Ask a Trooper: What are the rules to have collector plates?

Published 8:40 pm Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Ask a Trooper by Troy Christianson

Question:  I own a convertible that I only drive in the summer when it isn’t raining (I hate to put the top up). My commute to work is 1.2 miles each way. It is now of a vintage that I could get collector plates on it, but I’ve heard there are restrictions on when I can drive it with those plates displayed. What are the rules? I would like to have collector plates but want to be able to drive it to work on sunny days in the summer.

Troy Christianson

Answer:  There are several requirements for “collector” license plates.

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• The vehicle must be a minimum of 20 years old.

• The owner must prove that they have one or more vehicles with regular license plates. 

• The vehicle is owned and operated solely as a collector’s item, and not for general transportation purposes. 

What are general transportation purposes? To law enforcement, this means that you can drive it to fairs, shows, etc., it but it is not to be utilized for work, school, shopping and other everyday activities. It is a judgment call on the part of the officer, but the intent of the law is that the vehicle is not to be used as an additional vehicle for your family.

If you are in violation of one of the requirements listed above, you could be charged with:

• “Improper use of registration” — a misdemeanor (90 days and/or $1,000 fine).

• “Intent to escape tax” — a gross misdemeanor (up to one year and/or $3,000 fine) depending on the situation.

These license plates are also subject to impoundment. As the owner, you are responsible for maintaining the proper registration on your vehicle.  If you are going to use the vehicle for other purposes, have regular plates on it.

You can avoid a ticket — and a crash — if you simply buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and always drive sober. Help us drive Minnesota toward zero deaths.

If you have any questions concerning traffic-related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson, Minnesota State Patrol, at 2900 48th St. NW, Rochester, MN 55901-5848; or reach him at

Troy Christianson is a sergeant with the Minnesota State Patrol.