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To look up a license plate, you can use an online search portal to get a free report, which may include basic vehicle details like the make, model, and year. There are strict laws governing who can access motor vehicle records and how they may be used. Maine has an online request form that individuals can use to get a copy of their own driving record. They have also set up a system called InforME for businesses, government agencies, and others to search for and purchase license plate records. You must apply to use this service and prove you fall into the allowable categories. When applying, you must have your name, address, phone number, and business information. Using this service, you can see more personal details like the vehicle owner's name, address, phone, and sometimes more.
For most passenger vehicles, Maine requires you to have two license plates. One affixed to the front and one to the rear of the vehicle. Additionally, Maine's license plate laws require: "Registration plates, including the numbers, letters, and words, must always be plainly visible and legible".
Vehicle registrations are required to be renewed annually on a staggered basis. They expire after one year in the same month that they were issued. Municipal excise taxes (property taxes) must be paid before you can register your vehicle.
Maine has an online system you can use to renew your vehicle registration and pay your excise taxes all in one. When renewing online, you must have:
Along with the standard Maine license plate, the state offers its residents a few varieties of specialty plates to choose from. Some examples are:
Commemorative & Special Emergency Response Plates
Veteran Plates And Programs
Maine also has disability plates and placards for those individuals who require them. Maine drivers can also request personalized messages on their plates, but it must be approved, and it costs extra.
Maine has very strict Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) laws (Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 29-A, § 251) and further restricts the federal laws. According to the Maine.gov website, "The DPPA does allow for the release of personal information from motor vehicle records if used in connection with vehicle safety, vehicle theft or emissions and for market research, product recalls and court proceedings. Those agencies with access to personal information for these purposes are:
Additionally, Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles emphasizes "states cannot release personal information on motor vehicle records to sales and marketing organizations and the general public, unless an individual specifically agrees to the release by completing an ‘opt-in' form".
It is only legal to lookup license plate numbers in Maine for a very short list of reasons. You can certainly look up basic information such as make, model, and year with a free lookup. But you must be very careful about obtaining driver details like name, address, phone number, photographs, medical information, or anything else that is restricted by DPPA laws.
When using the Maine license plate lookup system, you must first sign a DPPA agreement. When doing so, you must fill out your name, address, phone number, business name, and type of company that you work for and for what purpose you are using the records.
If you are an authorized user in Maine, you can look license plate records up using the plate number, driver's license number, or VIN. However, you must first go through the approval process to gain access. If you are looking for vehicle information, you can use a third-party resource or the national title registry database to find out if the vehicle has been in any accidents and if there are open recalls on it.
Maine does not allow you to look up the owner of a license plate unless you qualify under DPPA rules. If you have a run-in with a vehicle and need to make restitution with the owner, the best option is to notify the police and let them look up the plate number and contact the owner. Otherwise, you could be subject to heavy fines and even jail time.
Maine restricts the national DPPA laws even further and only allows a few different types of businesses/individuals to access motor vehicle records and license plate files. According to their DPPA agreement, you have to be one of the following to access records:
Anyone can look up Maine license plates for free online. But the information you get may be limited to only the model, make, and year of the truck or car. Sometimes you can find the manufacturer, engine type and other mechanic details as well. There are public records online databases where you can perform a license plate lookup, but you must be very careful about how you use that information.