(a) The distinctive license plates here provided for shall be prepared by the Commissioner of Revenue and shall be issued through the judge of probate, license commissioner, or other license issuing official of the several counties of the state in like manner as are other motor vehicle license plates or tags and such officers shall be entitled to their regular fees for such service.
(b) The Alabama Forestry Commission shall prepare a list of all members of certified volunteer fire departments and the Firefighters' Personnel Standards and Education Commission shall prepare a list of all members of paid or part-paid fire departments. The Alabama Forestry Commission shall also add to the list any retired volunteer firefighter retired from a volunteer fire department in another state who submits proof to the commission of eligibility pursuant to this division. The Forestry Commission and the Firefighters' Personnel Standards and Education Commission shall submit to the judge of probate, license commissioner, or other license issuing official of each county by December 1 of each year the lists of members of fire departments.
(c) An applicant for a distinctive plate shall present to the issuing official proof of his or her identification, and the firefighter shall be issued the requested number of distinctive license plates or tags upon the payment of the regular license fee for tags, as provided by law, but shall not be required to pay the three dollar ($3) fee. The distinctive license plates or tags so issued shall be used only upon and for personally-owned, private, passenger vehicles, to include station wagons and pick-up trucks, registered in the name of the firefighter making application therefor, and when so issued to the applicant shall be used upon the vehicle for which issued in lieu of the standard license plates or license tags normally issued for such vehicle.
(d) Any person who joins a volunteer, paid, or part-paid fire department after December 1 of any year or any person who is mistakenly omitted from the lists prepared as described above may obtain a distinctive plate by presenting to the license issuing official proof of his or her membership in a fire department by means of a certificate signed by the chief of the department on a form prescribed by the Alabama Forestry Commission.
(e) Anyone who is proven to have either falsely obtained or certified an individual to obtain a distinctive firefighter license plate shall be guilty of a Class C misdemeanor, and upon conviction, shall be punished according to law.
(f) A distinctive license plate shall be provided, upon written request, to a widow or widower of either of a paid, part-paid, or a volunteer firefighter who dies in the line of duty. For purposes of this subsection, a death in the line of duty is determined by a circumstance in which a municipal firefighter's death would result in a death benefit under Section 11-43-144.