A license plate frame is a good way to brag to total strangers about what college you went to. A license plate cover is a good way to protect your auto registration stickers from getting stolen.
But if you don't read up on the laws in your state, these products may also be a good way to get a ticket.
That's because license plate frames and covers may be illegal in your state for obscuring the plates. This would be true even if your neighborhood store sells the popular products.
In states like Arizona and Texas, license plate frames may be illegal if the frame obscures any part of the plate. So if "Arizona" is not identifiable or any number of your Texas plate is obscured, you could get a ticket.
In other states like California, license plate frames may be legal, but license plate covers are not. This is true even if the license plate cover is clear. The California Vehicle Code prohibits all covering of the plate, regardless of how clear it is.
You should definitely read up on the laws of your state to find out what you can and cannot have around your license plate. If you're traveling through several states? You could travel with a screwdriver to remove your frames and covers when you go across state lines. Or more likely, you'll just risk getting a ticket.
So what should you do with your illegal license plate frames and covers? You could decorate your garage walls with your framed alma mater. However, a clear license plate cover probably won't make the best decoration.