Do UTVs Need License Plates in Your State?

Do UTVs need license plates? So many individuals purchase a UTV without considering the legal obligations associated with UTV ownership. There are a number of essential things you must understand to avoid getting into problems when riding your UTV and incurring expensive fines.

There are no state-specific guidelines since every state has its own criteria. While UTVs need license plates in some states, a few other state rules do not require registration or license plates.

Do UTVs need license plates?

Do UTVs need license plates

Identify your state from the list below to know whether you need a license plate for your UTV.

  1. Alabama

In Alabama, possession of a license plate of your UTV for private or public off-road use is optional. Registration for public usage also covers private use. Even though this registration is not required, some off-highway vehicle (OHV) regions may demand it, so verify before you move with it on the road.

  1. Alaska

Off-road vehicles such as UTVs need license plates in Alaska and may also be registered. In addition, if these vehicles are driven on public property, registration with the DMV is necessary. Refer to Alaska website for this policy.

  1. Arizona

On many wilderness roads, state motor vehicle regulations apply, meaning your UTV must be registered and you must be licensed. A fair rule of thumb in Arizona is that if a passenger vehicle can be driven on the road, it must be registered.

  1. Arkansas

According to Arkansas law, your UTV is not required to be registered as a motor vehicle, motorcycle, or motor-driven cycle in order to be operated on public streets and highways. In other words, utility vehicles shall not have license plates attached to them.

  1. California

In California, you are required to register your UTV and display a state-issued license plate or device. In other words, OHVs such as UTVs are exempt from regular vehicle registration but must show a DMV-issued ID plate or placard.

  1. Colorado

All off-highway vehicles, including UTVs, are required to have license plates and numbered in Colorado in order to be operated or even owned within the state.

You must be able to present proof of ownership in order to register your UTV. This proof need not be a certificate of title, as these are not usually available, but you should have a receipt or bill of sale at the very least. Refer to the Colorado website https://leg.colorado.gov/content/%E2%80%91highway-vehicles for reference.

  1. Connecticut

Residents of Connecticut must register UTVs they intend to operate on land they do not own or lease inside the state. The two-year registration charge is $20 in addition to the $5 plate fee and $10 federal Clean Air Act fee. 

The commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will assign an identification number to the ATV and provide the owner with a registration certificate and license plate. The identification number should also be displayed on both sides of the ATV’s front. 

  1. Delaware

In Delaware, Off-highway vehicles (OHVs) such as UTVs need license plates. Applications for registration can be processed at any office of the Division of Motor Vehicles. The applicant must describe the UTV (make, year, and serial number) and be at least 18 years old unless accompanied by at least one parent or legal guardian who provides written authorization on the application. The registration price for three years is $6.00. refer to https://dmv.de.gov/VehicleServices/specialvehicles/index.shtml?dc=ve_reg_ohv.

  1. Florida

In Florida, your UTV does not need license plates. In essence, there is no need to register your UTV or insure it.

  1. Georgia

In the State of Georgia, all off-road vehicles such as UTVs do not need license plates to operate on the land. See https://dor.georgia.gov/vehicles-exempt-registration

  1. Hawaii

In Hawaii, you do not need license plates for your UTV because they are not even permitted on any public roads or state parks.

  1. Idaho

It is necessary for UTV owners who choose to operate on all open-to-OHV-travel routes that are part of a local jurisdictional highway system (e.g., city, county, highway district) to have a license plate or be registered, ler Idaho state. This does not include any state roads or interstates.

  1. Illinois

Off-road vehicles including UTVs need license plates before they can be operated on land in Illinois.

  1. Indiana

The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) is responsible for handing out license plates to Indiana-operated off-road vehicles (ORVs) like UTV.

Visit a BMV branch to apply for a new registration if your current UTV is registered with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and your registration is lost, damaged, or requires a change in personal information.

  1. Iowa

Any UTV operated on Iowa’s public roads must head out to the DNR to get a registered license plate. The registration application can be filed with the County Recorder. If you buy a UTV from a dealer, the dealer must handle the application and pay all applicable costs on your behalf.

  1. Kansas

As UTVs are considered motor vehicles in Kansas, you need to register them and acquire a license plate with the Kansas Department of Revenue.

