What would happen if I changed the spacing on my number plate?

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Personalised and private number plates are all the rage as the general public and celebrities alike adorn their cars with personal messages. Even the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge rolled away from their wedding with the plate “JU5T WED.” If it’s good enough for royalty, it’s good enough for most people!


Still, it’s not as if you can stick on any old plate and cruise around a prince or princess. There are strict rules governing what is acceptable and not acceptable, and the law is ready to crack down on anybody who doesn’t comply. According to data from 2015 and 2016, an eye-watering 3,000 people are prosecuted for having an illegal private number plate each year! What’s one of the leading causes? It’s mis-spaced number plates and registrations.


Considering a personalised plate could cost thousands of pounds and a fine potentially more, it’s important to follow the rules to the letter. In this article, we explain how you can do it and why you should be uber-vigilant.


DVLA Action


First of all, let’s take a look at the process concerning what happens when a motorist is caught with an illegal, mis-spaced number plate. 


Straight off the bat, a fixed penalty notice is issued and you’re hit with a fine. Ouch. The real hit in the privates in the amount: it can be as much as £1,000 and an automatic M.O.T fail. And, there’s more. Once the police report is sent to the DVLA and it’s confirmed to have all the relevant info, the private number plate is entered on to the “misrepresented database.”


What happens next is down to you. For repeat offenders - two or three times – the registration number can be fully revoked and you’re left without your private number plate that you've paid for! Hopefully, this won’t apply to you, in which case you’ll be able to get new plates that are compliant. After photographic evidence has been analysed, you should be ready to roll again. Of course, if the new private number plate isn’t sufficient, it will be stripped and you’ll be placed on the ANPR stop list and issued a replacement registration.


What You Can Do


The best course of action is to avoid being pulled over by the police in the first place. When you use a certified seller and supplier like us, you can be sure this will never happen. However, if you’re a do it yourself type of person, there are a few tips you can use to ensure you’re compliant and you can find them underneath.


Grammar & Syntax


When it comes to number plates, the authorities are very keen on grammar and syntax so you should be, too. Mis-spacing characters is a major problem, which is why you need to understand the legal dimensions. For the spaces between the characters, the legal limit is 11mm. The above is for a private number plate fitted after September 1st, 2001. The font is another thing to keep in mind. Only certain ones are allowed and the rest are banned, italics being the most notorious example.




The last thing you expect to land you with a whopping fine is a bit of dirt, but you’d be surprised. Large and dark enough specs can look like a full stop and make the number plate illegal. Yep, the police have every right to pull you and give you a warning, and, if it isn’t your first time, they might enforce more stringent action. With that in mind, please make sure you wipe down your private number plate and give it a good wash.




The key is to dot the “I’s” and cross the “T’s” from a red tape standpoint. The wrong paperwork, whether it’s an innocent mistake, will land you in hot water because the plate will be illegal. So, read it through thoroughly before you send it off to be rubber-stamped and get a second opinion just in case.


Our “Number Plate Rules and Regulations” section has more information if you need it.



Why You Should Use Primo Registrations


A private number plate is a big deal and you don’t want to have to throw it away because it isn’t legal. After all, that’s a lot of money going down the drain. Here at Primo Registration, we can take the hassle out of driving and owning a car with a personalised registration. Remember: keeping one is the same as driving it in the eyes of the law.


Call us now or visit the website to learn more and place your order.