The History of NM License Plates
License plates were first introduced in New Mexico in 1912, just two years after the state became a part of the United States. Initially, these plates were plain, with a number stamped onto a circular disc of metal, but they soon began to show more variety as the state government took a greater interest in their design, manufacture, and distribution. By the late 1920s, New Mexico’s license plates were becoming more decorative, featuring more colorful graphics and more distinctive themes, to help them stand out from the license plates issued by other states. This trend continued in the decades that followed, with each year bringing a new set of designs, ranging from simple and straightforward to complex and fanciful.
Some of the most popular and memorable license plates to come out of New Mexico’s history include the classic turquoise and yellow “Land of Enchantment” plates, which were first introduced in 1947 and remained in use for many years, as well as the iconic “Zia” plates, which have been part of the state’s license plate lineup since 1968. These plates feature the Zia symbol, which is a sacred symbol of the Zia Pueblo people and represents the four cardinal directions, the four seasons, the four phases of a person’s life, and the four aspects of human existence (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual).
Over the years, there have been many other notable license plate designs in New Mexico, including plates that recognize the state’s Native American heritage, celebrate its natural beauty (such as the “New Mexico True” plates), and pay homage to its diverse cultural traditions and influences. Each of these designs helps to tell the story of New Mexico, to showcase its unique character and values, and to create a sense of pride and belonging for those who call the state home.
In recent years, there have been some changes to the way that New Mexico’s license plates are manufactured and distributed. For example, in 2020, the state began using digital printing technology to create its plates, which allows for more precise and detailed graphics and makes it easier to produce custom designs. Additionally, the state has created specialty license plates to support various causes and organizations, such as wildlife conservation, veterans’ services, and cancer research.
Despite these changes, the basic purpose of New Mexico’s license plates remains the same: to identify vehicles and their owners, and to ensure that everyone on the road is in compliance with state laws and regulations. At the same time, however, these plates also serve as powerful symbols of the state’s identity and character, as well as an important avenue for artistic expression and celebration.
Types of NM License Plates
License plates in New Mexico come in a variety of designs, each catering to different interests or causes. Here are some of the different types of license plates available to New Mexico drivers:
Standard License Plates
The standard license plate in New Mexico is the “Sunshine” plate. It features a yellow sun with red rays and the state name and motto (“Land of Enchantment”) at the top and bottom, respectively. These plates are issued to all vehicles unless the driver opts for a specialty plate.
Prestige License Plates
Prestige plates are customized plates featuring a personalized message of up to seven characters. These plates are often chosen by businesses or individuals who want to promote their brand. In New Mexico, the prestige plates have a black background with white letters and numbers.
Specialty License Plates
Specialty license plates are available to drivers who want to show support for a particular cause or organization. Some of the specialty plates available in New Mexico include plates for veterans, first responders, and breast cancer awareness. These plates often have unique designs or colors that distinguish them from standard plates.
Organizational License Plates
Organizational plates are similar to specialty plates, but they represent a specific organization rather than a cause. For example, there are plates available for the University of New Mexico, New Mexico State University, and the Albuquerque Isotopes minor league baseball team. These plates often feature the organization’s logo or mascot.
Cultural License Plates
Cultural plates celebrate the diversity of New Mexico’s population and feature designs related to different communities and traditions. Some of the cultural plates available in New Mexico include plates for the Navajo Nation, the Zia Pueblo, and the Mimbres people. These plates often feature unique symbols and designs that represent the culture they represent.
Military License Plates
New Mexico also offers military license plates to honor and recognize the service of the state’s veterans and active-duty military personnel. There are plates available for each branch of the military, as well as plates for Purple Heart recipients and Gold Star families. These plates often feature military insignia or symbols specific to the branch or award.
Choosing a license plate in New Mexico is more than just a way to display your vehicle’s registration. It’s an opportunity to showcase your interests, support a cause or organization, or honor your service to the country. With so many options to choose from, there’s a license plate available for everyone.
How to Register Your Car with an NM License Plate
If you want to drive a car legally on the roads of New Mexico, registering it with the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) is a must. Below are the steps to follow to register your vehicle with an NM license plate.
Step 1: Gather Required Documents
Before heading to the MVD office, gather the following documents that are required for car registration in New Mexico:
- Proof of car insurance
- Vehicle Title Certificate or Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin (if it is a new vehicle)
- VIN verification receipt
- New Mexico driver’s license or ID card (if applicable)
- Social security number (if applicable)
- Payment for registration fee
Note that the required documents may vary depending on the circumstances.
Step 2: Complete an Affidavit of Ownership
Fill out an Affidavit of Ownership form, which certifies that you are the legal owner of the vehicle. You can download the form from the MVD website or pick it up at an MVD office.
Step 3: Visit an MVD Office
Take all the required documents and the affidavit of ownership form to an MVD office near you. The MVD agent will verify the documents, and if everything is in order, they will register your car and issue an NM license plate.
The registration fee may vary depending on the type of vehicle, its weight, and age, among other factors. It is typically less for passenger cars than for trucks and commercial vehicles. If you are registering a new vehicle, you may have to pay a one-time fee for the issuance of a title.
