How To Lookup Montana License Plates
Looking up Montana license plate records for free is very easy using an online public records search tool. However, you will only see the make, model, and year of the car or truck. With a paid report, you may also see non-personal information like driving records, crash history, driving offenses, and court-related driving incidents and cases.
If you qualify under strict Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) laws, then you can also use government or third-party resources to lookup a Montana license plate report and see personal details like photographs, social security number, driver's license data and more. Montana has a special form you must use, and when filling it out, you have to prove that you fall into one of the allowable categories and provide your name, address, phone number, and ID. They usually pertain to things like law enforcement, legal actions, government, insurance, and motor vehicle safety.
Montana Vehicle License Plate Regulations
The Vehicle Services Bureau (VSB) is the government agency in charge of vehicle titles and registrations. All vehicle registrations must be processed at your local county treasurer's office.
When purchasing a new vehicle, the dealer will send all the paperwork to the county treasurer's office for you. You must pay all taxes and fees at the time of registering.
If you move to Montana, you have 60 days to register your vehicle. If you make a move within Montana, you can keep your existing registration until renewal then re-register with your new town. You have to update your address with the MVD's Driver Services Bureau within ten days of moving.
Montana License Plates
Montana offers its residents many license plate options to choose from, including the standard plate. Some other options include:
- Agriculture & Forestry.
- Arts & Culture.
- Government and Communities.
- Museums and History.
- Other (including disability plates).
- Parks & Environment.
- Service Organizations and Associations.
- Sports & Recreation.
- Wildlife and Other Animals.
- Youth Groups.
What is the Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) in Montana All About?
Montana has enacted their own Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) "create a more restrictive state version of the federal prohibition on release and use of certain personal information from state motor vehicle records". (Mont. Code Ann. § 61-11-509) Their state DPPA has only nine permissible purposes why someone can request motor vehicle records of another person, without the person's express consent. The Attorney General for Montana has this to say about the DPPA laws:
"The department releases driving records only to people who qualify under Montana's "Driver Privacy Protection Act" (DPPA). To qualify, you must state the specific use listed in the DPPA that entitles you to the information.
The resale or further disclosure of information contained in the record is subject to strict regulation under state and federal law. You must agree to comply with those laws. (MCA §§ 61-11-501 through 516)."
Montana License Plate Search Frequently Asked Questions
Is it Safe to Lookup License Plate Numbers in Montana?
It is legal to look up a license plate number in Montana. However, you can only see basic information about the car or public records about the driver and criminal offenses. If, however, you qualify under the DPPA laws, you can get a report that contains a lot more personal information. If you obtain one illegally, you may face serious criminal charges and fines. It is not legal to look someone up by their license plate number to find their home address or phone number without a valid reason.
What Information Will I Need?
As the requestor of the information, you will need to supply your name, mailing address, company name, phone number, driver's license number, and your email address. Then you will need to supply as much information about the search as possible. Some of the data might be the name of the vehicle owner, mailing address, license plate number, VIN, title ID, or other details that you have access to. You will have to pay a fee between $6-$25. In some cases, you will also need a signed consent form from the owner.
How to Look Up a Montana License Plate Using the VIN?
You can easily look up a VIN using the form provided by the Montana Department of Justice, Motor Vehicle Division. One of the search criteria is VIN. However, if you are interested in free information, you can use the national title registry or another outside source, but you still must comply with all DPPA laws.
How to Find an Owner of a License Plate in Montana?
Most states, Montana included do not let just anyone look up the owner of a vehicle. If you have a valid reason for needing this information, you can use the form, pay a fee, and get the report. Otherwise, you will have to explore other channels, such as contacting local law enforcement to help you get it or get a message to the owner.
What Are Some Legitimate Uses For License Plate Information?
Montana only allows a few permissible uses for motor vehicle records that contain personal data. They have each listed on their request form, and the requestor must select one when ordering a report. The allowable uses per Montana's DPPA laws are:
- "For use by a federal, state, or local government agency, including a law enforcement agency, when the information will be strictly limited to carrying out its functions.
- For use by a business or its agents, employees, or contractors in their normal course of business to (a) verify the accuracy of personal information submitted by the individual to the business or its agents, employees, or contractors; or, (b) if the submitted information is not correct or is no longer correct, to obtain the correct information for the purposes of preventing fraud by pursuing legal remedies against or recovering on a debt or security interest against the individual.
- With the written consent of the individual who is the subject of this search.
- The Personal Information Express Consent Form on page 2 must be completed.
- For use as part of a civil, criminal, administrative, or arbitral proceeding in any court or government agency or before any self-regulatory body including the service of process, an investigation in anticipation of litigation, the execution or enforcement of judgments and orders, or pursuant to an order of any court.
- For use by an insurer, insurance support agency, or self-insured entity in connection with the investigation of claims, antifraud activities, rate making, or underwriting.
- For use by a licensed private investigator or security service for any purpose authorized under Montana law.
- To provide notice to the owners of towed, abandoned, or impounded vehicles.
- To conduct research activities and produce statistical reports and journalistic articles as long as the personal information is not published, disclosed to a third party, or used to contact individuals."
How to Lookup Montana License Plates for Free?
It's pretty easy to look up a Montana license plate online through one of the various public records portals. Unfortunately, however, you will only see the make, model, and year of the car or truck.