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Per every state law, it's required that every vehicle parked or driven on public roadways displays registration (ie. a license plate), except per certain exemptions (police, military vehicles, etc).

It is not legally required to display registration information while the vehicle is driven or parked on private property, even if the vehicle is visible from a public roadway.

Given that, is there any legal obligation to display a license plate while a vehicle is parked in the parking lot of a private business? Would there be any possible repercussions if someone, for instance, removed their license plate and put it in their trunk when they parked at the local Walmart?

  • Walmart is private property, but it's not your private property. And I'm sure Walmart reserves the right to tow/remove any vehicles from their property that violate any state laws or their rules; read the signs posted in the parking lot or their parking regs. – BlueDogRanch Sep 8 '17 at 15:25
  • In many states the vehicle code (including possibly proper display of registration) would apply to "public ways" including those "open to the public" across private property. For instance, you might be cited by the police for "running a stop sign" in a Walmart parking lot. Another example: in NH, there can be a remnant of a "public highway" on private property, that is no longer maintained by the town, yet gives the public the right to travel upon it, subject to all relevant traffic laws. – Upnorth Sep 8 '17 at 17:35
  • @BlueDogRanch furthermore, even though Walmart's parking lot may be privately owned, it is nonetheless a public place. – phoog Sep 8 '17 at 19:49
  • @phoog True, it is a public space. Walmart could not stop police enforcing traffic laws. – BlueDogRanch Sep 8 '17 at 22:38
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    Sometimes zoning laws or similar laws forbid unregistered vehicles from being on property for more than a certain number of days to prevent the accumulation of junk cars. – Gerard Ashton Sep 8 '17 at 22:50

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