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Carson City, NV 89711
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NEWS FROM: Director’s Office  02-014

All Big Horn Sheep Plates Must Be Replaced by December 31sr

Nevada motorists who still have the “Big Horn Sheep” license plate on their vehicles will be driving illegally as of January 1, 2003.  Plates with the silver and white background are being replaced by the new “Sunset” design as mandated by the Nevada State Legislature. The Department of Motor Vehicles wants to make sure the switch out is as painless as possible for motorists who do not already have their new plates.

“We want to make sure nobody is left behind because of something that’s not their fault,” DMV Director Ginny Lewis said.  “Our message is simple.  If you’re renewing in December, make sure you get ‘Sunset’ plates.  If you’ve already renewed for 2003 and still have ‘Big Horn’ plates, you need to see us.”

Motorists who have placed a yellow 2003 decal on a Big Horn Sheep license plate should bring those plates to a DMV Full Service office to receive a new set. No registration renewal or emissions inspection is required if the registration is current. However, motorists will be charged a $5 decal fee and a Prison Industries Fee of 50 cents per plate.

Only the “Big Horn Sheep” plate is being replaced.  Blue license plates, specialty plates and commemorative plates are not affected.

In an effort to smooth the transition, the Nevada Highway Patrol has agreed to a 90-day grace period for those motorists caught with “Big Horn Sheep” plates after the first of the year.  Instead of citing drivers for an illegal plate, troopers will issue a “fix-it ticket” requiring drivers to get the proper plates.

“The highway patrol’s grace period doesn’t forgive vehicle registration fees,” Lewis said.  “If a motorist registers late, late fees will still apply regardless of what license plate they have.”

The DMV has mailed more than 600,000 sets of “Sunset” plates to motorists along with registration renewal notices over the past year. While most motorists have already changed their plates with no problem, Lewis says the DMV is certain that some did not receive the new plates.

“Typically,” Lewis said, “we have about 6,000 registration renewal notices returned to us each month because of bad addresses.  Some of those are people who have moved out of state but we know some are people who have moved within the state and haven’t notified us of their change of address.”

The reason for the plate switch is to curtail illegal use of the “Big Horn Sheep” plate.  Lewis said it’s not unusual for states to redesign and replace licenses plates periodically.  The last change in Nevada was two decades ago when the “Big Horn Sheep” plate replaced the blue and white plate. The switch out was mandated by the 1999 Legislature in Assembly Bill 76.

Details on the switch out are on the DMV’s Web site at