North Dakota License Plate Search

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How To Lookup North Dakota License Plates

How To Lookup North Dakota License Plates

In North Dakota, you can look up a license plate using one of many various public records search portals. A free report will include basic details about the car or truck. You might see the vehicle's year, make, model, color, and even trim level. However, if you need further details like the owner's name, address, phone number, social security number, birth date, or more, you have to comply with strict state and federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) laws. There are portals online you can use to pull a license plate search. You can also use the state form SFN 51269 to request motor vehicle records and provide your contact details. North Dakota follows the federal DPPA laws pretty closely.

North Dakota Vehicle Regulations

North Dakota Vehicle Regulations

According to ND Century Code 39-04-11, "each motor vehicle must have 2 plates. Both plates must be kept clear of mud, ice, or snow, and be clearly visible.  All number plates, markers, or evidence of registration or licensing, with the exception of the current year, must be removed from the vehicle. There is a $10 fee if this section is violated."

North Dakota residents are required to register their vehicles annually. They can renew online, in person at a Motor Vehicle office, or using a Kiosk located in malls and other popular venues. You may renew your automobile registration up to 60 days in advance of the renewal. When using a Kiosk, you will have to pay an additional $3 fee. If you renew your vehicle online, you will receive your registration and license plate stickers within 5-10 days after they receive payment.

New vehicles must be registered in person at a North Dakota Motor Vehicle office. A list of offices with their hours is on the ND.Gov website.

North Dakota License Plate Types

North Dakota License Plate Types

The state of North Dakota offers patrons the standard license plate, which shows a blue sky, mountains, and sunrise. Using the same design, North Dakota also offers personalized (you choose the lettering) and specialty plates such as those listed below:

  • Gold Star Family.
  • Mobility Impaired.
  • Veteran Air Force.
  • Veteran Army.
  • Veteran Coast Guard.
  • Veteran Marine.
  • Veteran Navy.
  • Veteran Non-Branch.
  • Veteran Purple Heart.
  • Choose Life.
  • Dickinson State University.
  • Ducks Unlimited.
  • Firefighter.
  • Future Farmers of America.
  • HIT Inc.
  • Minot State University.
  • ND Cowboy Hall of Fame.
  • North Dakota State University.
  • Pheasants for the Future.
  • Support our Veterans.
  • Valley City State University.

North Dakota also has motorcycle and trailer license plate options.

Does North Dakota Have a Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA)?

Does North Dakota Have a Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA)?

The North Dakota Department of Revenue and Regulation Division of Motor Vehicles is charged with enforcing the state driver privacy laws (N.D. Cent. Code § 39-33-02) pursuant to and consistent with the federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA). They have a special form individuals and businesses can use to request records that contain personal driver details.

On their form, they provide this warning: "North Dakota law prohibits the disclosure of personal information from the records of the Motor Vehicle Division except to persons or entities that meet one or more of the exceptions listed below. Personal information is defined as the name or address of vehicle owners. In requesting and using this information, I acknowledge that this disclosure is subject to the federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act (Public Law 103-322) and North Dakota law."

Any violation of DPPA laws may result in steep fines, jail time, and often you have to make reparations to the person whose information you accessed and used without their consent. 

North Dakota License Plate Search Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Legitimately Look Up a License Plate Numbers in North Dakota?

You can look up a license plate in North Dakota as long as you are only looking for basic vehicle information (like the year, make, and model). If, however, you are using the lookup to obtain personal details, you must qualify under the DPPA laws and provide proof that you are eligible to receive such information.

What Info Will I Need to Request Records?

When requesting records, North Dakota provides you with a particular form to use. You have to fill in your name, company, address, and phone number. You also have to provide the North Dakota Motor Vehicle Department with search criteria (e.g., VIN, plate number, title number, owner name, business name, etc.). You must qualify under one of the DPPA exceptions and provide proof that you do. You must sign and date the form before returning it to the Motor Vehicle Division of the ND Department of Transportation.

How to Look Up an North Dakota License Plate Using the VIN?

Using the form mentioned above, you can search for a North Dakota license plate using the VIN. You do have to comply with DPPA rules for access and usage of the information. North Dakota also encourages residents to use the NHTSA Free VIN Look-up Tool to find out about the crash history and recalls. It is a great tool to use when shopping for a used car.

Can I Locate the Owner of a License Plate in North Dakota?

You cannot just use a license plate lookup to find the owner of a car in North Dakota unless you have a valid reason. Strict DPPA rules prevent anyone from accessing personal information contained in motor vehicle records. However, if you do have a legitimate reason (one of the exceptions listed on the federal DPPA law), then you can purchase a complete report and find owner information.

What Are Allowable Uses for License Plate Information?

North Dakota follows the federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act pretty closely, and they use the standard list of exceptions when allowing access to motor vehicle records. Their list includes:

  • For use by a government agency or law enforcement.
  • In connection with motor vehicle and driver safety, emissions, and recalls.
  • For use in the ordinary course of business to verify information.
  • Private toll companies may access records.
  • Towing and impound lots can use them to find owners and contact them.
  • In relation to a court case (civil and criminal).
  • For research and statistics purposes.
  • A licensed private investigator.
  • Insurance companies.
  • Employers can use them with consent.
  • Personal use by the vehicle owner.

How to Lookup North Dakota License Plates for Free?

North Dakota allows the general public to look up a license plate for free to obtain basic details about the car or truck. You might see the vehicle's year, make, model, color, and even trim level.