How To Lookup Florida License Plates
According to the Florida section 119.0712(2), Florida Statutes, and the Driver's Privacy Protection Act of 1994, 18 U.S.C. ss. 2721 et seq., looking up Florida license plate records is highly regulated.
Using tools like the Infotracer tool, you can easily perform a free license plate lookup to find basic information like vehicle year, make, model, and sometimes the color of the car. But, if you need a full report containing personal information, you must comply with DPPA privacy laws. Any violation of these laws may result in hefty fines and even prison time. You can request a full report using a form located onThe Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle departmentwebsite. When you ask for motor vehicle records, you need to supply your name, address, phone number, and signature. You also must prove you are using these records for a legitimate purpose.
Florida Vehicle Registration Rules
An interesting vehicle license plate rule in Florida is that every ten years, you must retire your old plates and replace them with new ones. Florida license plates are governed by section 320.06, Florida Statutes and vehicle owners only need one plate. Residents are not permitted to dispose of license plates themselves; they must return them to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle department either in person or by mail.
If license plates are lost or stolen, the owner must fill out an affidavit and mail it to the service center.
Temporary plates may be issued by a dealer for 10, 30, or 90 days. Any misuse of a temporary license plate is considered a misdemeanor, and the violator will be charged and punished accordingly. Anyone who willfully issues a temporary plate to a fictitious person will be subject to a felony charge.
When moving to the state of Florida, new residents have only ten days to register their vehicles. A new Florida registration costs $225. When registering, owners must present proof of insurance along with proof of identity and a title or title application.
Florida License Plates
A standard license plate in Florida has two oranges on it with a white background and green lettering. On the bottom is may say: "Sunshine State" or "In God We Trust". Some Florida counties offer specific county plates to residents.
Along with the standard Florida license plate, the state offers more than 100 different specialty plates honoring specific organizations, colleges, sports teams, foundations, causes, and more. Some support the environment or wildlife preserves. Florida also has special plates for military personnel and disabled Americans. They offer a license plate brochure on The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle website for patrons to review and choose. Specialty plates cost more, but the money goes directly to support the organization or foundation.
Florida also offers its residents personalized plates with letters and numbers of their choosing. Each request has to be approved, and the person must pay a $15 fee when ordering. They have a special request form on their website for this type of plate.
What is the Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) Policy in Florida?
Florida law states that motor vehicle, driver license, and vehicular crash records are public records. However, they honor the federal Driver Privacy Protection Act, 18 United States Code, Section 2721, to keep private information safe.
According to Florida law, the following information is covered by DPPA laws: "DPPA restricts public access to your social security number, driver license or identification card number, name, address, telephone number and medical or disability information, contained in your motor vehicle and driver license records. Additionally, emergency contact information and email addresses are restricted pursuant to Section 119.0712(2), Florida Statutes".
DPPA laws do not cover the following information: "Non-personal information contained in a motor vehicle and driver license records such as vehicular crash records, driving violations, and driver status information is considered public information".
Florida License Plate Search Frequently Asked Questions
Is it Legit to Lookup License Plate Numbers in Florida?
It is perfectly legal to look up a license plate number in Florida, provided you fall in the category of an "exception" to the DPPA rules. Florida has designated the following individuals as exceptions who can obtain these records:
- Auto Manufacturers (for recalling vehicles or parts)
- Government agencies or private companies (to verify the accuracy of personal information)
- Towing Companies (to notify owners of towed or impounded vehicles)
- Companies (like a bus lines, verifying information on their commercial drivers)
- Any person or agency that you have given written permission
They also allow individuals to obtain a copy of their own records for any reason.
What Will I Need to Request Records?
When requesting license plate records, you must fill out a special form with the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles department. You will need to provide your name, date, address, email address, phone number, and signature. You must also give the reason for the request and fall into one of the permissible categories. This one form is used for mobile homes, vehicles, and vessels, so you must designate which type it is.
How to Look Up a Florida License Plate Using the VIN?
Using the form mentioned above, you can look up a vehicle in Florida based on the license plate number, VIN, or title number. However, when doing so, you must comply with all DPPA rules, or you will be subject to steep fines and possibly criminal charges.
Can I Locate the Owner of a License Plate in Florida?
Unless you are a towing company, or law enforcement agent, there is no legal way for you to look up the owner of a license plate in Florida. You can perform a basic lookup to find out the make, model, and year of the car, but personal details like name, home address, phone number, date of birth, and social security number are off-limits.
What Are Some Legal Usesfor License Plate Information?
Florida has a list of specific uses for license plate lookups that involved safety, legal, and business operations only. On the request form they list out a few allowable purposes:
- In conduction with a court case or law enforcement action
- Vehicle safety, emissions, and recalls
- Business use for verifying the accuracy of information
- For use in research
- Insurance companies
- Employer with a signed consent form
- Toll companies
- Surveys and marketing
- Anyone with a signed consent form from the owner
How To Lookup Florida License Plates for Free?
Using an online database search, anyone can perform a free license plate lookup, but it will yield you very little information (year, make, model, and sometimes the color of the car). Depending on the vehicle you may see more or less information.