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License Plate Lookup Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Is it legal to lookup someone's license plate?

A: This is a common question. Yes, it is 100% legal.  As licensed private investigators, we are permitted to look up license plate information for our clients as long as they have a Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) permissible purpose.

Q: What information will I get if I run this search?

A: Our reports give the most accurate and up to the moment details about the vehicle, including make, model, and year.  As well as the vehicle registered owner, their address, and if there are any lien holders attached to the vehicle.

Q: Is this information accurate and up to date?

A: Yes, being a licensed investigation company, we have real-time access to state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) records.  The same resources used by law enforcement.
 * There are a few states that don't allow DMV access to private investigators.  When selecting a state for your license plate lookup, these states will be omitted from the drop down field.  Please check coverage areas for a list of the states that we have DMV access.  

Q: How long will it take to get my License Plate Lookup report?

A: Typically less than an hour.  However, since each order is hand searched by a real investigator, the turnaround time could vary.  We have a 48 hour or less guarantee, so even in high volume if your order is not completed within 48 hours you will get your report and money back.

Q: How much does it cost to have a license plate lookup done by a licensed investigator?

A: We have the best prices in the private investigation industry.  We are able to provide these services at low cost because we don't have the overhead as most brick and mortar private investigation companies which charge by the hour.  Our license plate lookup is $19.95 + the state DMV fee.  This is a one-time fee.  We don't believe in roping people into costly monthly subscriptions.

Q: Why should I use your service when there are other websites claiming they can offer instant results and free license plate searches?

A: If you utilize resources that promise "immediate" or "free" license plate results, there’s no guarantee that you will get accurate information. DMV records are only accessible to law enforcement and licensed investigators. Don’t be fooled by false promises of “instant results”. Many of these companies scan the web and retrieve out of date public information, whereas licensed investigators search the records by hand, utilizing non-public DMV databases. 

Some of these websites even openly admit that their data is outdated. We encourage you to read one of these company's terms and conditions.  For example, this phrase was pulled straight from one of their website disclaimers “You agree and understand that the availability of a search report does not necessarily mean that the report will yield correct results, relevant results, or any results at all.” 

Many of these websites prey on the fact that consumers know very little information about the license plate industry and are hoping that you won't know the difference.

Q: I thought the search was only $19.95. What is the additional "state/county access fee"?

A: While the price that we charge is only $19.95, in order to get real-time access to the DMV records each individual state charges us a fee. We pass down to you the exact fee that we are charged.  We make our money on the cost of the search, NOT the state access fee.

Q: What is this "No Hit, Money Back Guarantee"?

A: This is yet another example of what sets us apart from our competitors.  If you give us a license plate, and for whatever reason we are unable to pull back any results, we will refund your full payment less the state access fee.  The state access fee is non-refundable because that is the cost that we have to pay the state to access their DMV records regardless of whether results are found.

Q: Why do I need to select a "DPPA Permissible Purpose" and what is it?

A: The Driver's Privacy Protection Act of 1994 (commonly referred to as DPPA) is a United States federal statute governing the privacy and disclosure of personal information gathered by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). 

The statute prohibits the disclosure of personal information (as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2725) without the express consent of the person to whom such information applies, with the exception of certain circumstances set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 2721. These rules apply to Departments of Motor Vehicles as well as other "authorized recipient[s] of personal information", and imposes record-keeping requirements on those "authorized recipients".

The permissible uses are:[3]

  1. For any government agency to carry out its functions
  2. For use in connection with "matters of motor vehicle or driver safety and theft", including
    1. disclosure "in connection with matters of motor vehicle or driver safety and theft, motor vehicle emissions, motor vehicle product alterations, recalls, or advisories, performance monitoring of motor vehicles and dealers by motor vehicle manufacturers"
    2. removal of non-owner records from the original owner records of motor vehicle manufacturers to carry out the purposes of the Automobile Information Disclosure Act, the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Saving Act, the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, the Anti-Car Theft Act of 1992, and the Clean Air Act
  3. For use in the normal course of business by a legitimate business or its agents, employees, or contractors, but only to:
    1. verify the accuracy of personal information
    2. correct information
  4. For use in connection with any matter before a court or arbitration proceeding.
  5. For producing statistical reports and other research, provided that personal information is not published.
  6. For use by insurance companies.
  7. For providing notice to owners of towed vehicles.
  8. For use by licensed private investigation agencies, for a permitted DPPA use.
  9. For use by employers to verify commercial driver information as required by U.S. Code Title 49, subtitle VI, chapter 313.
  10. For use by private toll transportation facilities.
  11. For response to requests from motor vehicle departments.
  12. For the bulk distribution of surveys, marketing materials, or solicitations (opt-in only).
  13. When written consent of the individual is provided.
  14. For other uses specifically authorized by state laws.