Section 40-12-265Mutilation or alteration of tags; replacement tags; use of improper tags.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to mutilate or alter, for the purpose of deception, any motor vehicle tag, plate, or validation stamp or to use upon any motor vehicle any tags, plates, or validation stamps in imitation of or substitution for authorized issued tags, plates, or validation stamps. It shall be the duty of all sheriffs, police officers, state troopers, license inspectors, deputy license inspectors, and field agents of the Department of Revenue to arrest any person violating the provisions of this section, and upon conviction of any such person a fine of not less than $25 nor exceeding $100 shall be imposed for each offense. The license inspector shall receive a fee of $1.50 for making such arrest, which arrest fee shall be collected as a part of the costs in any such action before a court of competent jurisdiction.
(b) In case the tag, plate, or validation stamp becomes so mutilated as to make it illegible, the owner of the vehicle must file with the county probate judge an application setting forth the facts that the tag, plate, or validation stamp or one of them has been lost, mutilated, or destroyed; and, upon payment of $2 and the surrender of the tag, if mutilated, the probate judge or the appropriate licensing authority established by local act shall forward $1 to the state Department of Revenue, and shall issue without additional charge a replacement tag or validation stamp to the applicant. The probate judge or the appropriate licensing authority established by local act shall retain $1 for his service. Should the lost tag or plate be recovered or come into the possession of such applicant, he must immediately deliver same to the probate judge or the appropriate licensing authority established by local act. Should any person use upon any motor vehicle the old tag or validation stamp, he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction be fined as provided in subsection (a) of this section, and shall in addition, be required to procure a proper license at the annual rate levied for such license.
(c) Any person using a motor vehicle with improper license plate or validation stamp, or failing to have tag, plate, or validation stamp properly displayed, shall be notified in writing by the license inspector or field agent. If after five days from the date of such notice said person fails or refuses to comply with said notice, the license inspector shall thereupon issue citation to such person to appear instanter and procure such proper license or, in the case of mutilated or lost license plate or validation stamp, to make the application and pay the amount as herein provided; where such person is cited for improperly displaying the license plate or validation stamp and fails or refuses to comply with the citation of the license inspector, such person shall be arrested and, upon conviction, fined as herein provided. In each case where the citation has been served in accordance herewith, the license inspector shall be entitled to a citation fee of $1.50.
(Acts 1935, No. 194, p. 256; Code 1940, T. 51, §708; Acts 1943, No. 577, p. 579; Acts 1973, No. 1285, p. 2197; Acts 1979, No. 79-797, p. 1455, §7.)