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To look up New Jersey license plates for free, you can do so using public records. However, that method will only supply you with limited information such as the vehicle's year, make, and model. There are various online portals where you can purchase additional information such as the vehicle owner's name, address, phone number, social security number, birth date, photographs, and often more information. The state also offers a form where people can request records online, through the mail or in person. However, any access to, and use of license plate records are subject to strict federal and state Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) laws. When requesting records under DPPA rules, you must provide your contact details and a copy of your ID.
All passenger vehicles in New Jersey must have two license plates (one in the rear and one in the front) with the exception of trailers, motorized bicycles, motorcycles, and autocycles. Additionally, New Jersey law states that "The license plates must be clean and visible at all times. Even though the rear plate is reflectorized, it must be illuminated to make it visible from 50 feet away at night (N.J.S.A. 39:3-48b)".
If anyone uses a license plate cover that obscures or conceals lettering on the plate, the state will charge them a $100 fine.
If you purchase a vehicle in New Jersey, the dealer will handle registration for you. If you buy from a private party or outside the state, you will have to register your vehicle. When doing so, you must bring your driver's license, the title to the vehicle, proof of insurance, dealer documentation, and lienholder information if applicable.
You will receive a vehicle registration renewal notice three months before your registration is due. You can renew in person, vial mail, or online.
Along with the standard license plates used by most New Jersey residents, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission also offers specialty plates from the following categories:
A sampling of the available license plates is:
The state also offers disability plates to those drivers who need them.
Driver privacy in New Jersey is governed by both New Jersey state law(N.J. Stat. § 39:2-3.4) and the federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA). The state law is consistent with the provisions of the federal DPPA. The state of New Jersey defines personal information as:
""Personal Information" means information that identifies an individual, including an individual's photograph; social security number; driver identification number; name; address other than the five-digit zip code; telephone number; and medical or disability information, but does not include information on vehicular accidents, driving violations, and driver's status".
On the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission website, this is what they say about driver privacy:
"The Driver Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) protects your personal identity. The MVC will not disclose any personal information without your consent and a proper written request form.
Anyone requesting a driver's record is required to show proper identification and must follow the steps outlined in Driver Privacy Protection Act.
Any personal information disclosed through the MVC will only be used in conjunction with issues relating to motor vehicle services and driver histories".
It is entirely legal to lookup a license plate number in New Jersey to find basic information like the make, model, and year of the car. But it is not legal to look up private, sensitive, or personal information about the owner without consent or a valid, legitimate reason.
The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commissions (MVC) has a special form called the "Driver History Abstract Application Request" to use when requesting records. You must provide your name, business name, phone number, address, and your driver's license number. If requesting your own record, a copy of your ID will be required as well. You will also need some information about the person such as name, address, date of birth, gender, and driver's license number.
The form mentioned above does not allow you to use the VIN to look up driver records or license plate information. Therefore, you can either contact local law enforcement to help you or use the national title registry to locate some information about the crash history, recalls, and other details.
New Jersey does not allow just anyone to look up a license plate in New Jersey to find the owner of the vehicle. However, if you have a legal reason for doing so, such as the owner of a towing company where the vehicle has been towed, then you can. Otherwise, you will have to rely on other sources such as the police. You must always follow DPPA when requesting license plate information.
A request from the New Jersey MVC costs $15 per record. They only allow certain people to use the information for specific purposes such as:
The general public is free to lookup New Jersey license plates online but will only find limited information such as the vehicle's year, make, and model.