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To look up New Mexico license plates for free, you only need to use an online public records access portal. You will only see basic vehicle (year, make, model, etc.) information, though. However, if you follow federal and state driver privacy laws, you can purchase a report with a lot of more information, for example, the vehicle owner's name, address, phone number, social security number, date of birth, driver's license number, and additional details. Sometimes the files will include photographs and even medical information. Using the New Mexico method of obtaining records, you must be a subscriber and pay a $75 annual fee. When signing up, you need to provide your name, address, and business license.
Regardless of whether you move to New Mexico or purchase a new car, you must register it in person at the closest Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) Field Office. When registering a vehicle, you will need the following:
Vehicle registration fees vary based on the car or truck's weight, but you will pay somewhere between $27-$62 for one year and $54-$124 for a two-year registration.
You may renew your New Mexico vehicle registration online, in person at any MVD Field Office, or through the mail. Bernalillo County residents also need to produce an emissions report before renewing.
If you pay your registration fee late (less than 31 days), you will pay a late fee of $10. If you go over the 31 days, you will pay a late fee equal to 75% of the registration fee.
New Mexico offers its residents dozens of license plates to choose from. In 2012 New Mexico was the Winner of the 2012 Award for Best License Plate in the U.S. for their teal green and yellow Centennial license plate. The standard New Mexico plate is yellow with red lettering. Some other options are:
New Mexico follows the federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) but also has its own state law regarding the privacy of driver records, N.M. Stat. Ann. § 66-2-7.1. On the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division website, the records request form provides this warning about the use of personal information:
"New Mexico Driver's Privacy Protection Agreement" or "NMDPPA" is a document indicating the End User's intended use of MVD records. The NMDPPA states that the End User shall not obtain, use, resell, or transfer the information for any purpose prohibited by Section 66-2-7.1 NMSA 1978 or the Driver's Privacy Protection Act ("DPPA"), 18 U.S.C. § 2721 et seq".
When signing up to access records online, New Mexico includes an agreement with all the stipulations laid out, and the subscriber must read it all and agree to each one before setting up an account.
They explain that: "Records without personal information (RWPI), are not subject to regulation by the DPPA and thus are Public Records as that term is defined in New Mexico law. As such, they may be disseminated to an End User by Sub-vendor without compliance with the same rules as apply to Records containing PI. However, the applicable Fee applies to disclosure or transmittal to Sub-vendor of a Record from which PI has been permanently removed".
It is entirely legal to lookup license plate numbers in New Mexico as long as they do not contain any private information. A free lookup that includes a vehicle's make, model, and year are free of any legal issues. However, if the records contain the owner's name, date of birth, social security number, address, or other personally identifiable information, then they are subject to strict state and federal DPPA laws.
When getting a copy of your own, you need your driver's license number, your social security number, and date of birth.
When signing up with the state of New Mexico to access motor vehicle records, you must sign a special form called the "Agreement for Access to Driver's License and Motor Vehicle Records". Then you must fill out the New Mexico Driver's Privacy Protection Act form. You have to supply your name, business, phone number, mailing address, email, and how often you expect to access the records. You must also produce your business license. You must sign and date it and include a $75 fee. You also must fall into one of the allowable categories for access (by checking it off on the form).
New Mexico's online system for motor vehicle records does not allow searches by VIN, only driver's license number, and date of birth. If you want to look up a license plate number online using the VIN, you will have to use a third-party search portal (and comply with DPPA laws) or the national title registry where you can see crash history, recalls, and more.
It is not possible to look up the owner of a license plate in New Mexico by searching for their license plate unless you qualify under DPPA laws. Doing so would violate state and federal DPPA laws. However, if you fall into one of the "allowable" categories, then you can sign up and search. For example, if you own a towing company and have a vehicle on your lot and need to locate and contact the owner.
New Mexico includes a list of the legal reasons that someone can look up personal information of the owner of a license plate. They include this list on their New Mexico Driver's Privacy Protection Act Agreement form. Some of the allowable situations are:
Using an online service or public records database, anyone can look up a New Mexico license plate for free. The problem is you won't see a lot of information, just the vehicle's year, make, and model.