Technically you are not allowed to do a California license plate lookup yourself. License plate information is held at the DMV and only police have access to those files. This doesn’t mean that you can’t get that information yourself. It just means that there are ways to go about it and ways that you shouldn’t.
Why would you want to look up somebody’s license plate information? You could have been involved in a hit-and-run accident. Or, you may have a stalker and want to know who the person is. There are a variety of reasons to want to do so. As long as you do it properly and you have a valid reason. In this article, we will go over the procedure to look up a license plate number that will help you in most states.
1 – When it’s ok
There are some limitations when it comes to looking up a license plate number. For instance, if it were somebody that you would be interested in contacting because you want to meet them again then this is strictly off limits. In fact, you could get into serious trouble even if you were to look up the information in a legal way.
When it’s alright to look up the number is if the person driving the car did damage to your car, property, or injured you in some way. Usually, it is the police that will need to find that information since it is likely a criminal offense and that would be their job to do.
It’s ok for you to look up the number as long as you use a third party software and that company is legally allowed to find that kind of information. In other words, it is legal for you to look up somebody’s information if they damaged your car in a hit and run but not if you were to try to get somebody at the DMV to look it up for you. Always use a service that has that kind of access for you.
Another time it’s ok to look up a plate number or even VIN is when you are looking to buy a car and want to make sure that the ownership history matches the title. You could be in an expensive and time consuming situation if there is another owner of the car that doesn’t match the title.
2 – Avoid scams
There are a lot of websites that promise to find people with a license plate lookup feature. Some of them will perform an accurate search, but many of them will give you conflicting and incomplete information.
There are some scams that you should be on the lookout for as well. For instance, if there is no contact information on the site then this is a red flag and you should move on. Try to avoid sites that promise instant information as they are not likely to be accurate. It takes time to find that information.