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How to Find a License Plate Owner in Minnesota

by Shannon Johnson

Reverse license plate searches can be a valuable tool. With the license plate number and registered state of a vehicle, many times the owner's name, address and phone number are just a few clicks away. The days of free searches, however, are over. Privacy laws have made access to reverse license plate search databases very limited. Some private companies provide the service, but there will be a charge for access to the records, and there won't be anything included in them that would not be considered public record.

Locate a license plate search site that operates databases for all 50 states. License-plate-search.org is a good place to start. You can also look through the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services Division's site for database suggestions. The Department of Public Safety does have its own records look-up, but only the owner of the car will have access to those records.

Select Minnesota as the state you will be searching and type in the license plate number in the search box of the site you chose. Click "Search." The search will scan the database, and a red message will pop up under the loading screen indicating whether or not there are records for that number. If there are, you will most likely be redirected to a third-party records site such as Undercover Detective that controls the database.

Register for the appropriate records access that you need. Business owners who will be using the site to screen the driving records of employees may want to purchase a subscription that lasts several years, while individuals may want to choose a shorter option.

Print all of your receipts and correspondence before repeating the search with the state and license number. Once you have registered the documents should appear either to download or to be mailed to you.

Tips

  • Individuals needing a single record or limited access should contact the Minnesota Department of Motor Vehicles. You will still have to pay a fee for the records, but it may save you some money to choose the more limited search.
  • Police officers are nowadays the only personnel who have free access to these databases, but professionals such as lawyers or journalists who need the information for a case or story can issue a Freedom of Information Act letter and request a waiver for the fee.

Warning

  • Any site that claims to offer free records information may be a fraud. There are Minnesota laws in place to protect private information, so these records are often modified to contain public records only and include an access fee for private citizens.

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About the Author

Shannon Johnson has been a freelance writer since 2008, specializing in health and organic and green-living topics. She practiced law for five years before moving on to work in higher education. She writes about what she lives on a daily basis.

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