How Do You Look up License Plates?


Quick Answer

To look up a license plate, visit the Department of Motor Vehicles website to see if driver information is considered public information. If not, get in touch with the local DMV and file a records request. Some states allow you to file a request over the phone while some require the submission of a formal request. Request forms, which are available at the local DMV, may come with certain fees, and wait times may vary by jurisdiction.

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Full Answer

The availability of information that can be obtained through a vehicle license check varies with every state. In some states, such searches are completely disallowed.

Third-party search also provide accurate and reliable license plate searches as a paid service. Websites such as People Public Records, Search Quarry and Vehicle Data Registry are third-party information providers that gather records from a variety of reliable sources such as the DMV, courts and vital statistics databases. They are transparent about the pricing and timelines for their services.

Be wary of websites that claim they can provide free license number searches with instant results. Many of these websites eventually ask for a fee or paid membership before they release any search results to you, and even if they do, it's likely that the information they provide is outdated and of little use.

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