How To Lookup Minnesota License Plates
To look up a Minnesota license plate for free, all you need is a search portal online and the license plate number. You will only see basic vehicle info, though. However, you can also purchase motor vehicle records based on a license plate search using a variety of methods. When you do, you will see personal details like the owner's name, address, phone number, social security number, date of birth, medical information, and more. However, only specific individuals and businesses may request these records, and you must supply your contact details and quite a bit of information about the driver. Strict federal and state Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) laws govern the use and access of private information contained within motor vehicle records maintained by the state.
Minnesota Motor Vehicle Regulations
When moving to Minnesota, you have 60 days to register your vehicle with the state. You can register it in person at a Deputy Registrar Office near you. You can also apply by mail using the form on their website. When registering, you will need proof of ownership, completed application, odometer statement, your ID, and proof of "no-fault" insurance. After the first year, you can renew online.
Vehicles must be registered every year, and all passenger vehicles are required to have two license plates (one in the front and one in the rear). Renewal license plates (called tabs) must be displayed by midnight of the 10th day of the month following the expiration shown on the old plates.
Active duty military personnel are eligible for exemptions giving them more time to register their vehicles. The same fees do apply, however.
License Plate Options in Minnesota
The state of Minnesota offers its residents standard plates, which are a white and blue combination design with black lettering. They also provide a whole host of specialty plates that honor cases, support organizations, and other types of license plates. Anything other than the standard plate costs more. Some of their options are:
- Amateur (HAM) Radio and Citizen Band Radio.
- Critical Habitat.
- Remembering Victims of Impaired Drivers.
- Support Our Troops.
- Volunteer Ambulance Attendant.
- Volunteer Firefighter.
- MN Golf.
- State Parks and Trails.
Additionally, Minnesota offers commercial license plates, dealer plates, disability plates, motorcycle/moped plates, recreational license plates, and personalized plates where you can select the lettering. They also have tax-exempt plates and a bunch of other selections for different groups and entities.
How Strict is the Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) in Minnesota?
Minnesota goes by the United States Code, Title 18, Section 2721, the federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act, as their blueprint for access to and use of private information in motor vehicle records. Minnesota uses a particular "DVS Records Request" form for people who need access. The form requires the requester, if not requesting their own personal records, to affirm the permissible use for which they are requesting the records. The permissible uses listed as consistent with the DPPA.
Additionally, on their form they state this warning about misuse:
"The Driver Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) is enforced by the US Department of Justice, which may seek civil and criminal penalties for improperly obtaining, disclosing, or using personal information from a motor vehicle record for a purpose not permitted by the DPPA. In addition, private citizens may also seek civil damages in Federal Court.
Certification I/(we) certify that the information and statements on this request are true and correct, comply with the provisions of the Federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act and understand that the willful, unauthorized disclosure of information obtained from these records for a purpose other than stated on this request, or the sale or other distribution of the information to a person or organization not disclosed in this request may result in penalties imposed under Title 18 USC. Section 2724."
Minnesota License Plate Search Frequently Asked Questions
Can Anyone Look Up License Plate Numbers in Minnesota?
Yes. It is legal to look up basic information on a license plate in Minnesota. You can easily find out the make, model, and year of the car. However, if you want personal details of the owner of the vehicle, you must follow strict DPPA laws that include hefty fines and jail time if violated. You can use the state-provided method or a third-party resource when searching for license plates in Minnesota.
When Request Records, What Will I Need?
When filling out the DVS Record Request form, you will need to prove as much information as possible about the driver and their vehicle. The form fields request, name, date of birth, and ID number. It also has an area to list the vehicle year, make and model along with license plate number and VIN. As the requestor, you must also provide your name, business name, phone number, address, email address, and have the form notarized. If you are obtaining a copy for someone else, you may need their consent form as well.
How to Look Up a Minnesota License Plate Using the VIN?
You can easily look up a Minnesota license plate using the VIN if you fill out the DVS Record Request form. However, you must designate what you plan to use the information for and how you qualify to receive it. There is also a national title registry where you can look up a vehicle using the VIN to view crash reports and recalls.
How Do I Get the Address of an Owner of a License Plate in Minnesota?
Minnesota does not allow just anyone to look up a license plate in Minnesota to find the owner. Contacting someone after using a motor vehicle lookup would be illegal if not for one of the few exemptions listed under the federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA). If you have a valid need to find the owner a vehicle, contact the Minnesota police and let them help you.
What Can I Legally Do With License Plate Information?
Minnesota uses the federal guidelines for who can access personal data contained in motor vehicle records. On their request for records form, they require that you select one of the following:
- A government or law enforcement agency.
- Using the records in connection with vehicle safety, emissions, or recalls.
- A business using the information to verify the accuracy of data.
- For use in civil, criminal, or arbitration cases.
- For use with research or statistics.
- Insurance agent.
- Towing company who impounded the vehicle.
- Private investigator.
- Private toll facility.
- Someone who has a signed consent form from the owner.
- Marketing and surveys use.
- The owner can request a copy of their own records.
How Can I Lookup Minnesota License Plates for Free?
Looking up a Minnesota license plate for free is easy. Using one of the many online portals on the internet, you can find the vehicle's make, model, and year of manufacture.