  1. Kentucky

UTVs are motorized recreational off-road vehicles. All UTVs are required to have titles in Kentucky, however; they can choose not to be registered. In other words, they do not need license plates, per state law.

  1. Louisiana

In Louisiana, your UTV needs license plates before it can operate. After registering your UTV, you will receive a decal that must be placed on the vehicle within 30 days of purchase.

  1. Maine

Do UTvs need license plates in Maine? This online service permits UTV registration with the State of Maine. After completing a transaction, you will receive a confirmation page for instant printing. Within thirty days, your official registration and stickers will arrive at the stated delivery location.

Registrations may also be obtained by mail or from certain licensing agents. Agents are permitted to charge $1 for registration renewals and $2 for new registrations.

  1. Maryland

UTVs, as off-road vehicles, need to be licensed yearly with the Department of Natural Resources and show the registration sticker they get. The decal must be displayed on the left front of the vehicle so that it is visible from 100 feet away during daytime hours.

You can also register your UTV at any Department Regional Service Center and acquire the registration sticker.

  1. Massachusetts

Before riding a UTV on private or public land in Massachusetts, it must possess a license plate or be registered. With the exception that UTVs used strictly for agricultural, forestry, logging, or construction activities are the only vehicles free from registration requirements.

  1. Michigan

If they have been converted for road use, registration and a license plate are needed for your UTV in Michigan. For use on public lands, ORVs, or UTVs must be registered with the Department of Natural Resources and issued a trail permit and decal.

  1. Minnesota

Yes, you are normally obligated to need a license plate for your UTV with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) before you can ride it in the state, even on private property. The cost to register a new UTV is $68.50, which includes the issuance charge, and the registration is valid for three calendar years.

  1. Mississippi

The Mississippi Department of Revenue does not require you to title or register your UTV. In essence, your UTV does not need license plate to operate in Mississippi.

  1. Missouri

A utility vehicle does not fulfill the definition of a motor vehicle or an all-terrain vehicle and hence will not be titled or registered. In essence, there is no requirement for a license plate in Missouri.

  1. Montana

In Montana, you can get a license plate for your UTV by purchasing a decal from the County Treasurer. You must display the OHV Registration Decal on your UTV. Your UTV does not need to be registered if you have permission to operate it.

  1. Nebraska

While motor vehicles in Nebraska need to be registered and need license plates before they can fully operate, off-road vehicles such as the UTVs do not need license plates to operate. Refer to the state law here.

  1. Nevada

Off-highway vehicle such as UTV in Nevada also needs license plate to be functional and must be displayed on the left or rear side of the vehicle.

You can also register through the mail, a licensed Nevada OHV dealer, or through the official online portal.

  1. New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, your UTVs need license plate if they are operated off the owner’s land. The resident registration price is $54 while the non-resident registration charge is $73. The proceeds from registration fees are transferred into accounts that are used to develop and maintain trails and finance related endeavors. The state of New Hampshire has built a network of UTV routes on public and private land and enables UTV use in state parks.

  1. New Jersey

In New Jersey, you need a license plate for your UTV before you can ride on public roads, lands, or waterways. To register and access a license plate, simply head to the state motor vehicle agency.

  1. New Mexico

In New Mexico, before you can display license plates in your UTV, you simply need to visit any New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) Field Office where you will complete a registration application and pay the required registration fee.

  1. New York

If you intend to ride your UTV anywhere in New York State, including on your own property, you need a license plate or register it with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Your registration is valid for one calendar year, terminating on August 31 of each year. If you registered your UTV in New York prior to April 1, 2005, your registration will continue to expire on April 30 each year.

  1. North Carolina

In North Carolina, UTVs need license plates to function. In other words, you will need to register it with the North Carolina DMV before taking it on public roadways.

  1. North Dakota

In North Dakota, UTVs (referred to as “OHVs”) that will be operated on public land also need license plates. You can register your UTV at any of the North Dakota Department of Transportation locations across the state.

  1. Ohio

You will not be able to use your UTV in the state of Ohio without first registering and numbering the vehicle. On blanks given by the registrar for this purpose, you can submit an application for registration and the required fee to the registrar of motor vehicles or a deputy registrar.

You will receive both a license plate and a registration decal. They must be installed on your UTV and stay visible at all times.

