How To Find A Name & Address Using A License Plate Number

Written by J. Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

If you spot a reckless driver or you're wondering who keeps parking their car in front of your house, then you may want to know how to find that driver's name and address. Doing so is relatively easy. All you need are the vehicle's license plate number and the state in which the license was issued. However, it's important to note that state laws dictate what information you can get about a driver through looking up a vehicle license plate. In some states, it may not be possible to perform such a search.

Contact the DMV

Get in touch with the appropriate state's DMV to find out if driver information is considered public information in that jurisdiction. A visit to the DMV website may give you the information you need. In other cases, you may be required to call. Occasionally, you'll be able to make a records request over the phone.

Prepare a Formal Request

Most states require you to submit a formal request for information. Typically, these are forms that can be acquired from state government offices or websites. Sometimes they are available through the DMV. A fee may be associated with making the request, and waiting times for search results vary by jurisdiction.

Review the Results

Delivery method of the search results is different for each jurisdiction. Some state governments will mail a copy of the documents. Others will send a link where the paperwork can be viewed. Occasionally, you'll be required to visit a government office to view the documents. You may be able to copy them, but be prepared to pay a nominal copying fee.

Other Search Methods

Simply plugging the license plate number and the state into an online search engine is likely to reveal a number of results. Most of these come from third party, independent search firms that have the connections necessary to obtain public information documents. Be aware that many of these search firms are not reputable. Certain red flags to look for include promises of free searches and immediate results. Many websites that claim their services are free eventually ask for a fee or a paid membership before you receive any actual search results. Search firms that promise instant results are likely using old, out of date databases that may yield useless information. Reputable search firms exist, but they will be up front about pricing and the timelines for their services.

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