Tennessee License Plate Display Laws

In Tennessee, only one license plate is necessary.
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License plates provide law enforcement personnel easy and quick access to information about your vehicle. They show the county and state in which the vehicle was registered, whether the vehicle is licensed for private or commercial use and the tags' expiration date. Calling the tag number into dispatch gives the officer all of the information about the vehicle’s owner.

Plate Location

In the state of Tennessee, owners of non-commercial motor vehicles must attach the license plate on the rear bumper of the vehicle. Owners of trucks weighing less than three-quarter of a ton and have a pickup or panel body style should also attach the plate at the rear. License plates for motor homes, regardless of size and weight, must be attached to the rear of the vehicle. Large trucks and truck tractors must have a license plate attached to the front end of the vehicle. License plates for motorcycles, trailers, semi trailers and dealers’ plates should be placed on the vehicle’s rear.


Securely fasten all license plates in a horizontal position on the vehicle for which it has been issued. The plate should not swing freely. It must have a clearance of more than 12 inches from the bottom of the plate to the ground. The plate also must be positioned in a clearly-visible location. You must keep it free of debris and in good condition to keep it clearly legible. It is against the law in Tennessee to place any tinted materials over the plate. It is irrelevant as to whether or not the plate is concealed due to the tint.


A violation of the laws relating to license plates is a misdemeanor. It is not necessary to appear in court. The first offense of these laws carries a $10 fine. A $20 fine is applied to all subsequent violations. Court costs may be added.