How To Lookup South Dakota License Plates
Anyone can look up a license plate in South Dakota easily online for free. However, the information may be limited to basic vehicle data. South Dakota has strict Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) laws with only nine allowable purposes for requesting motor vehicle records. Therefore, you can request records that contain the driver's name, address, phone number, sometimes photographs, social security number, driver's license number, and other personal details, but only if you qualify.
Motor vehicle registrations renew annually based on the owner's last name. The state offers standard license plates and specialty plates to choose from when registering. Motor vehicle registrations are handled at the local county treasurer's office, but motor vehicle records are maintained and regulated by the South Dakota Department of Revenue.
South Dakota uses a special form for motor vehicle records requests. It must be signed and notarized before being submitted.
South Dakota Vehicle License Plate Regulations
In South Dakota, all personal motor vehicles must have two license plates; one on the front and one on the rear. Vehicles that drive less than 6,000 miles per year may apply for a rear-only license plate. You will pay an additional $25 for that privilege.
South Dakota uses the first letter of the vehicle owner's last name to determine the month of renewal for license plate registrations. You have only forty-five days following the purchase of a new vehicle to register it with the local county treasurer's office.
South Dakota License Plate Options
South Dakota has a standard license plate issued to most residents. But you also have the option of applying for vanity plates (personalized plates where you choose the lettering). You can also choose from one of many of their specialty plates. A sampling of what you can purchase are:
- Dignity Sculpture Plate.
- Amateur Radio.
- Firefighter License Plate.
- Disability Plate.
- Personalized Plate.
South Dakota also offers tribal plates for the following tribes:
- Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.
- Crow Creek Sioux Tribe.
- Lower Brule Sioux Tribe.
- Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe.
- Oglala Lakota Sioux Tribe.
- Rosebud Sioux Tribe.
- Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe.
- Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
- Yankton Sioux Tribe.
South Dakota offers veteran and women veteran plates also.
What is the Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) in South Dakota?
South Dakota follows the federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act pretty closely and uses some of its exceptions on the release form. They also require that the form be notarized and signed before any motor vehicle records will be released. South Dakota implemented its own DPPA laws in June of 2000.
They state the following regarding the law: "The DPPA restricts states from disclosing an individual's personal information that is contained in the records of state motor vehicle departments without the individual's consent. The type of information restricted from being released includes a person's name, address, telephone number, Social Security number, driver's license number".
Additionally, South Dakota has stripped down the federal list of exceptions to only nine allowable purposes for releasing personal information contained in motor vehicle records.
South Dakota License Plate Search Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Lookup License Plate Numbers in South Dakota?
You can easily look up a license plate number in South Dakota to find out basic information like the make, model, year, and mechanical details. However, unless you are a towing company or have another legal reason for doing so, you cannot request or obtain motor vehicle records with personal owner details.
What Information Do I Need to Request Records?
When using the South Dakota form to request motor vehicle records, you will need to provide your name, address, social security number, phone number, and email address. You will also have to provide vehicle information (make, model, year, title, VIN, or license plate number). You must also get a signature from the owner in many cases. Your form must be notarized and signed to be valid.
How to Look Up a South Dakota License Plate Using the VIN?
How to Locate the Owner of a License Plate in South Dakota?
If you own a towing company and need to find the owner of a vehicle, you can request records through the South Dakota Department of Revenue. Unless you have a valid reason such as this, you cannot legally locate the owner of a license plate in South Dakota without proper documentation.
What is Considered a Legal Use of License Plate Information?
South Dakota follows the federal DPPA laws but restricts them even further by allowing only 9 of the acceptable purposes for obtained motor vehicle records with personal details. Those nine exceptions include:
- For use by any government agency or by any private person or entity acting on behalf of a federal, state, or local agency in carrying out its functions.
- For any state-authorized purpose relating to the operation of a motor vehicle or public safety or for use in connection with car safety, prevention of car theft, and promotion of driver safety.
- For use by a business to verify the accuracy of personal information submitted to that business and to prevent fraud or pursue legal remedies if the information that the individual submitted to the business is revealed to have been inaccurate.
- In connection with court, agency, or self-regulatory body proceedings.
- For research purposes, so long as the information is not further disclosed or used to contact the individuals to whom the data pertains.
- For use by insurers in connection with claims investigations, antifraud activities, rating or underwriting.
- To notify vehicle owners that their vehicle has been towed or impounded.
- For use by licensed private investigative agencies or security services for any purpose permitted by the DPPA.
- For use in connection with private toll transportation services.
How Can I Lookup South Dakota License Plates for Free?
You can easily lookup a South Dakota license plate for free online using a variety of different public records portals. However, most of them will show you only vehicle details such as the vehicle year, make, model, trim level, engine type, driveline, type of braking system, transmission, manufacturer, and even the MSRP.