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License Plate Owner Information

We get asked a lot whether it is legal to look up the vehicle owner information by license plate number. We have decided to post this article to provide more information and educate the public on this touchy subject.

Would you like someone to look up your information just by your license plate? Probably not, especially if that person is some kind of psychopath or stalker.

We have some good and some bad news for you.

Is it illegal to look up personal information based on a license plate?

Short answer: NO, it is not illegal. 

Long answer: Even though some websites claim it is illegal, we've got some bad news: It is actually legal to find a vehicle owner by their license plate. But there are restrictions on who can do such a check, and why. It's the U.S. Code 18 § 2721, also known as the Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA).

According to the DPPA, the motor vehicle departments are prohibited from releasing personal information of vehicle owners except permissible uses. It was passed in 1994 after many people started tracking down and harassing abortion providers and patients. 

The permissible uses for license plate owner information are:

  1. For use by any government agency
  2. For use in connection with "matters of motor vehicle or driver safety and theft"
  3. 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 to correct information
  4. For use in connection with any matter before a court or arbitration proceeding
  5. 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
  6. For use by insurance companies
  7. For providing notice to owners of towed vehicles
  8. For use by any licensed private investigative agency or licensed security service
  9. 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.
  10. For use by private toll transportation facilities
  11. For any other use in response to requests for individual motor vehicle records
  12. For the bulk distribution of surveys, marketing materials, or solicitations (opt-in only)
  13. By anyone when written consent of the individual is provided
  14. For other uses specifically authorized by state laws

This is a quick guide on whether you can find owner information or whether it is within the law. 

Considering the above-mentioned laws and regulations, FindByPlate.com has decided to exclude any owner information from its records (this information is usually provided by the public through the Add Owners link on a license plate page). We will not publish names, addresses, or phone numbers of people who own the vehicle. If you notice any other user who posted a public comment with owner information, please let us know and we will redact those details from the comments. For those who need to identify the vehicle owner name and address, and can demonstrate a permissible purpose, we recommend a license plate lookup by licensed investigators Docusearch.com

We understand and value people's privacy, so we will do our best to hide such personal information from our records. But we will continue to analyze the trends in different states, and we may reconsider our decision in the future. We want to create a safer environment for our future generations

FindByPlate.com is not affiliated with any state DMV and does not have access to state DMV records. Our information is compiled from public sources. Users of our website are free to add information to the best of their knowledge. Any owner information submitted on our pages will be redacted.