2007 California Vehicle Code Article 8.6. Specialized License Plates
CA Codes (veh:5151-5160)
5151. (a) As used in this article, "state agency" means a state
office, officer, department, division, bureau, board, or commission,
or any other state body or agency.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature that this article contain
the authority for specialized license plates for state agencies.
5152. A person described in Section 5101 may apply for a
specialized license plate under this article, in lieu of regular
5154. Specialized license plates issued under this article shall
have a design or contain a message that publicizes or promotes a
state agency, or the official policy, mission, or work of a state
5155. The design criteria for a specialized license plate are as
(a) The license plate for a passenger vehicle, commercial vehicle,
or trailer shall provide a space not larger than two inches by three
inches to the left of the numerical series and a space not larger
than five-eighths of an inch in height below the numerical series for
a distinctive design, decal, or descriptive message as authorized by
this article. The license plates shall be issued in sequential
numerical order or, pursuant to Section 5103, in a combination of
numbers or letters.
(b) Specialized license plates authorized under this article may
be issued for use on a motorcycle. That license plate shall contain a
five-digit configuration issued in sequential numerical order or,
pursuant to Section 5103, in a combination of numbers or letters.
There shall be a space to the left of the numerical series for a
distinctive design or decal and the characters shall contrast sharply
with the uniform background color. A motorcycle plate containing a
full plate graphic design is not authorized.
(c) Specialized license plates may be issued as environmental
license plates, as defined in Section 5103.
5156. (a) (1) A state agency may apply to the department to sponsor
a specialized license plate program, and the department shall issue
specialized license plates for that program, if the agency complies
with all of the requirements of this article.
(2) The department shall not issue specialized license plates to a
state agency for a vehicle that is exempt from the payment of
registration fees pursuant to Section 9101 or 9103.
(b) The department shall not establish a specialized license plate
program for an agency until the department has received not less
than 7,500 applications for that agency's specialized license plates.
The agency shall collect and hold applications for the plates. Once
the agency has received at least 7,500 applications, it shall submit
the applications, along with the necessary fees, to the department.
The department shall not issue a specialized license plate until the
agency has received and submitted to the department not less than
7,500 applications for that particular specialized license plate
within the time period prescribed in this section. Advance payment to
the department by the agency representing the department's estimated
or actual administrative costs associated with the issuance of a
particular specialized license plate shall not constitute compliance
with this requirement. The agency shall have 12 months, following the
date of approval of the agency's initial application to sponsor a
specialized license plate program, to receive the required number of
applications. If, after that 12 months, 7,500 applications have not
been received, the agency shall immediately do either of the
(1) Refund to all applicants all fees or deposits that have been
(2) Contact the department to indicate the agency's intent to
undertake collection of additional applications and fees or deposits
for an additional period, not to exceed 12 months, in order to obtain
the minimum 7,500 applications. If the agency elects to exercise
the option under this subparagraph, it shall contact each applicant
who has submitted an application with the appropriate fees or
deposits to determine if the applicant wishes a refund of fees or
deposits or requests the continuance of the holding of the
application and fees or deposits until that time that the agency has
received 7,500 applications. The agency shall refund the fees or
deposits to an applicant so requesting. The agency shall not collect
and hold applications for a period exceeding 24 months following the
date of approval of the agency's initial application to sponsor a
specialized license plate program.
(c) (1) If the number of outstanding and valid specialized license
plates in a particular program provided for in this article is less
than 7,500, the department shall notify the sponsoring agency of that
fact and shall inform the agency that if that number is less than
7,500 one year from the date of that notification, the department
will no longer issue or replace those specialized license plates.
(2) Those particular specialized license plates that were issued
prior to the discontinuation provided by paragraph (1) may continue
to be used and attached to the vehicle for which they were issued and
may be renewed, retained, or transferred pursuant to this code.
5157. (a) In addition to the regular fees for an original
registration or renewal of registration, the following additional
fees shall be paid for the issuance, renewal, or transfer of the
specialized license plates:
(1) For the original issuance of the plates, fifty dollars ().
(2) For a renewal of registration with the plates, forty dollars
(3) For transfer of the plates to another vehicle, fifteen dollars
(4) For each substitute replacement plate, thirty-five dollars
(5) In addition, for the issuance of environmental license plates,
as defined in Section 5103, with a specialized license plate design,
the additional fees prescribed in Sections 5106 and 5108. The
additional fees prescribed in Sections 5106 and 5108 shall be
deposited in the California Environmental License Plate Fund.
(b) Except as provided in paragraph (5) of subdivision (a), and
after deducting its administrative costs under this section, the
department shall deposit the additional revenue derived from the
issuance, renewal, transfer, and substitution of the specialized
license plates in the Specialized License Plate Fund, which is hereby
established in the State Treasury. Upon appropriation by the
Legislature, the moneys in that fund shall be allocated to each
sponsoring agency, in proportion to the amount in the fund that is
attributable to the agency's specialized license plate program.
Except as authorized under Section 5159, the sponsoring agency shall
expend all funds received under this section exclusively for projects
and programs that promote the state agency's official policy,
mission, or work.
5158. When payment of renewal fees is not required as specified in
Section 4000, or when a person determines to retain the specialized
license plate upon a sale, trade, or other release of the vehicle
upon which the plate has been displayed, the person shall notify the
department and the person may retain and use the plate as authorized
by departmental regulations.
5159. A state agency that is eligible to participate in a
specialized license plate program pursuant to this article and
receives funds from the additional fees collected from the sale of
specialized plates shall not expend annually more than 25 percent of
those funds on administrative costs, marketing, or other promotional
activities associated with encouraging application for, or renewal
of, the specialized plates.
5160. (a) A state agency authorized under this article to offer
specialized license plates shall prepare and submit an annual
accounting report to the department by June 30. The report shall
include an accounting of all revenues and expenditures associated
with the specialized license plate program.
(b) If a state agency submits a report pursuant to subdivision (a)
indicating that the agency violated the expenditure restriction set
forth in Section 5159, the department shall immediately cease
depositing fees for that agency's specialized license plate program
in the Specialized License Plate Fund established under Section 5157
and, instead, shall deposit those fees that would have otherwise been
deposited in that fund in a separate fund created by the Controller,
which fund is subject to appropriation by the Legislature. The
department shall immediately notify the agency of this course of
action. The depositing of funds in the account established pursuant
to this subdivision shall continue until the agency demonstrates to
the satisfaction of the department that the agency is in compliance
or will comply with the requirements of Section 5159. If one year
from the date that the agency receives the notice described in this
subdivision, the agency is still unable to satisfactorily demonstrate
to the department that it is in compliance or will comply with
Section 5159, the department shall no longer issue or replace those
specialized license plates associated with that agency. Those
particular specialized license plates that were issued prior to the
discontinuation provided by this subdivision may continue to be used
and attached to the vehicle for which they were issued and may be
renewed, retained, or transferred pursuant to this code.
(c) Upon receiving the reports required under subdivision (a),
notwithstanding Section 7550.5 of the Government Code, the department
shall prepare and transmit an annual consolidated report to the
Legislature containing the revenue and expenditure data.
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