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Guide to Check Owner of a Car by License Plate Number in the U.S
Table of Content

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.

What Information Can A Car License Plate Give?

When you try to search for license plate information online, you can get the following information regarding the vehicle:

⇒ Vehicle specifications

⇒ Vehicle accidents records

⇒ Manufacturer recall and Warranties

⇒ Market value

⇒ Fuel efficiency

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

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

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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 (DPPA).

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.

Best Way: Tell the police

The DPPA prohibits the looking up of information based on license plates except for some specific reason. As an ordinary citizen, you don’t have the right to look up the license plate owner. If it’s a hit and run or you want to report a bad driver, you can tell the police and let them do the work.

Can You Find Vehicle Owner by VIN Number?

Yes, it’s possible to find a vehicle’s owner by using the VIN. Much like searching by license plate, you’ll need a reason, like a crime, to access personal information.

You can access information regarding the vehicle to verify its integrity. This is especially useful if you’re buying a used car. If a crime has been committed or a vehicle was abandoned, law enforcement will often assist you with finding that out.

There are several ways to locate a vehicle owner using either the car's vehicle identification number (VIN) or license plate number.

Step 1

Locate the VIN, which is printed along the inside of the car's door frame. If you cannot open the car door, the VIN is also located on the dashboard near the windshield.

Step 2

Copy down the license plate number. Make sure the plates are current by checking the registration year sticker on the corner of the plates. You will only be able to locate an owner using the current license plate tags.

Visit a reverse VIN or license plate research website (below). This service gives you the owner information from the current license plate or VIN. You can also go to a complete car history report site like Carfax.com. This will list the vehicle owner information along with the car's accident history, and it is less expensive.

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Understanding traffic fines in the United States might be complicated, especially when you get yourself caught for violating the laws.

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Photo: Poulinautosales
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.

Official Ways to Check The Car Owner

1.Contact Department of Motor Vehicles for Fee

Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) provides information related to the license plate. If you have a legitimate reason for needing to access the information, the DMV will help you.

Go to DMV’s official website the state, and type the license plate on the search bar. Then you’ll get information about the registration date of the vehicle, the model, the vehicle specification, etc.

But the service comes at a fee. And DMV doesn’t provide personal information such as the name, phone number, or address of the owner of the vehicle.

You must pay a fee for your search, which will vary but generally will be less than $50. Depending on the location and how you submit your form, you may be required to show proof of identity.

In some cases, you may get results from your request immediately. Typically, though, the agency will need some time to process your request and will mail you the results.

2.Contact the Authorities

If there’s a law broken or a public safety issue, you can reach out to the local authorities.

They may help with information to rectify the situation. They have more resources to help you track down the vehicle owner and assist in a legal situation. The police may not give you the information directly, but they can ensure it reaches the correct individuals.

3.Contact your Insurance Company

If the driver was responsible for damage to your vehicle or your property, you need to file an insurance claim. Insurance claims agents have additional resources to locate the driver of the vehicle.

Provided your insurance company accepts the claim, they typically will take care of locating and suing the owner of the vehicle. Depending on the outcome, you may never have any reason to learn the driver's identity yourself.

4.Private Investigator

If all else fails, hire a Private Investigator to track down the previous owner. Doing an Internet search for "find vehicle owner" will provide you with a long list of Private Investigators.

There are many online services that will comb through public records to find the person who was issued a particular license plate. However, most of these services charge fees.

If the license plate was issued locally, you may want to hire a private investigator to track down the owner of the vehicle. Look online or in your local phone book to find the names and contact information for private investigators near you.

Top Best Free Sites to Check or Search The Car Owner by License Plate Number in the USA

Editor Note: There’re many websites that indicate they provide a free license plate lookup service.

There are online databases that will assist you with locating publicly available information.

But, free lookups usually can’t give accurate information, some may get your personal information to send you harassing emails or messages.

1. Check Car License Plate on BeenVerified.com for Free

Best Free Sites to Check The Car Owner by License Plate Number in the U.S
Check The Car Owner by License Plate in the USA on BeenVerified.com

In the USA, BeenVerified is the most popular vehicle lookup website that allows you to use license plate numbers and VIN numbers to search vehicle history records. If you don’t have specific information, it allows you to run a rough search with Year, Make, and Model. Back up by billions of real-sourced data, both from governments and the public, the search engine will provide you with a detailed and accurate report.

Simple steps use BeenVerified website to check a license plate.

♦ Click BeenVerified Vehicle Search

♦ Type the license plate number, select its state, then hit SEARCH.

♦ You will wait a few seconds as BeenVerified searches its millions of vehicle records in its database and generates a report for the vehicle for you.

