How can one find out information about a person based on their address and license plate number?
September 8, 2004 8:03 PM   Subscribe

A friend needs some help finding out more information on someone based on their address and license plate number. I know there are a lot of sites out there that claim to sell such info, but are any of them legit? Any suggestions on where to find this info for free? I remember from a similar previous question that this information is getting harder to come by due to some changes in the law. Also, for you law students out there, I have full Westlaw access, and there seems to be a db for looking up DMV info, but it asks you to affirm that you're using it for approved ends. Have any of you ever used this db?
posted by gokart4xmas to Grab Bag (9 answers total)
Are your friend's goals benign? I certainly hope you aren't thinking of aiding someone in stalking or revenge or something...
posted by beth at 8:14 PM on September 8, 2004

Know anyone w/ a Haines Criss+Cross Directory? Very handy...
posted by Shane at 8:16 PM on September 8, 2004

I can't speak as to the legitimacy of any of the sites out there, but I can give you some advice on using the westlaw database.

First off, I'm super-surprised that you'd have access to the dmv info as a law student. I actually work for west's main competitor, and most of those personal-info databases are not on our law student menus. Even if they are for you, I would strongly encourage you make sure you have one of those "permissible uses" before you search the database. If west is anything like my employer, they may be obligated to carefully monitor the access to those databases (hint, hint).
posted by dicaxpuella at 8:17 PM on September 8, 2004

I for the life of my cannot imagine what legitimate information you would want that you cannot get with what you already have - you've got the address for chrissakes.

  • You want their 'phone number? Why - you wanna talk, knock on the door.
  • You want their name? Knock on the door...
  • You wanna know if they've got the credit to cover the accident you had involving them? Not your bag - up to the Police and your insurers.
  • You want to know to know if they'll go out with you? The door! The door!
  • The door's too far away? Post 'em a letter!

    Maybe I'm missing something, but at this moment in time I cannot imagine one reasonable reason for potentially illegal delving.

  • posted by benzo8 at 8:42 PM on September 8, 2004

    Response by poster: Thanks for the information so far. Just to clarify, my friend's intentions aren't illegal, and I would never dream of helping someone become a stalker. The whole reason I asked about the Westlaw thing is that I don't want to cross any ethical boundaries.
    posted by gokart4xmas at 9:43 PM on September 8, 2004

    What exactly are the intentions?

    I'm having a hard time thinking of any legitimate and/or non-stalker and/or non-detective/LEO uses for this "additional information".

    This sounds a lot like the exact kind of abuse that privacy advocates warn about.
    posted by loquacious at 11:32 PM on September 8, 2004

    If you have to ask yourself whether you are using the db for approved ends you probably aren't using the db for approved ends.

    I work for Westlaw, so I've used the db plenty of times. It works pretty well. But you'd probably be safer searching for this citation: 54 FRD 282 and getting a good laugh.
    posted by sciurus at 4:30 AM on September 9, 2004

    Jeez give gokart a break. There are certainly legitimate reasons for trying to locate someone or get a tel# based on a license plate or addy.

    My friend was in an accident recently. The other driver took off, but not before my friend got his plate#. He contacted the DMV and got the owner's info who agreed to pay for the 1k of damage that his daughter's boyfriend did to my friend's car.

    So there you cynics!
    posted by Juicylicious at 1:01 PM on September 9, 2004

    Reverse Address Lookup if you want their phone number.
    posted by banished at 2:29 PM on September 9, 2004

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