Is It Legal to Look up Florida License Plates to Find the Auto Owners?

It is illegal to run a license plate check on another person, says the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles. Due to privacy concerns there are state and federal restrictions on who has the legal right to run a license plate in order to find information about a vehicle's owner.

Some online companies claim to offer license plate number searches. However, in some cases these companies are operating a scam, says the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles. Legitimate businesses that provide this service require the person filing the request to have a valid reason, which largely limits the pool to law enforcement and related entities such as towing companies.

The DMV recommends using Carfax's vehicle history reports if an individual is looking for information about a particular car's history. Using the car's vehicle identification number, or VIN, Carfax provides a report detailing any shop repairs that have been made to the car and any accidents in which the vehicle was involved.