  1. Oklahoma

When purchasing an all-terrain vehicle in Oklahoma, you should obtain a title within 30 days and register the vehicle at a Service Oklahoma or Licensed Operator site (formerly called a Tag Agency).

  1. Oregon

The Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicle Services (DMV) does not need titling or registration for off-road-only Class I, II, III, or IV UTVs. However, Class II and Class III UTVs that are utilized both off-road and on paved roads must be titled and registered. The DMV offers optional titles for Class I, II, and III ATVs operated exclusively off-road, without registration.

  1. Pennsylvania

UTVs should be titled and registered with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources unless they are used exclusively as farm or commercial vehicles.

Registration is necessary if you want to ride your UTV on any Pennsylvania public land. It is valid for two years, and you will receive a license plate, a card, and an expiration sticker.

  1. Rhode Island

If you want to operate a UTV in Rhode Island, you will need a license plate by simply heading to the Director of Natural Resources. The annual registration charge for an ATV or UTV is $10.

Before you can register a UTV in Rhode Island, the division of motor vehicles must issue you a title. If you do not have a certificate of title, you can request one from the division of motor vehicles.

  1. South Carolina

Anybody in possession of a UTV should obtain a license plate in an unobstructed manner and register from the Department of Motor Vehicles by providing proof of ownership and liability insurance for the UTV, as well as paying a ten-dollar biennial fee.

  1. South Dakota

In South Dakota, any off-road vehicle such as the UTVs may not be registered or licensed for highway use, although it can be titled.

  1. Tennessee

It is not necessary or needed to register your UTV in Tennessee unless it is a UTV that will be operated on County Roads, in which case it must be registered as a Class I off-highway vehicle and a medium-speed vehicle.

  1. Texas

Off-highway vehicles such as the UTVs should be titled by the TxDMV, however, they are not eligible for registration. That said, you can purchase an Off-Highway Vehicle license plate from your county tax assessor-office collector if you own an off-road vehicle.

  1. Utah

Under the new Utah regulation, every street-legal UTV is required to be registered in order to operate. UTV owners will receive license plates of the same size as those issued for motorcycles upon registration.

  1. Vermont

Do UTVs need license plates in Vermont? The short answer is yes—you can verify via the Vermont state DMV website. That said, if you are registering your UTV for the first time in Vermont (whether it was acquired in Vermont or out-of-state), you must complete the Vermont Registration, Tax, and Title application (VD-119) in its entirety and comply with all requirements listed on the application.

If you do not indicate differently, license plates are assigned and mailed to you.

  1. Virginia

In Virginia, even though UTVs and other forms of off-road vehicles can be titled, it is not required to be registered and be given license plates.

  1. Washington

In Washington, it is necessary to title and register your UTV and receive ORV decals or tags. In order to register your UTV, you should visit a vehicle licensing office within 15 days of purchase. Failure to comply can incur further charges.

  1. West Virginia

Under the new rule passed in March of 2020, if you intend to ride your UTV on the street, you should register it as a “street-legal special purpose vehicle.”

Registration of an off-road vehicle for use on public roads is identical to the registration of a motorcycle. This necessitates the acquisition of a valid registration card, proof of insurance, and a DMV-issued license plate.

  1. Wisconsin

UTVs that operate within the state and meet the statutory categories should be registered as either public use, private use-agricultural, or private use-nonagricultural vehicles. 

The Department of Transportation in Wisconsin issues titles and/or registrations (license plates).

  1. Wyoming

It is required to register and get a license plate for your UTV, but not to present proof of liability insurance to the DMV. By registering your ATV, you will be able to ride it on permitted public roads.

Read also: steps to report if your license plate gets stolen


In several states across the country, utility vehicles (UTV) are needed to be registered and show a license plate. We hope you find the information in this article useful if you do need UTV license plate. Just don’t make a fake license plate for your ATV.

Latest posts by Bernard Juchli (see all)

Bernard Juchli

Bernard Juchli is an experienced racer, mechanic and team owner who trusts Avon Tyres.Bernard is the lead driver and force behind his Big Dog Garage Race Team. He is the General Manager and Chief Mechanic of Jay Leno’s Garage. Bernard and his crew of seven are responsible for all repairs, restoration and fabrication of Jay’s incredible automobile and motorcycle collection.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button