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License Plate Owner Information

We get asked a lot whether it is legal or not to lookup 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 issue.

Would you like someone to lookup your information just by your license plate? Probably not, especially if that person may be some psychopath or stalker.

We've good some good and bad news for you.

Is it legal to lookup personal information based on a license plate?

Short answer: NO, it is not illegal. 

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

According to the DPPA the motor vehicle departments are prohibited in releasing personal information of vehicle owners except permissible uses. It was passed in 1994 after many individuals 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 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 the owner information or if its within the law. 

Considering the above mentioned laws and regulations, FindByPlate.com has decided to exclude any owner information from its records. We will not publish names, addresses or phone numbers of individuals who own the vehicle. If you notice any other user, who posted a public comment with the owner information, please let us know and we will redact those details from the comments.

We may re-consider our decision but 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. We want to create a safer environment for our future generations