California License Plate Number Lookup

Name Phone Number License Plate VIN
Name Phone Number License Plate VIN

How to Run a California License Plate Search

A California resident may have a number of reasons for requesting information on another person’s license plate. The person may want to obtain some information about a driver who performed a hit-and-run incident. The person may also have some inquiries about a vehicle’s history, VIN number information, recalls or safety notices. An online California license plate number lookup can reveal information like this and more.

This is because most public information can now be found online with public record websites that can access millions of records with a simple search. If you have a smartphone or computer or tablet that has internet access, you can access perform a California license plate number lookup.

With this type of CA vehicle record search you can find car owner information as long as you have a valid reason to obtain this information according to the CPPA, which is a set of rules that regulate what information is allowed for privacy reasons. Most online vehicle record resources for California will ask you to select a valid reason for running a CA license plate lookup as part of the process.

Once you’ve verified your search is legitimate then you can proceed with your vehicle research. The next step in this lookup is to enter the complete CA plate number, or the 17 digit VIN, into the search fields.

Once the vehicle search results are available, you will want to verify the make and model of the vehicle is accurate, as there are occasional inaccuracies in reporting. Lastly, you will have the option to obtain a vehicle history report, view vehicle title information, CA license plate owner information.

Car Owner Search

Reasons For Running a California License Plate Lookup

  1. Verifying Vehicle Ownership: When a person is in the market to buy a used car, truck, SUV or motorcycle, they might want to verify the owner is selling the vehicle to avoid any complications, fraud or buying a stolen vehicle. 
  2. Running Vehicle History Reports: A California license plate number lookup can give an accurate account of a vehicle’s past, odometer reading, any major accidents, if the title is clean, or if there are any safety issues or recalls on that used vehicle. This type of search can help a buyer make an informed buying decision and determine the real value of the used vehicle they want to purchase. 
  3. Motor Vehicle Safety Reasons: A vehicle record inquiry can be made for matters that concern the safety and emissions of a vehicle that also include parts that may have been replaced or altered, that can affect the performance and safe operation of a vehicle.
  4. Accident Insurance Purposes: If a vehicle has been involved in an accident, then an insurance company and law enforcement have the right to research the license plate number and VIN with their investigation. 
  5. Stolen Vehicles and Fraud: A vehicle plate search can be run to find out if it has been stolen or if there is fraud suspected. Law enforcement can follow up to track down the real owner of a vehicle if this is the situation. 
  6. Legitimate Business Reasons: Business can verify the accuracy of personal information, as approved an employee or contractor, for liability reasons and to prevent fraud, or recovering a debt 
  7. Statistical Analysis & Reporting: If there is permission by the vehicle owner, and the information is only to be used as disclosed, a person’s vehicle information may be used for analysis or reporting purposes. 

Restrictions on Running a CA Vehicle Owner Search

It’s important to note that CA license plate searches can be resourced from a multitude of online public record websites. These inquiries are heavily monitored by state and federal agencies. These type of vehicle related searches are intended for people looking for specific information that is made available via the FOIA and allowed by the state and federal laws. You must make sure your search intent and usage of the information received falls within those state and federal guidelines. If you fulfill the criteria then you’ll be able to access all the vehicle information that is available with your California license plate owner search.

It is also important to note that with some online resources, as of January 2023, you may be required to register your name or business before receiving any sensitive vehicle related or CA vehicle owner information. It is ultimately your responsibility to use the CA license plate search for the reasons you complied with.

Another important piece of information is that in California, a vehicle record search number through a vehicle record database. This means you cannot find someone’s CA plate number or VIN by searching their name. There is a good reason for this as many people buy and sell cars, trucks and SUVs and the data is not always relevant. A reverse license plate search or VIN search is intended to find out relevant information about the vehicle and it’s owner now, not the previous owners. It’s good to keep that in mind when using any public record website that offers access to vehicle related data.

What You Can Find With a California License Plate Search

  • Owner Information For That Car
  • A Complete Vehicle History Report
  • Vehicle Options and Manufacturer Specifications
  • Odometer Verification
  • Vehicle Title Information
  • Salvage and Junk Records
  • Vital Statistics of The Vehicle
  • Accident History
  • Recall Information

It is important to note that some information may only be available to law enforcement, insurance purposes, or other legal reasons at outlined by California driver privacy laws . Make sure to review the requirements and acceptable reasons for obtaining the vehicle information you’re looking for as it’s your responsibility to maintain compliance. Some information may not be accessible if you’re not law enforcement or have authority to do so. Additionally, some older vehicles that are 40 years old may not have the detailed vehicle records as newer vehicles since not all records have been transferred into modern cloud-based databases.

How to Run a California DMV License Plate Lookup

Many people ask the question if they can run a California DMV license plate lookup, or, access vehicle records directly through the DMV. The short answer is yes, however there are restrictions. You can only access your specific vehicle records and personal information from the CA DMV. This is unless you’re law enforcement, an insurance company or have a legal reason to do so.

