Nearly 5,000 vanity license plates banned in Maryland

If you are trying to get a personalized license plate in Maryland, the one that you request may not be allowed. The Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) said it has banned nearly 5,000 messages for vanity plates.

The MVA said this list has been building internally over the last 20 years. Their system is automated to flag any offensive requests, curse words, epithets and obscenities. In addition, these special license plates cannot refer to race, sexual orientation, religion or a disability. It cannot have any variation of the word "police" either.

Many of these banned phrases or messages on the list are considered offensive and some are even disguised by using a combination of letters, numbers and symbols.

On the MVA's website, "Depending upon the vehicle, you may request a message with at least 2 and up to 7 characters (numbers and/or letters). The MVA reserves the right to decline a requested message because it has already been issued or because it is objectionable. Note that it takes approximately 4 to 6 weeks for you to receive the plates."

Even though the objectionable license plate list is automated, a spokesperson for the MVA said some plates have slipped by in the past. Usually it is caught in the process of making the plate and they will cancel it right away.

There has been at least once case where a Maryland man took the state of Maryland to court over his vanity plate. It dealt with a Spanish word that translates into curse word in English. He filed several appeals, but the state ended up winning the case.

Here are some examples of banned phrases for the plates:

- W1NO

To learn more on how you can apply for a personalized license plate, go to