(1) When the license plates issued to a vehicle are due for reissuance, the department will send an annual registration renewal notice to the vehicle owner. The notice will include the total fees required for registration renewal, including the plate fee established in 61-3-321(13), MCA.
(2) When a customer renews a vehicle registration online or by mail and pays the required fees, the county treasurer will mail the customer a new registration decal and reissued plates of the same design, including personalized license plates and amateur radio plates.
(a) For purposes of this rule, "same design" means an identical design or the most current version of that plate. For example:
(i) a sponsor plate will be reissued as the same design sponsor plate; if the sponsor has revised the plate's design, then the most current version will be provided; or
(ii) a standard issue plate will be reissued as a plate with the same graphics and year. This means that a vehicle with a 1989 standard issue plate will be reissued a 1989 standard issue plate, and a vehicle with a 2006 standard issue plate will be reissued a 2006 standard issue plate. Standard plate designs and years can be viewed at https://doj.mt.gov/driving/license-plates/.
(b) To select a different license plate design, a vehicle owner must contact the county treasurer's office.
(3) When renewing a vehicle registration in person at the county treasurer's office, the customer may select a different plate design for reissued plates. A customer may retain the license plate number from expiring plates by paying the fee established in 61-3-321(13)(b), MCA. This fee is exclusive of other license plate specific fees and does not apply to retain a personalized license plate or the call sign text on an amateur radio plate.
(4) Regular replacement plate fees will apply to any plate replacement that occurs separately from the mandatory five-year reissuance cycle.