Once you’ve registered your vehicle, you will be given a temporary registration permit to display on your car until your official NM license plates arrive in the mail.
Step 4: Renew Your Car Registration Annually
Your car registration is only valid for one year and must be renewed annually. You will receive a notice in the mail from the MVD reminding you when your registration is due for renewal. You can renew your registration online, by mail, or in-person at an MVD office.
Don’t forget to keep your vehicle registration current to avoid late fees and penalties, as well as potential legal consequences.
In summary, registering your car with an NM license plate is a straightforward process that involves gathering the required documents, completing an affidavit of ownership, visiting an MVD office, and paying the registration fee. By staying on top of your car registration and renewing it annually, you can enjoy the many beautiful sights and sounds of New Mexico with peace of mind.
Personalized NM License Plates
New Mexico is a state with a vast and diverse culture, and as such, it’s no surprise that residents want to express their love for their home in personalized ways. Personalized New Mexico license plates are an excellent way to demonstrate pride in being a New Mexican. They are also good conversation starters and a great way to make your vehicle stand out on the road. Personalized NM license plates allow vehicle owners to choose up to seven characters for their license plates, including letters, numbers, and special characters, among others.
Personalized New Mexico license plates are available to all registered vehicles in the state, including cars, trucks, motorcycles, trailers, and others. Whether you want to display your name, your favorite sports team, or a witty phrase, personalized NM license plates are an excellent canvas for self-expression.
There are several requirements for obtaining personalized New Mexico license plates. Some of these requirements include proof of vehicle registration and insurance, application fees, and submission of the desired message, which will undergo several checks to ensure that it complies with New Mexico State’s laws governing personalized license plates. The state also reserves the right to reject any message deemed derogatory or offensive.
The cost of personalized NM license plates varies depending on the desired message, type of vehicle, and whether you want a regular or specialty plate. Specialty plates are available for an additional fee and come in different designs representing various sports teams, colleges, and organizations, among others.
The process of obtaining personalized New Mexico license plates is relatively simple and can be completed online or at any of the state’s Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) offices. Once you have submitted your application and paid the required fees, the state will process your request and issue your personalized license plates within a few weeks.
Personalized New Mexico license plates are more than just a display of customized text; they are a representation of your identity. They allow you to showcase your creativity, demonstrate your pride, and make your vehicle stand out from the rest. Additionally, personalized NM license plates are an excellent way to commemorate special occasions such as birthdays, wedding anniversaries, and graduations, among others.
To conclude, personalized NM license plates are a popular way to personalize your vehicle and show off your New Mexico pride. They are easy to obtain, affordable, and come in various designs and colors. Whether you want to display your name, your favorite sports team or organization, or a witty phrase, personalized New Mexico license plates provide the perfect canvas for self-expression. They are an excellent investment for anyone who loves their car and wants to add a little bit of personality to it.
Rules and Regulations for Displaying NM License Plates
Like any other state, New Mexico has a set of rules and regulations when it comes to displaying license plates. These rules are put in place to ensure safety and compliance with state laws. Here are some key things to keep in mind:
1. Proper Placement
One of the most important rules of displaying your New Mexico license plates is proper placement. In accordance with state law, both the front and rear plates must be attached to the vehicle. The rear plate must be placed on the outside of the vehicle, securely fastened in a horizontal position at a height between 12 and 24 inches. The front plate, on the other hand, must be fastened in a horizontal position at a height between 12 and 48 inches. Failure to place the plates properly can result in a fine.
2. Keeping Plate Clean and Visible
Another rule to keep in mind is that your license plates must always be clean and visible. This means that you should regularly clean them to ensure that the numbers and letters are easy to read. It’s also important to avoid any obstructions that may cover the plates such as license plate covers that are tinted or obstruct the view of the plate number. This can help to avoid being pulled over and fined.
3. License Plate Frames
New Mexico allows the use of license plate frames, but only if they meet certain requirements. The frames should not cover or obscure any part of the plate, including the state name, registration decals, and letters and numbers. This means that you should avoid frames that are too thick or block any part of the plate. Additionally, personalized license plates holders are specifically allowed in New Mexico for the purpose of displaying the custom message.
4. Replacement and Renewal of Plates
If your license plates have become damaged, lost or stolen, you must replace them immediately. You can do this by visiting the local New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division office and submitting the necessary paperwork. It’s also important to renew your license plates, either annually or bi-annually, to keep them in compliance with state laws.
5. Customized License Plates
In New Mexico, drivers have the option of ordering customized license plates. These plates have unique designs and can display personalized messages. However, there are specific rules and regulations that apply to these license plates. According to state law, personalized messages should not be offensive, indecent, or suggestive. Additionally, the messages should be limited to a maximum of seven characters or numbers. Special characters are not allowed, and any messages that include banned words may be denied. It is also important to note that the use of certain combinations of letters and numbers like “911” is prohibited.
It’s always important to follow the rules and regulations for displaying New Mexico license plates. Doing so can help to avoid any fines or legal issues that might arise otherwise. So, make sure your license plates are clean, visible and comply with state law, and renew or replace them in a timely manner when necessary.