Nevada License Plate Revoked for Defaming Californians

The Division of Motor Autos (DMV) in Nevada has slammed the brakes on a license plate it believes has “defamed” everybody from California.

The license plate studying GOBK2CA—thought to imply “return to California”—was revoked by Nevada’s DMV in Might, however the proprietor plans to attraction the choice this week, the Related Press reported on Sunday.

Greater than 270 million autos have been registered to drivers throughout the US in 2021, Forbes reported, with the DMV attempting to make sure that none of these license plates spell out offensive messages or impolite phrases. Anybody can elevate a grievance a couple of license plate, which the DMV will examine. As an example, a girl in North Carolina final yr was upset when somebody submitted a grievance about her license plate that contained the phrase “fart.” In the meantime, an inventory of rejected customized plates in Florida final yr revealed that one driver, who was in the end turned down, had hoped to get the license plate T BUNDY, in reference to serial killer Ted Bundy, authorised. And officers in Hawaii recalled a license plate in 2021 studying FCKBLM, which may very well be learn as “f*** Black Lives Matter.”

The company stepped in once more on this case after receiving a grievance concerning the driver’s GOBK2CA license plate. The proprietor is now getting ready for a listening to on Wednesday during which he’ll combat to have the bizarre plate returned to his car.

An indication welcomes drivers to the Division of Motor Autos in Los Angeles in February 2009. The Division of Motor Autos (DMV) in Nevada has slammed the brakes on a license plate it believes has “defamed” everybody from California.
ROBYN BECK/AFP by way of Getty Photos

The driving force was recognized on Thursday by native information channel KOLO-TV as Adam Steelmon, who had beforehand posted a picture of the plate on social media the place it went viral. His picture was reportedly favored by greater than 80,000 folks after he uploaded it to Fb.

“[About a week after the Facebook post] I get a letter from the DMV saying we do not really feel like your license plate is suitable and here is a letter saying we’re recalling them,” Steelmon advised KOLO-TV. “Native legislation enforcement have pulled me over to inform me they favored my license plate. Texas has pulled me over. In 20 years, I’ve had one particular person say properly I do not suppose your license plates are very applicable.”

The related statute governing applicable license plates states that drivers “cannot specific contempt, ridicule or superiority of race, ethnic heritage, or gender,” mentioned Eli Rohl, a public data officer for the Nevada DMV in Carson Metropolis. They have to additionally not include “any sexual, derogatory or obscene” phrases, drug or gang references, or “defamatory reference to an individual or a bunch.”

Rohl advised Newsweek: “I will be the primary to say that we do have a humorousness, and we frequently both wind up rolling our eyes or laughing on the clearly noncompliant plates that come by for evaluate. Nevertheless, whether or not or not we see the humor within the proposed plates, we do want to use the legislation equally and pretty. Generally we come to the fallacious resolution and uncover later {that a} plate mentioned one thing it should not, and we problem a recall. Generally—as on this case—that occurs when a member of the general public finds a plate out ‘within the wild’ and submits that grievance.

“The part that’s being utilized to GOBK2CA is NAC 482.320 (6) (e)—’Makes a defamatory reference to an individual or group.’ On this case, the defamed group is Californians. Mr. Adam Steelmon’s GOBK2CA plate shouldn’t be distinctive on this; we repeatedly flip down plates that share the identical (or very related) messages. If we have been rejecting purposes for different ‘again to California’ plates, then it isn’t an equal software of the legislation to obtain a grievance about this plate and neglect to take motion on it[…]

“If Mr. Steelmon wins his attraction, the DMV could should be receptive to that and revisit its interpretation and software of this statute—nonetheless, we do really feel that there’s advantage to this grievance, which is why the plate was recalled within the first place.”

A particular license committee meets each Monday to evaluate license plates which were topic to a grievance, earlier than figuring out which of them violate the Nevada statute. Drivers sad that their plates have been recalled could attraction the choice by taking the case to a choose.

Replace 7/11/23, 5:05 a.m. ET: This text was up to date to incorporate feedback by Nevada DMV spokesperson Eli Rohl.