Can You Find Someone’s Address From Their License Plate Number?
Last Updated on October 20, 2022
A license plate number can reveal crucial information about another driver.
If you have a license plate number and the state in which the license was issued, then you may be able to find someone’s address and other personal information.
Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about finding someone’s address from their license plate number.
Table of Contents:
- Method #1) Contact Your State DMV
- Legal Concerns
- Submit a Formal Request
- Most States Do Not Allow You to Find a Name and Address Using a License Plate Number
- Method #2) Contact the Police
- Method #3) Online Searches
- Method #4) Use a Legal Reason to Access Someone’s License Plate
- Method #5) Hire a Private Investigator
Method #1) Contact Your State DMV
Each state has a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or equivalent organization. This organization keeps track of all licensed drivers in your state, including all registered license plates and the associated driving records.
Contact your DMV – or the DMV in the state in which the vehicle is licensed – to find out if driver information is considered a public record.
If the state considers driver information to be part of the public record, then you may be able to instantly discover someone’s name and address from their license plate number. Or, you may need to make a written or online request.
Most states require you to make a formal request to get information from a license plate number. That formal request may involve a fee, a waiting period, and a written notice.
States have different laws determining the information you can obtain about a driver from their license plate.
In fact, it’s generally illegal to run a license plate check on another driver, regardless of the situation. In most states, only a law enforcement official can look up license plate numbers to find a name and address.
Check your state laws before running a license plate search. Otherwise, you could be violating the law.
Submit a Formal Request
Most states require you to make a formal request before discovering personal information attached to a license plate number.
You may need to:
- Submit a formal, written request to your local DMV or equivalent organization
- Pay a small fee
- Wait a few days or a few weeks
After you submit a formal request, you may receive an online or physical copy of the documents you requested. The DMV may mail those documents to your address. Or, they may send a secure link to your email inbox.
Some states require you to visit a government office or DMV to view the documents. You may need to pay a copying fee. Or, you may not be able to copy the documents at all.
Most States Do Not Allow You to Find a Name and Address Using a License Plate Number
In most cases, the DMV and other government agencies will not allow you to find someone’s name and address using a license plate number.
Even if you have a license plate number and want to learn more information about someone, you cannot find someone’s name and address.
It may be worth it to contact the DMV in your area to determine what information they can give you. However, don’t be surprised if they deny your request for privacy concerns.
Method #2) Contact the Police
Police can easily get someone’s name and address with a license plate.
If you witness another driver involved in an accident – like a hit and run – then contact the police. The policy can report the incident, take appropriate action, and identify the name and address of the perpetrator from their license plate number.
In most states, only a law enforcement officer is allowed to look up someone’s name, address, and personal information from a license plate number. You, as a member of the public, cannot look up a license plate number, but a law enforcement official may be able to.
Method #3) Online Searches
You may be able to search the internet to get someone’s name and address from their license plate number.
Try typing the license plate number into an online search engine, for example. You may receive results from third-party websites with access to public information databases.
Alternatively, some websites claim to identify someone’s name and address from a license plate number. You might see the person’s license plate number on a specific website and then pay a fee to access their personal information. These websites are rarely legitimate.
You may also find paid online services that identify someone’s name and address in exchange for a small fee. These companies may be reputable, and they may genuinely identify someone’s name and address for a fee. However, all reputable license plate search services are upfront about their fees, and some provide a moneyback guarantee if they cannot source the information. Be wary of companies that do not list their fees or have a moneyback guarantee.
Overall, most online license plate search services are scams. Be wary when using third-party online search services to find someone’s name and address from their license plate number.
Method #4) Use a Legal Reason to Access Someone’s License Plate
There are situations where you are authorized to access license plate records. If you fall into any of the situations below, then you may be legally able to access someone’s name, address, and other personal information from their license plate number.
Legal reasons to access someone’s license plate include:
- You are an insurance provider working on an insurance claim and need to find insurance information
- You are a law enforcement officer investigating a crime, or you are working with law enforcement to investigate a situation (like theft, car accidents, or vehicle recalls)
- You are an agency conducting market research
- You are a business that wants to verify someone’s identity
In all of these situations, it may be legal to access someone’s license plate records in your state.
However, in other states, it’s still illegal to look up a license plate number for any reason outside of law enforcement. Check state laws carefully to ensure you’re not violating the law or breaking privacy regulations.
Method #5) Hire a Private Investigator
If you’re serious about finding someone’s name and address from their license plate number, then consider hiring a private investigator – assuming you’re following the law.
A private investigator may have connections to access public records and find a name and address attached to a license plate number.
Or, a private investigator may be able to follow a vehicle to determine their address, location, workplace, and other information.
Final Word on Finding Address From License Plate Number
License plates are not considered sensitive information because the average person cannot get personal information from a license plate number.
Law enforcement officials can identify someone’s name and address from a license plate number. However, unless you’re a law enforcement officer working on a specific case involving the vehicle, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to access someone’s name and address from their license plate number.
In fact, it’s generally illegal to look up someone’s license plate number online to get their personal information. Any websites that claim to identify this information tend to be scams.
Contact your DMV to determine if you can access someone’s personal information with their license plate number. Or, contact law enforcement if you witnessed a crime and have a license plate number associated with that crime.