How to Handle a Stolen License Plate

Written by ehow legal editor
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A stolen license plate can be part of the commission of a crime. License plates are a direct link to the vehicle and the owner's personal information. Clearing up the matter of a stolen plate is vital; if it goes unreported, it may cause a lot of inconvenience.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Report the stolen license plate immediately to the police. Contact the police via the non-emergency number. Arrange to file a report at the police sub-station or ask that an officer take the report.

  2. 2

    Visit the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office and report the stolen plate. Present the title to the vehicle for the new plate, or complete a DMV form to request the title from the lien holder.

  3. 3

    Order a duplicate plate and validation sticker. Request a new license plate number to avoid confusion in the event the stolen plate remains in use. Pay the replacement fee.

  4. 4

    Receive a temporary tag for use until you receive the permanent plate. Display the temporary tag in the vehicle per the requirements of the DMV.

  5. 5

    Share any information about the whereabouts of the plate or the parties involved in the theft. Give the police details about the individual(s) who took the plate and a description of any involved vehicle.

Tips and warnings

  • Report a license plate as stolen only if you know for a fact that it was stolen. Otherwise, report the plate as "missing." Proceed as though the plate is stolen and in use by another person, but do not report it as a crime unless you are certain.
  • If your license plate is stolen, and used in the commission of a crime, it may result in you being suspect.

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