$500 fine? California charges it as a fix-it ticket. Also, Calfonia law only specifies that the front plate be "visible". I'm sure that's open to interpretation. I keep my plate on the back floor and when I drive through known enforcement cities (Coronado and La Mesa) I prop it up in the corner of the passenger side window. I was trying to figure a way to adapt the hot rod style motorized retractable plate holder but the car is just too low.