exterior front and rear of the vehicle in a horizontal position of not less than 12 inches from the ground, measuring from the bottom, except that a vehicle described by Transportation Code, §621.2061 may place the rear plate so that it is clearly visible; or

  (2) must display one plate that is securely fastened at or as close as practical to the exterior rear of the vehicle in a position not less than 12 inches from the ground, measuring from the bottom if the vehicle is a road tractor, motorcycle, trailer or semitrailer.

(c) Each vehicle registered under this subchapter must display license plates:

  (1) assigned by the department for the period; or

  (2) validated by a registration insignia issued by the department for a registration period consisting of 12 consecutive months at the time of application for registration. Vehicles may be registered for 24 consecutive months only in accordance with Transportation Code, §548.102. However, the vehicle must be registered for 24 consecutive months and all fees must be paid for each year of registration, regardless of the number of months remaining on the inspection at the time of registration, if both of the following occur:

    (A) the vehicle receives a two-year inspection under §548.102; and

    (B) the application for registration is made in the name of the purchaser under Transportation Code, §501.0234.

(d) The department may cancel any personalized alpha-numeric pattern that was issued if the department subsequently determines or discovers that the personalized license plate was not in compliance with these guidelines when issued, or if due to changing language usage, meaning or interpretation, the personalized license plate has become non-compliant with these guidelines. When reviewing a personalized alpha-numeric pattern, the department need not consider the applicant's subjective intent or declared meaning. The department will not issue any license plate containing an alpha-numeric pattern that meets one or more of the following criteria.

  (1) The alpha-numeric pattern conflicts with the department's current or proposed regular license plate numbering system.

  (2) The director of the department's Vehicle Titles and Registration Division or the director's designee finds that the personalized alpha-numeric pattern, including plate patterns that feature foreign or slang words or phrases, use phonetic, numeric or reverse spelling, acronyms, patterns viewed in mirror image, or use a code which only a small segment of the community may be able to readily decipher, that may be considered objectionable or misleading, including that the pattern may be viewed as, directly or indirectly:

    (A) indecent (defined as including a reference or connotation to a sexual act, sexual body parts, excrement, or bodily fluids or functions. Additionally, "69" formats are prohibited unless used in combination with the vehicle make, for example, "69 CHEV".);

    (B) a vulgarity (defined as profane, swear, or curse words);

    (C) derogatory (defined as an expression that is demeaning to, belittles, or disparages any person, group, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, or refers to an organization that advocates such expressions);

    (D) a reference to race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation whether the reference is derogatory or not;

    (E) a reference to gangs, illegal activities, violence, implied threats of harm, or expressions that describe, advertise, advocate, promote, encourage, glorify, or condone violence, crime or unlawful conduct;

    (F) a reference to illegal drugs, controlled substances, the physiological state produced by such substances, intoxicated states, or references that may express, describe, advertise, advocate, promote, encourage, glorify such items or states;

    (G) a representation of, or reference to, law enforcement, military branches, or other governmental entities and their titles, including any reference to public office or position, military or law enforcement rank or status, or any other official government position or status; or

    (H) deceptively similar to a military, restricted distribution, or other specialty plate.

  (3) The alpha-numeric pattern is currently issued to another owner.

  (4) Notwithstanding the limitations on issuance of plate patterns in this subsection, the department may issue patterns that refer to publicly and privately funded institutions of higher education, including military academies, whether funded by state or federal sources, or both.

(e) A decision to cancel or not issue a personalized alpha-numeric pattern under subsection (d) of this section may be appealed to the executive director of the department or the executive director's designee within 20 days of notification of the cancellation or non-issuance. All appeals must be in writing and the requesting party may include any written arguments, but shall not be entitled to a contested case hearing. The executive director or the executive director's designee will consider the requesting party's arguments and issue a decision no later than 30 days after the submission of the appeal, unless additional information is sought from the requestor, in which case the time for decision is tolled until the additional information is provided. The decision of the executive director or the executive director's designee is final and may not be appealed. An appeal is denied by operation of law 31 days from the submission of the appeal, or if the requestor does not provide additional requested information within ten days of the request.

(f) The provisions of subsection (a) of this section do not apply to vehicles registered with annual license plates issued by the department.

(g) A person whose initial application has been denied may either receive a refund or select a new alpha-numeric pattern. If an existing personalized alpha-numeric pattern has been cancelled, the person may choose a new personalized alpha-numeric pattern which will be valid for the remainder of the term or will forfeit the remaining term purchased.

Source Note: The provisions of this §217.27 adopted to be effective March 12, 2015, 40 TexReg 1096; amended to be effective June 22, 2015, 40 TexReg 4003; amended to be effective September 10, 2018, 43 TexReg 5811; amended to be effective January 1, 2019, 43 TexReg 8636

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