Best Free Sites to Check The Car Owner by License Plate Number in the U.S
Research a Vehicle By VIN Number on Bumper.com

You can use Bumper.com to research a vehicle by the license plate in the U.S. Bumper can help you know a vehicle’s accident history, salvage, and theft records. It’s also a great tool to help you compare the two similar vehicles. With the help of their cost data and 150+ data points of vehicle specs and recalls, you can make a wiser decision.

♦ Click Bumper.com

♦ Click SEARCH BY LICENSE PLATE, then enter the License Plate and select the State. Click SEARCH.

♦ Bumper will search on its database and give you a report that contains the information you need.

3.Seach the Vehice License Plate on Autocheck.com

Click Autocheck.com, you can search with a vehicle identification number (VIN), or you can search with a valid license plate number and state. Searching via a license plate and state is a terrific option if you can’t find the VIN, it’s hard to read or your car has no VIN.

In the box below, simply enter the license plate number and state. Once the information is submitted, records will be returned on that plate. Some searches may return multiple records. This often indicates that a vehicle owner has transferred his or her license plate from vehicle to vehicle. For instance, five years ago you may have purchased a Toyota sedan and you recently traded it in for a Honda SUV and kept your current license plate. Both vehicles will be tied to the same plate.

If multiple records are returned, simply select the vehicle record from the drop-down box and get the report. Then begin enjoying all of the unique benefits of choosing a vehicle history report from Experian Automotive to help you understand, compare and select the right vehicle.

Best Free Sites to Check The Car Owner by License Plate Number in the U.S
Search for vehicle history records with a valid US license plate number on Autocheck.com

Note: No VIN? Check the vehicle history with a license plate and state instead.

4.More Best Sites to Trace US Vehicle Owner

Vehiclehistory.com: Vehicle License Plate Search

A vehicle license plate search is similar to a VIN check. You type in the license plate number of a given vehicle, and we provide you with information about it.

Vincheck.info: Free License Plate Search and Lookup

Search and check license plate and get a free vehicle history report. A car’s license plate number is linked to its VIN in public vehicle records. You can search the records of over 268 million registered vehicles in the United States. Aside from a free VIN Check or VIN lookup, VinCheck.info also offers a free license plate search or lookup tool. You can check whether a used car, truck or SUV has hidden problems.

Enter and search a license plate number below to get a free vehicle history report.

License-plate-look-up.net

All vehicle owners in the United States must have an up-to-date license plate or temporary license plate attached to their vehicles prior to driving on any road. License plates are issued by individual states, and each vehicle is given a unique license plate number. This license plate allows state governments to track vehicle ownership, which in turn means that you also have access to some of this informatio.

Faxvin.com

FAXVIN eliminate this hassle and make the whole process of acquiring the records on vehicles easy, safe, and quick. It gives you an exclusive opportunity to run reverse license plate lookup along with all other types of checks that you may be interested in.

To start you plate search you’ll need to take the following steps:

→ Enter the number on the plate into our online checker.

Hit the Check Now button.

→ Get the results in the form of a short informative report. Usually, it takes a few minutes.

→ Read the report from your mobile, PC, laptop, etc.

3 Main Reasons to Trace Vehicle Owner by Number Plate

There are a few logical reasons you might need to look up a vehicle’s owner by the plate number.

Hit and Run Accidents

If you can get the license plate number, law enforcement will likely take care of it from there. They’ll likely use the plate information to track down the other individual involved in the incident.

You may not ever get any of the information, as it could go directly to your insurance company.

Strange Behavior

If someone’s acting weird, having their license plate number can help with tracking them down. Whether it’s racing down the road in front of your house or ignoring stop signs, getting a license plate number can help you identify the owner of the vehicle.

Buying a Used Car

Buying a used car involves a lot of trust, but having the license plate number can help confirm you’re buying the vehicle from the owner. You don’t want to find out that the person selling the car isn’t the owner.

The Permissible Uses for License Plate Owner Information

♦ 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

Conclusion

It’s perfectly legal to look up car owners by plate number. There are only issues if you use the information improperly. You couldn’t use the information to stalk or harass someone, for example. You also can’t use it for a background check, to screen tenants, or to determine eligibility for mortgages, credit checks, or insurance.

Should you find yourself in a situation where someone else causes damage to your vehicle, having a dashcam installed will help capture a license plate to give to the authorities.

Looking up a license plate owner is illegal, if you encounter an accident, turn to the police for help. But you can run a license plate search before buying a second-hand car. Knowing a vehicle history would help you know better about the car and get a good deal.

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