How to Find Registration Information With a License Plate Number

Written by damica brownswood
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Many "reverse number plate number search" websites offer fast and affordable ways to find registration information using a number plate number. However, the owners of those plates are protected under the Drivers Privacy Protection Act (DPPA). This act restricts the general public from obtaining registration information without approved reasons. For example, if you are a victim of a hit and run or a business seeking to verify accuracy of information submitted by a person, you can obtain registration information under the DPPA. Using such information to spy on an ex would be prohibited.

The DPPA only allows access to information obtained by the department in connection with a person's motor vehicle record. Personal information such as a social security number will not be disclosed. If you have a legitimate reason for attempting to find registration information with a number plate number, you may contact the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or your local police department. This is the safest way to retrieve such information.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Number plate number
  • State of the plate number
  • Form of payment

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    How to find registration information with a number plate number

  1. 1

    Contact the police department. If your reason for obtaining registration information is related to criminal activity or an accident, contact your local police department and file a report. Be advised that they may or may not release the registration information to you.

  2. 2

    Call the DMV. If your reason is not related to criminal activity or an accident, or you were unable to get information from the local police department, contact the DMV located in the state of the issued plate. The DMV will have registration information on all number plates within that state.

  3. 3

    Fill out a request form. Some states will have these forms available online. If forms are not available online; request a form from the local DMV. Clarify the procedure with an administrator before completing the form. Some forms require the signature of a business or government official. This signature is to verify the legal reason why you are requesting the information.

  4. 4

    Pay the appropriate fee. The DMV will charge a fee to retrieve registration information. The fees will vary depending on the state. Check with the local facility for current fee schedule.

  5. 5

    Obtain the information. Registration information will be released to you if the DMV feels that your request is in compliance with the law. If your request is denied, you can hire a private investigator to further assist you.

Tips and warnings

  • While it is easier to use a reverse number plate search site, your reasons will still need to be in compliance with the DPPA. Using information that was not obtained legally could result in legal punishment.

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