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  • License Plates & Placards in Colorado

    Colorado License Plates

    Colorado's famous (or infamous, depending on who you ask) green and white mountain plates still bedeck the majority of vehicles in the state. The colors date back to 1950, but the basic version of the current plate has only been sprucing up the look of vehicles since the late 1970s.

    Of course, some drivers find the plate dull and lacking the vibrancy that they believe reflects the state. After all, one of the state nicknames (and the phrase carved into the welcome signs at the borders) is Colorful Colorado.

    Thus, in 1989, the state introduced designer plates to assuage the colorless complaints, and from that date the alternative plate has evolved through a couple of incarnations into the current multi-hued landscape design. There is an annual $25 fee to own this plate.

    Surrendering Colorado License Plates

    Colorado does not require residents to return their license plates after relocating to another state.

    If you've sold your vehicle, you can transfer your old plates to another vehicle. If you do not plan on transferring your license plates, you should surrender them to your local Colorado DMV office.

    Specialized Plates

    Today, the state boasts a large variety of varying license plate styles. You can now support causes, represent your university, lineage, or Masonic group, or tout your service in the military.

    Plates are divided into numerous categories including collector, passenger, recreational, motorcycle, light truck, special interest, military and veteran, and disabled.

    Disabled Plates and Placards

    In order to receive the privilege of parking in handicap spaces you will need to fill out a Persons With Disabilities Parking Privileges Application (Form DR 2219) and provide a couple of forms basically verifying the disability. You will need to provide proper identification. Step-by-step coverage of this process is provided in the Drivers with Disabilities section.

    Handicap plates also come in a design specifically recognizing the service of disabled veterans. The forms and steps needed to obtain this plate are also discussed in the Drivers with Disabilities section.

    Lost plate or placard? For replacement information visit our Replacing a Lost License page.

    Personalized Plates

    Show off elements of your personality to the world, or just your ability to create witty phrases out of seven designated spaces on a Colorado personalized plate. You can have your own saying on the purple mountain designer plates (light trucks and cars only), motorcycle, and the standard issue green and white.

    Regular plates allow 7 characters made up  letters (upper case), numerals (no zeros), dashes, blank spaces, and periods. Motorcycle plates, due to size restrictions, cut a character space off and allow only 6 characters.

    Obviously, no obscenities are allowed. A complete listing of character usage is available on the Personalized License Plate Application (Form DR 2810). Make sure you really like the phrase you create because the costs are quite a bit more than standard state-issued plates. If you choose a personalized designer plate then the fee increases even more. Do not send any payments with your application. Once the plate is approved you will be sent a bill for the initial payment due based on your selection.

    Columbine Plate

    This plate memorializing the victims and survivors of the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School is currently one of the most popular in the state. It features a columbine flower (the state flower) and the phrase "Respect Life" on a detailed mountain backdrop. There is a one-time fee of $50 for the plate, in addition to standard registration and license fees.

    Alumni Plates

    Most of Colorado's private and public colleges and universities allow you to display your allegiance via a license plate bearing the school's logo. Each institution's alumni association has a specific set of requirements for application (usually a donation). There is a one-time fee of $50 for the plates, in addition to standard registration and license fees.

    Personalized plates, minus the logo, are also available with the completion of the Personalized License Plate Application (Form DR 2810). Fees are higher for this service.

    Collector Plates

    Instead of antique plates, Colorado offers collector plates. To qualify, your car or light truck must be at least 32 years old. Registration is valid for 5 years. With this plate you are restricted to driving no more than 4,500 miles per year. In accepting these plates, you will be required to sign an affidavit saying you agree to the mile restriction.

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