How To Lookup Massachusetts License Plates
To look up Massachusetts license plates for free, using the license plate number, you can use one of many online portals, but you won't see anything other than vehicle details. The reason is that access to records and the use of the personal details of the owner is highly regulated by state and federal DPPA laws. To that end, Massachusetts offers a special form that you can fill out if you need the personal details of a Massachusetts driver. They charge $20 for each record, and you must prove your purpose falls within the rules and regulations, and you must provide your own personal information such as name, address phone number, and driver's license number. When requesting "highly restricted" information such as social security number, photo image, or medical information, you will also need to have the form notarized.
Massachusetts Vehicle Regulations
The state of Massachusetts does not offer any grace period to new residents. As soon as you move to the state, you must register your vehicle in person at the closest RMV Service Center. You must bring with you proof of insurance, proof of ownership, and payment of the fees. Your insurance must be with a Massachusetts company that supplies the proper insurance stamp.
You can renew your Massachusetts vehicle registration online, by phone, through the mail, or in person. If your vehicle is leased, you must contact the leasing company for special paperwork before renewing. All the paperwork and forms you need are on the Mass.gov website in the Registry of Motor Vehicles section (RMV).
Massachusetts requires drivers to have two license plates on their vehicle, one on the front and one on the rear. If one or both of the plates are stolen or lost, you can order replacements.
Massachusetts License Plates
Massachusetts offers residents a standard license plate, or they can choose from license plates honoring their favorite sports team, charitable organization, or environmental cause. They have two stipulations for ordering a special license plate:
- Your registration must be active and in good standing.
- You must be the registered owner of the vehicle.
You must also pay an additional fee.
Mass also has special plates for The Jimmy Fund, veterans, cancer survivors, the senate, Cape Cod residents, and Invest in Children plates.
Some other license plate options include:
- Fish & Wildlife.
- Purple Heart.
- Bronze Star.
- Silver Star.
- Distinguished Flying Cross.
- National Guard.
- Red Sox.
- Congressional plates.
- HAM Operator.
- Antique plates.
- United We Stand.
- Massachusetts Animal Coalition.
- Electric Vehicle.
- Lottery plates.
What Are the DPPA Laws in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts follows the federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA), 18 USC § 2723. In the "Request for Personal Information in RMV Records Form", they list twelve categories, one of which in the requestor must fall. These categories are in line with the federal DPPA. Additionally, on the form is a strict warning about misrepresentation or false statements related to requesting personal information:
"Penalty: 18 USC § 2723 provides that anyone who knowingly obtains, discloses, or uses personal information from a motor vehicle record for a purpose not permitted under 18 U.S.C. §2721 shall be liable to the individual to whom the personal information pertains, including an award of the greater of actual damages or liquidated damages of two thousand five hundred dollars for each violation, punitive damages upon proof of willful or reckless disregard of the law, reasonable attorney's fees and other litigation costs, and such other equitable relief as the court may order. Anyone requesting the disclosure of personal information who misrepresents his identity or makes a false statement in connection with any request for personal information with the intent to obtain personal information in a manner not authorized by law shall be subject to criminal prosecution, which may include a fine of not more than five thousand dollars or imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not more than one year, or both."
Massachusetts License Plate Search Frequently Asked Questions
Is it Okay for Me to Lookup License Plate Numbers in Massachusetts?
It is legal to look up a license plate in Massachusetts as long as you observe all state and federal DPPA laws. You surely can look up basic information in a free search to find the vehicle's make, model, and year. If you use the "Request for Personal Information in RMV Records" form, you must fall in one of the permissible categories for the use of the information.
What Information Will I Need to Request License Plate Records?
When requesting records using this form, you will need to provide your name, address, phone number, business name, and license ID (for private investigators, insurance companies, legal, government, or law enforcement). You also have to list the person's name, birth date, social security number, address, driver's license number, VIN, vehicle registration number, and the vehicle title number. The more information you have, the better.
How to Look Up a Massachusetts License Plate Using the VIN?
Yes, using the Request for Personal Information in RMV Records form, you can pull records using the person's VIN. It helps if you have more information, but the VIN should yield good results. You can also consult the national title registry to get crash reports and recalls on a specific vehicle.
How to Find an Owner of a License Plate in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts does not allow just anyone to look up the owner of a license plate in Massachusetts without a valid purpose. Unless, of course, you use the proper form and are eligible to do so under one of the DPPA exceptions. Otherwise, the best course of action is to contact the police to locate them for you.
What Are Some Legal Uses of License Plate Information?
Massachusetts follows the federal DPPA laws pretty closely and only allows specific individuals or businesses to request records that contain personal details. Included in that list are:
- Insurance companies.
- Federal, state, or local government agency or law enforcement.
- For legal purposes in a civil or criminal case.
- A business can request them as a "normal course of business" to verify the information.
- Employers can request them with a signed consent form.
- Anyone else with a signed consent form.
- You can get a copy of your own records.
- Licensed private investigators.
- To be used in conjunction with motor vehicle safety, emissions, and recalls.
- For research or statistical purposes.
How to Lookup Massachusetts License Plates for Free?
Using an online portal or public records database, you can easily lookup a Massachusetts license plate for free. However, you will only see basic mechanical details about the car or truck like make, model, year, trim level, etc.