It's a local ordinance for Hubbard, OH:
Originally Posted by Scott Kramer
(a) No person shall operate or drive a motor vehicle upon the streets in this Municipality if it displays a license plate or a distinctive number or identification mark that meets any of the following criteria:
(1) Is fictitious;
(2) Is a counterfeit or an unlawfully made copy of any distinctive number or identification mark;
(3) Belongs to another motor vehicle, provided that this section does not apply to a motor vehicle that is operated on the streets in this Municipality when the motor vehicle displays license plates that originally were issued for a motor vehicle that previously was owned by the same person who owns the motor vehicle that is operated on the streets in this Municipality, during the thirty-day period described in subsection (c) hereof.
(b) Whoever violates subsection (a)(1), (2) or (3) of this section is guilty of operating a motor vehicle bearing an invalid license plate or identification mark, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree on a first offense and a misdemeanor of the third degree on each subsequent offense.
(c) Upon the transfer of ownership of a motor vehicle, the registration of the motor vehicle expires, and the original owner shall immediately remove the license plates from the motor vehicle. The transfer of the registration and, where applicable, the license plates from the motor vehicle for which they originally were issued to a succeeding motor vehicle purchased by the same person in whose name the original registration and license plates were issued shall be done within a period not to exceed thirty days. During that thirty-day period, the license plates from the motor vehicle for which they originally were issued may be displayed on the succeeding motor vehicle, and the succeeding motor vehicle may be operated on the streets of the Municipality.
(d) Whoever violates subsection (c) of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. (ORC 4503.12)
The offense is a misdemeanor and he could go to jail. Yes, he probably needs an attorney.
If the vehicle displayed plates belonging to another vehicle, then a crime occurred. Understand that his attorney will point the finger at you and YOU may end up being the one to take the hit for knowingly putting false tags on the car ... assuming I have this right and it is your car.