Fake License Plates Derailing Police Investigations in New York

Posted on July 16, 2021, byPaul Napoli

During the coronavirus lockdowns in 2020/2021, with New York Department of Motor Vehicle offices closed statewide, the prevalence of fake and fraudulent license plates increased.  Usually, the fakes are temporary license tags from New York or New Jersey, displayed in the car’s window.

In addition to the obvious crime of using fraudulent documentation, these fake plates complicate police investigations into both serious crimes (such as shootings and robberies) and traffic crimes, such as hit-and-run accidents.  Often, police have only a partial plate as initial evidence when an investigation opens, and when that partial plate is fake it can delay and even entirely derail the investigation.  For police, this represents an escalating concern: in the last few months, fake plates have been linked to thirty-three shootings and over five hundred car crashes.  

For the victims of those crashes, fake plates sometimes make police investigations ineffective.  Those victims must then pursue the responsible party through a civil investigation conducted by a personal injury attorney, as civil actions require a lower burden of proof.

Learn more here:  Authorities Get Tough on Fake Plates.