If you are interested in acquiring your own vehicle or CA driving records you can do so by either setting up an account online and verifying your identity, and then you can make your requests online and have documents mailed to you. The other option is to visit a branch in person to make your request. You’ll need your driver’s license or another verifiable form of identification and have the correct request form filled out before obtaining any information or documentation. This is the fastest way to lookup your vehicle records or driving records however, some official documentation will need to be mailed to you as it’s processed somewhere else.

California License Plate Lookup


California License Plate Lookup FAQs

Can I lookup the owner of a California license plate?

It is possible to lookup the owner of a California license plate number if you have a valid reason according to the DPPA regulations in California. To get more details about who can run a California license plate search you can contact your local DMV office.

Can I run a California license plate search?

You can run a California license plate search online as long as you have the entire CA license plate number. There are a multitude of online vehicle record websites where you can run a VIN check or license plate lookup without going to the DMV.

How many different specialty plates are available in California?

The short answer is a lot, there are over 150 different California specialty license plates and they represent a multitude of special interests, military veterans, non-profit organizations, cultural plates, environmental themes, and collegiate license plates.

Can I lookup California license plate owner information?

Yes, as long as you have a valid reason according to the California and Federal laws regarding this search. You can typically run this type of search through various online third-party databases that specialize in vehicle records. Restrictions do apply and some information may not be available to the general public.

Can I find the registered owner of a California license plate?

Yes, there are certain allowable reasons in California to run a California license plate owner search. You can find these posted on vehicle record websites that offer access to this information. Restrictions do apply and you will need to make sure your search is in compliance with state laws.

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Responses to “California License Plate Number Lookup

  1. says:

    Someone hit my car last night and I have the license plate # bit need to know who owns the car to contact. The plate # is California 7MOX397. Please help!

  2. says:

    I have a complete set of California license plate starting with the letters PT they are from 1929 to 1938 can you tell me what they were used for ?
    I Was told that PT meant pneumatic tire??
    They were all nailed on the inside of an old barn in Shafter California

  3. says:

    I want to buy a camper from a salvage yard that was abandoned and has a storage bill

  4. says:

    I’m trying to pay a toll road fee from out of state and don’t know my car tag number. How can I get it to avoid the fines?
    Linda Fry

  5. says:

    I have a 1968 Mustang that was last registered in California in 1986. I inherited the vehicle and I am having a hard time locating a title. I have last plate # and Vin#. Can you help me?

  6. says:

    Hey I just bought a new car and I only have the vin, is there any way I can acquire what my license plate will be before it arrives in the mail?

  7. says:

    I am in KY and just received an Amber Alert. It’s a 42-y.o. white male with brown hair having taken a white 5-y.o. little girl. No names are given, so I would think they aren’t related, or someone may’ve just seen him snatch her up. I don’t know.

    I think the male must’ve acquired a stolen license plate for KY to just be receiving this Amber Alert today because it’s CA License Plate # 5J83779, which is 2K miles away and you don’t get to this states even in two days by driving.

    The car description is quite vague, too, stating only “white Chevy” with no make or model.

    I did a search that just gave me a VIN # of 2GCEC19R3T1255725 (or 125?; my ink shows it was either a 7 or a 1; it didn’t quite come out right at the top when I wrote it down because of the ink, and I didn’t notice it before closing that report).

  8. says:

    Marlene, in California there is a procedure to handle these types of hit and run accidents. You should first call the police to file a hit and run report. They will take all your information as well as pictures of the damage and follow up with the vehicle that hit you. Make sure to give them the vehicle description and their CA car plate number. Then you can give that police report to your insurance company and let them know the police are following up on the situation. The insurance company will then guide you from there.

  9. says:

    This is the license plate of the car who hit me and ran how do I find out where they live so they can pay my car to get fixed

  10. says:

    Manuel, there are occasions where there are only four numbers in a custom California license plate. Does that answer your question?

  11. says:

    I am curious as to the significance of a four number CA license plate.

  12. says:

    Josefin, is that the California license plate number that you are interested in finding out if it is stolen?

  13. says:

    Buying vehicle need to know owner is correct and not stollen

  14. says:

    John, you will want to contact the California DMV about your release of the vintage license plates. Unfortunately we cannot assist you with this California license plate number search.

  15. says:

    I purchased a set of 1934 plates. The DMV shows they were last registered in 2016 but I did not get the release from the last registered owner. I need to get in touch with them to get one so I can register them to my car

  16. says:

    Justin, are you attempting to lookup a permanent trailer that is registered in California?

  17. says:

    Permanent trailer

  18. says:

    David, since you do not have the normal documentation or a CA license plate then you will need to discuss your options with the DMV directly

  19. says:

    .I have a 1966 VW beetle frame pan and Fiberglas body ! I bought it with no motor with bill of sale no title or license plate . I only have serial number on pan and metal sticker under dash that has serial number and is from Bureau of automotive repair. I believe from California .I’ve checked and it’s not stolen in USA and Mexico!
    Can you help me get title ! Thanks David

  20. says:

    Shannon, you will need to reach out to the California DMV directly about your inquiry

  21. says:

    I am selling a collection of old license plates for a friend and i would like to know if they are still in the DMV system. That’s all…no other information. I just want to know if they are “DMV clear”. Can i find that information here?

