Photo: Princelawfirm
Guide to Check Owner of a Car by License Plate Number in the U.S. Photo: Princelawfirm

By law, motor vehicles owned and leased by the federal government must be conspicuously identified. The U.S. Government license plate was designed to accomplish this goal and much more. Over the years, the design, manufacture, management, registration, use, and disposition of license plates have evolved to address security, record keeping, asset management, and other issues in order to keep our drivers and vehicles safe, while ensuring good stewardship of taxpayer dollars, according to GSA GOV.

If you're looking for a way to check owner of a car by license plate number in the US, read the information below.

Check Owner of a Car by License Plate Number in the U.S: Illegal or not?

Photo: Smartcitylab
Photo: Smartcitylab

Short answer: NO, it is not illegal.

Long answer: Even though some websites claim its illegal, we've got some bad news, it is actually legal to find a vehicle owned by their license plate. But there are some restrictions on who and why can do such a check. It's the U.S. Code 18 § 2721 also known as Driver's Privacy Protection Act.

According to the DPPA the motor vehicle departments are prohibited in releasing personal information of vehicle owners except permissible uses. It was passed in 1994 after many individuals started tracking down and harassing abortion providers and patients, Findbyplate noted.

The permissible uses for license plate owner information are:

For use by any government agency

For use in connection with "matters of motor vehicle or driver safety and theft"

For use in the normal course of business by a legitimate business or its agents, employees, or contractors, but only to verify the accuracy of personal information and correct information

For use in connection with any matter before a court or arbitration proceeding

For use in research activities, and for use in producing statistical reports, so long as the personal information is not published, redisclosed, or used to contact individuals

For use by insurance companies

For providing notice to owners of towed vehicles

For use by any licensed private investigative agency or licensed security service

For use by an employer to obtain or verify information relating to a holder of a commercial driver’s license that is required under chapter 313 of title 49.

For use by private toll transportation facilities

For any other use in response to requests for individual motor vehicle records

For the bulk distribution of surveys, marketing materials, or solicitations (opt-in only)

By anyone when written consent of the individual is provided

For other uses specifically authorized by state laws

What Can I Get from a Free License Plate Lookup?

Photo: Poulinautosales
Photo: Poulinautosales

You can get a vehicle history report with the following information:

- Market value

- Vehicle specifications

- Fuel efficiency

- Safety rating

- Warranty or manufacturer recall

- Indicators of potential auto fraud and theft: title history, brand history, salvage or total loss history, odometer reading

Photo: Vincheck
Photo: Vincheck

In some cases, our free license plate lookup may pull up records for more than one vehicle. Based on vehicle information and other details, you should be able to identify which record pertains to the target car, Vincheck noted.

What does a license plate search result provide?

In many cases, if the license plate was previously reported, you will see images and videos submitted by our community, read comments and feedback, view related resources and more.

If you'd like to receive additional information, you may try contacting your state or local law enforcement, DMV, motor vehicles agency or local police department. They can provide additional information upon request and sometimes for a fee. All the information displayed on our website is public records. Specialty and Vanity PlatesIn most countries and states people can register vanity registration and personalized license plate, with custom characters or numbers.

For example a personalized plate or a vanity license plate may read "MY RIDE". In most countries and states profanities, obscene or offensive words or meanings. Registration is usually available on state DMV office's official website. A driver's license is required for vanity plate registration. These specialized and vanity numbers may incur additional license plate fees, it depends on the plate type. Contact your state Department of Motor Vehicles for more details on registration fee and procedure or check our state pages for fees, official websites and additional details.

Steps to Check Owner of a Car by License Plate Number in the U.S

Our process is quite straightforward. Go to our site and feed in the number plate in the search bar of our online checker. All the information will be displayed immediately.

Here are simplified steps to follow:

1. Key in the plate number into our online checker.

2. Click “Check Now” icon.

3. Receive the result report, which is usually short but informative.

4. Read the results from your Pc, phone, or laptop.

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