Anyone can look up a license plate in South Dakota easily online for free. However, the information may be limited to basic vehicle data. South Dakota has strict Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) laws with only nine allowable purposes for requesting motor vehicle records. Therefore, you can request records that contain the driver's name, address, phone number, sometimes photographs, social security number, driver's license number, and other personal details, but only if you qualify.
Motor vehicle registrations renew annually based on the owner's last name. The state offers standard license plates and specialty plates to choose from when registering. Motor vehicle registrations are handled at the local county treasurer's office, but motor vehicle records are maintained and regulated by the South Dakota Department of Revenue.
South Dakota uses a special form for motor vehicle records requests. It must be signed and notarized before being submitted.
In South Dakota, all personal motor vehicles must have two license plates; one on the front and one on the rear. Vehicles that drive less than 6,000 miles per year may apply for a rear-only license plate. You will pay an additional $25 for that privilege.
South Dakota uses the first letter of the vehicle owner's last name to determine the month of renewal for license plate registrations. You have only forty-five days following the purchase of a new vehicle to register it with the local county treasurer's office.
South Dakota has a standard license plate issued to most residents. But you also have the option of applying for vanity plates (personalized plates where you choose the lettering). You can also choose from one of many of their specialty plates. A sampling of what you can purchase are:
South Dakota also offers tribal plates for the following tribes:
South Dakota offers veteran and women veteran plates also.
South Dakota follows the federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act pretty closely and uses some of its exceptions on the release form. They also require that the form be notarized and signed before any motor vehicle records will be released. South Dakota implemented its own DPPA laws in June of 2000.
They state the following regarding the law: "The DPPA restricts states from disclosing an individual's personal information that is contained in the records of state motor vehicle departments without the individual's consent. The type of information restricted from being released includes a person's name, address, telephone number, Social Security number, driver's license number".
Additionally, South Dakota has stripped down the federal list of exceptions to only nine allowable purposes for releasing personal information contained in motor vehicle records.
You can easily look up a license plate number in South Dakota to find out basic information like the make, model, year, and mechanical details. However, unless you are a towing company or have another legal reason for doing so, you cannot request or obtain motor vehicle records with personal owner details.
When using the South Dakota form to request motor vehicle records, you will need to provide your name, address, social security number, phone number, and email address. You will also have to provide vehicle information (make, model, year, title, VIN, or license plate number). You must also get a signature from the owner in many cases. Your form must be notarized and signed to be valid.
If you own a towing company and need to find the owner of a vehicle, you can request records through the South Dakota Department of Revenue. Unless you have a valid reason such as this, you cannot legally locate the owner of a license plate in South Dakota without proper documentation.
South Dakota follows the federal DPPA laws but restricts them even further by allowing only 9 of the acceptable purposes for obtained motor vehicle records with personal details. Those nine exceptions include:
You can easily lookup a South Dakota license plate for free online using a variety of different public records portals. However, most of them will show you only vehicle details such as the vehicle year, make, model, trim level, engine type, driveline, type of braking system, transmission, manufacturer, and even the MSRP.