License plates switcheroo
April 9, 2018 3:25 AM   Subscribe

I live in Ontario. I have a neighbor with four cars on his front yard and three sets of plates. One is presumably for parts and never moves. The others come and go, but sometimes, the neighbor will switch the plates between cars. In Ontario the plates are registered to a car so if someone ran the plates they should see the problem. I can't think of why the neighbor is doing this - is there some car thing I don't know about?

Sometimes other neighbors who share the corner with said neighbor will call bylaw because they leave one or more cars in the street, or parked all over the lawn. This is sometimes when plate switching occurs.
posted by Naib to Law & Government (9 answers total)
 
Police don’t generally run plates without a reason to, so unless neighbour is speeding or driving unsafely in front of a police officer they’re unlikely to draw attention. A car without plates gets noticed, though.
posted by rodlymight at 4:48 AM on April 9, 2018 [3 favorites]


Four cars registered for the price of three or the fourth can't be registered because it isn't in good enough condition.

As to why someone needs four cars, who knows.
posted by deadwax at 5:04 AM on April 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


U.S./state of Ohio - filter:

Only one of the plates is actually paid up and legit, it goes on whichever car is currently working/being driven regularly. Illegal here also, as plates are tied to a specific car, but in Ohio (and other states) you get a sticker to put on your plate when you do your yearly registration, so as long as the car you're driving has plates and the current year sticker, everything looks fine at a glance. If you've got something similar in Ontario, there you go.

And even if you get pulled over & the cop notices the plates don't match the car, you can sometimes talk your way out of a ticket by claiming you just put the plates on the "wrong" car so you could drive it over to a buddy's house to sell it to him or work on the brakes or something.

The dead plates on the other cars is a similar "camoflage" - three or four cars in a yard without plates makes the neighbors and the local authorities go, "Hey, this guy's turning his house into a junkyard!" Having plates on most of the other cars at least looks legit at first glance.

Source: have had more than one friend/acquaintance who are backyard mechanics or just motorheads with too many "project" cars for their income and living space who have pulled these kind of shenanigans.

Sometimes other neighbors who share the corner with said neighbor will call bylaw because they leave one or more cars in the street, or parked all over the lawn. This is sometimes when plate switching occurs.

This sounds like someone's half-smart idea of hoping to confuse the issue enough to delay/avoid a fine or citation; they figure if the authorities try to figure out what's going on and get dead plates and plates that don't match the reported cars and plates that are registered to other people, the whole thing will be too much hassle and paperwork and the authorities will just ignore the situation as long as the guy neatens things up for a while.
posted by soundguy99 at 5:41 AM on April 9, 2018 [10 favorites]


Ontario does use ALPR, so the cops do run plates without a reason, fwiw.
posted by adamrice at 6:12 AM on April 9, 2018


Ontario does use ALPR, so the cops do run plates without a reason, fwiw.

Right, but the system will only notice if the *plates* are associated with a problem - if the plates are put on a different car, the ALPR system can't say, "wait a minute, that's a Dodge Ram, not a Honda Accord!" (Yet.)
posted by mskyle at 6:54 AM on April 9, 2018 [4 favorites]


Sometimes other neighbors who share the corner with said neighbor will call bylaw because they leave one or more cars in the street, or parked all over the lawn. This is sometimes when plate switching occurs.

One thought about this, since you're in Ottawa, is that Ottawa has extremely strict city-wide parking restrictions for on-street parking (Parking Prohibited - Whether Signs Have Been Erected or Not [...] 1. In excess of three (3) hours between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.) that aren't really generally enforced in a lot of places, especially where there aren't actually signs. But they can be, and one way to accomplish this is pissed off neighbors who call in complaints. So one thing they could be trying to avoid is fines for the on-street cars, which would probably be the easiest thing for the bylaw people to enforce.
posted by advil at 6:56 AM on April 9, 2018


(That idea only really makes sense if the on-street cars currently don't move without some work.)
posted by advil at 6:59 AM on April 9, 2018


As a person with an older car in Ontario, I wonder if one or more of the cars do not pass the Drive Clean emissions testing, cannot pass registration, and therefore they're plate switching to keep driving it without suspicion on a plate that is not expired. That or the parking restrictions that would be enforced by plate # and not by car make/model are decent guesses.
posted by notorious medium at 9:12 AM on April 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


They could possibly be dealer plates. Here in CA, there are limits to how many cars you can register in a year before triggering additional hurdles. Dealer plates can be moved between cars, so lots of people for whom car ownership is a hobby get them.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 11:35 PM on April 9, 2018


« Older Alzheimers caregiver problems. Sigh...   |   Managing Contacts and Emails When Freelancing. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.