Senate Bill No. 357
(By Senator Schoonover)
[Passed March 8, 1996; to take effect July 1, 1996.]
AN ACT to amend and reenact section twenty-three, article three,
chapter seventeen-a of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, relating to
individuals and state agencies exempted from using state
license plates; and adding three plates per elected office
of the board of public works to the exemptions.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section twenty-three, article three, chapter
seventeen-a of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine
hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read
ARTICLE 3. ORIGINAL AND RENEWAL OF REGISTRATION; ISSUANCE OF
CERTIFICATES OF TITLE.
§17A-3-23. Registration plates to state, county, municipal and
other governmental vehicles; use for undercover activities.
Any motor vehicle designed to carry passengers, owned or
leased by the state of West Virginia, or any of its departments,
bureaus, commissions or institutions, except vehicles used by the
governor, treasurer, three plates per elected office of the board
of public works, vehicles operated by the department of public
safety, not to exceed six vehicles operated by conservation
officers of the division of natural resources, not to exceed ten
vehicles operated by the arson investigators of the office of
state fire marshal and not to exceed sixteen vehicles operated by
inspectors of the office of the alcohol beverage control
commissioner, shall not be operated or driven by any person
unless it shall have displayed and attached to the front thereof,
in the same manner as regular motor vehicle registration plates
are attached, a plate of the same size as the regular
registration plate, with white lettering on a green background
bearing the words "West Virginia" in one line and the words
"State Car" in another line, and the lettering for the words
"State Car" shall be of sufficient size to be plainly readable
from a distance of one hundred feet during daylight.
Such vehicle shall also have attached to the rear a plate bearing a number and such other words and figures as the
commissioner of motor vehicles shall prescribe. The rear plate
shall also be green with the number in white.
On registration plates issued to vehicles owned by counties,
the color shall be white on red with the word "County" on top of
the plate and the words "West Virginia" on the bottom. On any
registration plates issued to a city or municipality, the color
shall be white on blue with the word "City" on top, and the words
"West Virginia" on the bottom. The colors may not be reversed
and shall be of reflectorized material. The registration plates
issued to counties, municipalities and other governmental
agencies authorized to receive colored plates hereunder shall be
affixed to both the front and rear of such vehicles.
The commissioner is authorized to designate the colors and
design of any other registration plates that are issued without
charge to any other agency in accordance with the motor vehicle
Upon application and payment of fees, the commissioner is
authorized to issue a maximum of five Class A license plates per
applicant to be used by county sheriffs and municipalities on
law-enforcement vehicles while engaged in undercover investigations.
The commissioner is authorized to issue an unlimited number
of license plates per applicant to authorized drug and violent
crime task forces in the state of West Virginia when the
chairperson of the control group of a drug and violent crime task
force signs a written affidavit stating that the vehicle or
vehicles for which the plates are being requested will be used
only for official undercover work conducted by such drug and
violent crime task force.
The commissioner is authorized to issue twenty Class A
license plates to the criminal investigation division of the
department of tax and revenue for use by its investigators.
No other registration plate shall be issued for, or attached
to, any such state-owned vehicle.
The commissioner of motor vehicles shall have a sufficient
number of both front and rear plates produced to attach to all
state-owned cars. The numbered registration plates for such
vehicles shall start with the number "five hundred" and the
commissioner shall issue consecutive numbers for all state-owned
It shall be the duty of each office, department, bureau, commission or institution furnished any such vehicle to have such
plates affixed thereto prior to the operation of such vehicle by
any official or employee.
Any person who violates the provisions of this section shall
be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be
fined not less than fifty dollars nor more than one hundred
Magistrates shall have concurrent jurisdiction with circuit
and criminal courts for the enforcement of this section.