Do You Need Front License Plate In Wisconsin?

In the state of Wisconsin, the issue of whether or not to require front license plates on vehicles has been a topic of discussion among lawmakers, law enforcement agencies, and residents. 

Understanding the regulations surrounding front license plates in Wisconsin is essential for vehicle owners to avoid fines and legal consequences. This article explores the laws, benefits, and considerations related to front license plates in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Front License Plate Laws

In Wisconsin, the law mandates that vehicles must display two license plates: one on the front and one on the rear of the vehicle. This requirement applies to most vehicles, including cars, trucks, vans, and motorcycles. 

The front license plate serves as a means of identification for law enforcement and other motorists.

Benefits of Front License Plates

Benefits of Front License Plates

Front license plates provide several benefits for both law enforcement and the general public:

Identification: Front license plates help law enforcement officers identify vehicles quickly, especially in situations where the rear license plate may not be visible, such as when a vehicle is parked against a wall or another vehicle.

Traffic Enforcement: Front license plates aid in enforcing traffic laws, such as red light and speed camera violations, toll enforcement, and identifying vehicles involved in hit-and-run accidents.

Security: Front license plates can act as a deterrent to vehicle theft and assist in the recovery of stolen vehicles by providing additional identification markers. Some may wonder, ‘Can you put a sticker on your license plate?’.

Uniformity: Requiring front license plates ensures uniformity in vehicle identification across the state, making it easier to track and manage vehicle registration and ownership.

Exceptions and Exemptions

While Wisconsin law generally requires vehicles to display front license plates, there are some exceptions and exemptions:

Historic Vehicles: Vehicles classified as historic or collector vehicles may be exempt from the front license plate requirement. These exemptions often come with specific criteria and restrictions.

Custom Vehicles: Some custom or specialty vehicles may be granted exemptions from the front license plate requirement, depending on the nature of the modifications and their compliance with state regulations.

Special Circumstances: In certain situations, such as temporary vehicle permits or dealer plates, front license plates may not be required. These exceptions are typically temporary and subject to specific conditions.

Enforcement and Penalties

Enforcement and Penalties
Enforcement TypePenalty
CitationMonetary fines
Court AppearancePossible
Vehicle ImpoundmentIn extreme cases
License Plate TicketIssued by officers
Repeat OffensesIncreased penalties

Failure to comply with front license plate requirements in Wisconsin can result in citations, fines, and potential court appearances, highlighting the importance of adhering to state regulations.

Public Opinion and Debate

The issue of front license plates in Wisconsin has sparked debate among residents, lawmakers, and advocacy groups. Some argue that front license plates are necessary for law enforcement and public safety reasons. Others advocate for exemptions or elimination of the requirement altogether.


Is it mandatory to have a front license plate in Wisconsin?

Yes, Wisconsin law requires vehicles to display both front and rear license plates.

Are there any exceptions to the front license plate requirement in Wisconsin?

Some vehicles, such as historic or collector vehicles, may be exempt from the front license plate requirement.

Can I be fined for not having a front license plate in Wisconsin?

Yes, failure to comply with the front license plate requirement can result in monetary fines and potential court appearances.


In Wisconsin, the law generally requires vehicles to display front license plates to aid in identification, law enforcement, and public safety. Compliance with front license plate regulations is essential to avoid fines and legal consequences. There are exceptions and exemptions for certain vehicles.

The debate in Wisconsin focuses on law enforcement needs and public safety concerns. It also considers individual freedoms. Understanding and adhering to the state’s front license plate laws is crucial for all vehicle owners in Wisconsin.

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