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There are different motor vehicle rules and regulations implemented for every US state. Different registration and renewal processes, a variety of personalized license plate designs, and more. Among these is the license plate lookup.

A vehicle license plate search allows you to get information about a car. This works the same with a VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) lookup. We made things easier for you by giving instant access to a secure online free license plate lookup tool.

Simply enter the plate number, wait for the search to complete, and get access to the report instantly! A plate number lookup can help you get the vehicle history like liens or citations, accidents, insurance, car make, and more.

How to Lookup a License Plate 

There are different ways of searching for license plate information. The first thing you need to have is the license plate number or VIN. The license plate is usually located at the rear part of the vehicle or it can be both front and rear.

You can do either of the following to perform a free license plate lookup: 

  1. Contact your state DMV (Division of Motor Vehicle) to do a license plate number lookup. But remember that not every state releases vehicle information. In case they do have it available in the public records, you can contact them online by visiting the state DMV website and request license plate record information. You can get information on the vehicle record and the registration plate.
  2. Aside from the DMV, there are websites that offer free license plate lookup services, and some would charge for using their services. Some even have a reverse license plate lookup available.

Custom License Plate Options

Types of Custom and Vanity License Plates: general information for the USA

In almost every state, there's a wide variety of personalized license plate numbers available for every car. There's a specialty license plate for people who are die-hard sports fans. There's a personalized plate for current students or college alumni. A vanity plate is also available for disabled persons. If you're a part of an organization, or just plain want a customized one, there's a vanity plate just for you. Any vehicle owner can order this online through their local DMV website or county clerk's office.

VIN Decoder

There's a way for anyone to look up the license plate record without using the number plate itself. You don't even have to do a reverse license plate search. As long as you have the VIN number, you can get any details like the vehicle registration, vehicle history report, court records and other details. Wherever you are, your state's DMV should be able to provide you information by doing a VIN lookup. This is a better way of getting information other than doing a license plate check.

US License Plate Sizes

In all 50 states, most follow the standard size of a plate for commercial or passenger vehicles which is 6"x12". For motorcycles and other types, it's 4"x7". Also, a plate frame is allowed as long as it doesn't obscure any information like the sticker and the number itself, unless you want to be pulled over by a police officer.

Is Looking Up a License Plate Number Illegal?

If the goal is to lookup license plate numbers for unlawful reasons, then it's definitely illegal, as per the Federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act in the United States. But every state has its own rules when it comes to providing information when it comes to a plate search. As long as your reasons will fall within the acceptable circumstances, then the information you're looking for can be provided.

Are License Plate Numbers Public Record?

Since a state license plate for your car is issued by your local DMV or county clerk's office, it's considered a public record, just like your driver's license information. The plate and the registration sticker are constantly displayed, wherever you go to. Even a temporary license plate is considered as part of the public record.

What Do Cops See When They Run Your Plates?

Any license plate owner who gets pulled over by traffic personnel or any police officer will have their plates run on their system. When they run your license plate number, they have access to your driving and vehicle information. They can also see if your driver's license is suspended, your vehicle history, and if the car that you're driving has been tagged as stolen. Every officer has a permissible purpose to run any plates, especially if the person driving the car is acting suspiciously. Sometimes, running a license plate number can make a difference in catching criminals on the run.

Why Do Some States Have Front License Plates?

Some states will require any owner to have front plates. Why? They believe that implementing front and rear plates would help in keeping the public safe. Those states that don't require front plates did it for the purpose of cost-cutting. Those who still implement the front and rear plate system still follow this to lower the crime rate. It's a lot better to track down a car with front and rear plates.

Some would also argue that a car that has a front license plate enhances the visibility of other cars due to the reflective coating. Lastly, revenue. A study showed that millions in revenue aren't generated because there's a multitude of reasons preventing a rear plate to be read in tollways.