Is there a method for getting vehicle registration info if you're not a cop (and yes, free is better)?
July 10, 2004 7:36 AM   Subscribe

Is anyone aware of a method (online or otherwise) for determining to whom a vehicle is registered if you know the license plate number - without actually being a law enforcement officer yourself? Google's only turned up for-pay services (that start at US$30 or so). The vehicle is registered in Illinois, if that impacts the answer...
posted by JollyWanker to Grab Bag (4 answers total)
Not a lawyer, but....

It appears that the DPPA (Driver's Privacy Protection Act) prevents just anyone from pulling a vehicle's records out of curiosity.

You probably saw Abika in your Googling; they have a list of the DPPA Reasons for requesting records.

Westlaw sells access to Illinois DMV records. They note, also, that each request is archived with info about the requester, in accordance with DPPA, in case there are questions about the legality of the request.

The short answer would appear to be no.
posted by gimonca at 6:17 PM on July 10, 2004

Response by poster: I did see that, after posting my question. I wonder why it is that that information regarding the ownership of an automobile is considered "private," but ownership of other phyisical property, like land or buildings, is publicly available? I'd always thought that for legal purposes, automobiles were equivalent to any other type of property, but apparently not?
posted by JollyWanker at 9:42 AM on July 11, 2004

Good point about the land vs. car-ownership privacy JollyWanker. Why should anyone be able to find out my name as a land owner, without a specific valid reason?
posted by Goofyy at 10:30 AM on July 11, 2004

In Florida, you can request an Abstract of Registration -- *in person*, at the tax collectors office, if you're willing to have them photocopy your DL and log it.

They do log it on paper, in a book, so it's mostly a "go back later and look if someone gets Rebecca Shcaefer'd" thing...
posted by baylink at 6:48 PM on July 12, 2004

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