How To Lookup Illinois License Plates
You can look up an Illinois license plate for free easily with just the plate number. But the information you will find will be basic vehicle details. There are also paid resources you can use to lookup an Illinois license plate, but you must comply with all state and federal laws pertaining to privacy in motor vehicle records. The state of Illinois allows drivers to request a copy of their own driving record. When someone needs a copy of someone else's driving record, they can purchase one but only for specific purposes according to DPPA laws. The Secretary of State handles these requests, and you must supply your name, address, phone number, and details about the vehicle. However, if you qualify, you will be granted access to personal records like social security numbers, driver's license number, and other information.
Illinois Vehicle License Plate Rules
Illinois requires two license plates for all passenger vehicles. One must be attached to the front of the car and other to the rear of the car. They do not allow license plate covers or frames that cover any part of the license plate. When selling a vehicle, the owner must retain the plates and cannot transfer them to the new owner.
Temporary plates will be issued to owners of new vehicles, and they expire after 90 days unless their new license plates have not come in yet.
Renewals must be completed in the month the original was issued. Reminders go out 60 days in advance of the renewal date. You can renew your registration via a Secretary of State facility location, online or by mail. Additionally, vehicle owners may renew their registration at some "certain banks, savings and loans, currency exchanges, credit unions, and remittance agencies." After registration, you have 30 days to have the car inspected.
Illinois License Plate Choices
Illinois offers residents standard license plates for all vehicles and personalized plates for any vehicle less than 8,000 lbs. It takes 45 days to receive special or personalized plates. Illinois also offers reduced-fee plates to residents with disabilities.
The standard plates offered by the Secretary of State cover many different styles and types of plates that support organizations, foundations, and other special interest groups. Some examples are:
- Alzheimer's Awareness.
- Autism Awareness.
- Antique vehicle plates.
- Chicago Bears.
- Chicago Bulls plates.
- Eagle Scouts.
- Environmental plates.
- Illinois Hospice.
- Illinois Nurses.
- Illinois Police.
- Illinois State Memorial Park.
- Military plates,
- Organ donors.
- Ovarian Cancer Awareness.
- Rotary Club.
- Support Our Troops.
- Wildlife Prairie Park.
Additional fees apply to any personalized plates.
Does Illinois Have a Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA)?
Illinois driver privacy protection policy mimics the federal statute by protecting citizens' private information contained in vehicle records. They do provide information to allowable individuals and businesses, but they require you to promise that you are using the information for a legal purpose on the Secretary of State's Information Request Form. The form also states, "the Federal Driver Privacy Protection Act provides for civil and criminal penalties for those convicted of violating this Act, which may result in fines of up to $10,000. This affirmation shall apply to each and every record provided by the Illinois Secretary of State. Obtaining personal information under false pretenses is a state and federal crime."
A few of the only types of people authorized to search records are law enforcement, government agencies, and investigators. They do charge a $5-$10 fees per record. You must provide proof of your purpose for requesting the records when you order, and of course, you must comply with all DPPA laws when using the information.
Illinois License Plate Search Frequently Asked Questions
Is it Okay to Lookup License Plate Numbers in Illinois?
It is legal to perform a simple license plate lookup to find out information about the type of car. It is not, legal though to look up personal records of the owner of a vehicle, unless you qualify under DPPA laws. Illinois does allow specific people to search for records for allowable purposes. In most cases, these purposes are safety-related or government/legal issues.
What Information Do I Need to Request Motor Vehicle Records?
When requesting records through the Secretary of State, you will need to provide your own personal details like name, company name, address, phone number, and your driver's license number. You must designate which type of records you want (title search, registration search, certified title, certified registration, or microfilm request). You must also provide the vehicle year, make, model, and title number along with the VIN. The license plate number and year are also helpful. You also must prove your ability to search for records legally.
How to Look Up an Illinois License Plate Using the VIN?
Using the form provided by the Illinois Secretary of State, you can search for records using the VIN, but you may also need more information about the vehicle or title. There is also a national title registry database where you can search a VIN to see a vehicle history report with any crashes and open recalls.
Should I Locate the Owner of a License Plate in Illinois?
If you are involved in a fender-bender and want to contact the owner of an Illinois license plate, the best place to start is the police. The laws stipulating who can obtain personal vehicle owner details and for what purpose are very strict, and you could end up in real hot water if you don't be careful. It not legal to just look up someone's address and phone number that way to contact them.
What are Some Legal Uses for License Plate Information?
Illinois allows only specific purposes for performing a license plate search. According to their state and the federal DPPA rules, only the following purposes are allowed:
- Anyone can obtain a copy of their own.
- Any law enforcement or court representative can get copies.
- Private investigators can access the information.
- Attorneys when the information is related to a case.
- Parents of a minor.
- Close family members can obtain records by proving the relationship.
- Insurance companies can get them.
- Employers with signed consent.
- Anyone else with a signed consent form from the vehicle owner.
How to Lookup Illinois License Plates for Free?
There are dozens of places online where you can look up an Illinois license plate for free. Those sources will typically only give you the make, model, year, and sometimes the color of the car.