Declined Criteria based on Transportation Code and Administrative Rule:

Personalized plates are declined if the alpha-numeric pattern:

conflicts with the department's license plate numbering system

is currently issued by another owner

the executive director finds that the alpha-numeric pattern may be considered objectionable or misleading, including that the pattern  may be viewed as, directly or indirectly:

indecent (defined as including a reference to a sex act, an excretory function or material, or sexual body parts)

a vulgarity (defined as curse words)

derogatory (defined as an expression of hate directed toward people or groups that is demeaning to people or groups, or associated with an organization that advocates such expressions)

a reference to illegal activities or substances, or implied threats of harm

a misrepresentation of law enforcement or other governmental entities and their titles


Application for a personalized plate is submitted (online or at the county tax office).

The following business day, TxDMV staff compiles a list from the department’s Registration and Title System.  Plate patterns which meet the objectionable criteria are noted on the list.

The Section Supervisor reviews the list and makes recommendations/edits

Section Director reviews the list and makes recommendations/edits

Division Director or designee reviews the list for final approval

Declined alpha-numeric patterns are flagged in the departments system, preventing manufacture and making the pattern unavailable in the future.

Then reviewing the alpha numeric license plates the reviewers:

Look at the pattern right to left and left to right with regard to the department’s criteria.  If the customer’s selection is declined they have three options:

choose an alternative number

receive a refund, or

appeal the department’s decision.


Plates are manufactured at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and shipped to the county tax assessor-collector offices, and picked-up by the customer, the plates are linked and synced to their vehicle. If the customer applied for the personalized license plates through their local county tax office the county will provide the applicant a 60 day specialty plate insignia and the plates are mailed directly to the customer.

Objectionable Complaints from the Public:

If a member of the general public submits in writing that they find a specialty plate objectionable the complaint is reviewed and a response is sent. (Three such complaints were received in the last year.)  Although it is infrequent, TxDMV has required a customer to obtain a new personalized license plate. An example, a personalized plate was taken out of circulation as a result of a law enforcement alert regarding gang references.

The department’s objectionable criteria provide a consistent way to review personalized plate applications and keep potentially offensive plate patterns off the road. There is no limit to the creative expression on personalized plates.

Verifying availability may be done online at either TxDMV or My Plates’ Web sites. If the response is "unavailable," it means the plate number is already taken or has been declined. 


Texas Administrative Code 217.28