  22. says:

    Maria, before obtaining any information from our vehicle record resources, you must first go through our terms of service as well as the privacy laws associated with the state you live in. California has very specific conditions when running a CA license plate number. You can also file a police report and have the DMV lookup this person’s contact information.

  23. says:

    Someone dog bit my dog. And gave me a wrong phone number. I have her plate( im pretty sure it is) and i have the plate of the person ghat was with her (this pne for sure) This was yesterday at tuna canyon topanga. 10, 1030am. The dog that attacked was a black large poodle . Owner gave me wrong phone number. I need to reach her. So she can take care of dog’s vet bill.
    Owner’s dog: CB68J32 may/22
    Palisades white new car

    Please help. How can i get their info with license plates?
    Thank you.

  24. says:

    Om buy a vehical and want to know if im buying from owner

  25. says:

    I now own this vehicle in GB

  26. says:

    I would like to be able to contact the owner of this license plate since she has my name on her plates and we seem to have thing in common. Chela is not a common name that is why I think she would like to meet or at least talk on phone

  27. says:


  28. says:

    Lola, to take care of an abandoned vehicle in California, there is a process.

    How to report an abandoned vehicle in California

    First you will want to call the police and report the abandoned vehicle. They will followup with trying to contact the owner of the vehicle. Then if there is no response you can have the abandoned vehicle towed at the owner’s expense. Another option is you can visit your local DMV to report the abandoned vehicle and they will in turn coordinate with the police to locate the abandoned vehicle owner

  29. says:

    This car is abandoned on a property I intend to purchase, I need to contact the owner to remove, so I need the registered owner to contact.
    The plate is California

  30. says:

    Justine, you might want to file a police report and let them handle tracking down the RV. Our license plate title search resources are not intended for tracking purposes. The only way to track a vehicle is if there is LowJack or Onstar installed and activated on the vehicle itself.

  31. says:

    My sons RV was stolen.
    I’m a bit confused cuz when I look up the license plate nothing shows license plate being California 783 uot

  32. says:

    Timothy, this sounds like a police matter. You might consider calling the police and reporting this with the CA license plate number and VIN that you have

  33. says:

    My cousin was abducted and we have the license plate and Vin number of who took her.

  34. says:

    Hi, a tourist hit my car and he did not speak English. It looked like he was borrowing the car from a friend. Can you help to locate the car owner?

  35. says:

    Jami, in order to use our California license plate and vehicle record resources you must go through and read the terms and conditions for our service plus the California privacy rules

  36. says:

    We are looking at a car to buy wanted to make sure this person owns the car. Plate #6eyv183

  37. says:

    Said, you will want to contact the police about this incident and file a hit and run report. They will be able to follow up on the information you have and take the necessary measures to locate the vehicle in question. You will also want this report so that you can file it with your auto insurance company.

  38. says:

    My car and other two viheclels was hit and run we only have the license plate the TOW track that towed the hit run car

  39. says:

    Jade, this is a police matter, unfortunately we cannot assist you with your license plate search inquiry. Please read the privacy laws that apply to California, there are restrictions to this type of information.

  40. says:

    I got robber the other night and here is the license plate number. I need to know some Information so I can tell the police if his car was the robber of my place.

  41. says:

    Sheri, we hope everyone is ok. If you have an emergency please call 911. Next, if everyone is ok, you should contact the police and file a hit and run report. They will be able to follow up on the situation and then you can file an auto insurance claim.

  42. says:

    Looking for owners of this vehicle for hit and run
    7egf763 Toyota sedan blue California

  43. says:

    Angela, unfortunately we only have California license plate information on highway legal vehicles. If you have an issue with an abandoned vehicle you can file a police report and have the vehicle towed off your property at the owners expense.

  44. says:

    Lamar, you will want to reach out to your insurance company directly to report this and they have the ability to lookup this information. You may want to also file a police report if this was a hit and run situation.

  45. says:

    My car was hit by the owner of this plate on July 10,2020. How can I find out his insurance info so I can file claim? California License. 7T56737

  46. says:

    I need to find the owners name of a recreational vehicle that has been abandoned on my property but there is no license plate on or on the vehicle. I do however have the Vin #. How can I obtain this information?

  47. says:

    Liela, unfortunately we cannot disclose any personal information on our blog and the reason you submitted is not an acceptable reason to find the information you are interested in via the CPPA or DPPA regulations. You can go through our process and read the acceptable reasons to run a California license plate lookup.

  48. says:

    I was the victim of a hit and run yesterday afternoon, I was able to get the license plate and filed a report with the CHP. Can I find out the owner’s name/address of the car who hit me?

  49. says:

    Paul, unfortunately our resources do not cover Recreational Vehicles or Motor Homes. You will want to contact the California DMV directly to inquire about the status of the vehicle title and if it’s clean.

  50. says:

    I am looking at a motorhome for sale that made its way from California to Ontario Canada if I have the California plate number how can I find out if there is any liens on said vehicle thank you

Last Updated: 2023-01-23

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