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Instant License Plate Lookup

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The following is for informational purposes only

What Should You Do if Your License Plate Is Stolen?

License plates may seem trivial to steal, though criminals use them to conceal the identity of another vehicle. They use a vehicle owner's license plate to commit further acts without worrying about being tracked. For this reason, it is crucial to report stolen license plates to the local police department as soon as it happens.

Other plates may also have monetary value as collectibles. In these cases, thieves sell the license plates in their current state. Another reason, though unlikely, is criminals steal license plates to avoid abiding by traffic regulations and for speeding. Surveillance will record the stolen license plate number resulting in punitive measures to the original owner, especially if the plates were not reported stolen.

How To Report Stolen License Plates

To avoid any following liability, it would be advisable to contact the police department by calling 911. The platform will put the vehicle owner through to the right department where one can issue the report. A police officer will arrive at their location and file a report. The vehicle owner should also refrain from driving the vehicle anywhere before this occurs. When filing the report, the officer may do a license plate look-up to check the information's validity. If one has their registration available, it will make the search much easier.

Once the police officer has recorded the owner's statement and issued a report, one can ask for a copy, which will be helpful when driving afterward. Vehicle users may provide it to officers during traffic stops thereafter before the following steps are taken. The police report is updated, and the owner can visit their local Department of Motor Vehicles to make a similar statement. It is to cancel the stolen license plates and apply for a replacement.

Most states require the individual to prove they are the registered owner before temporary or replacements are issued. In most states, the owner will also get a temporary plate before a replacement is ready. In others, the replacement is ready when the application is made. However, if the vehicle had specialty or personalized plates, the owner would have to wait longer for the new plates to be mailed to their address.

The application for replacement plates can be arduous, considering the DMV will not likely allow one to apply online. For that reason, it would be advisable to note the submission requirements. Some states require an email for the application, while other jurisdictions need the vehicle owner to submit it in person. Depending on the location, it may also need notarization. These steps will save significant time and frustration when applying for the replacement despite being a victim of a crime.

Can Digital License Plates Be Stolen?

Technically, license plates may be stolen though it is not likely to happen. They are programmed to work with the vehicle's computer and communicate with external sources to access them remotely for regulation and tracking.

Digital license plates also assist law enforcement agencies in tracking stolen cars, as owners can share the location via their app. A digital plate may also display the word 'STOLEN', thereby drawing attention to the vehicle and helping track it down. If removed illegally though from the vehicle, It may be rendered non-functional.

How To Prevent License Plates From Being Stolen?

Following the delivery of a replacement license plate, securing these adequately to the vehicle would be advisable. Most cars may come with a pair of screws, but these are inadequate security measures. Security screws are great because they need special tools to remove them. It would also deter most thieves interested in taking plates to perpetrate crimes.

Plate keeper or self-tapping screws are optimal security screw options as they are designed to be tamper resistant. One may also get a lockable license plate frame. That protects the plate from being dented or scratched.

Always Make Sure to Report Stolen License Plates Right Away

License plates are stolen by criminals that want to commit offenses using the vehicle owner's identity as a cover. Unfortunately, this opens the registered owner to criminal and civil liabilities. Due to these reasons, they are to report the incident immediately after it happens and not move from the location.

Once a law enforcement officer has recorded the statement of the incident, they can issue a police report that will save the individual from further liability. It also allows them to drive around before they purchase temporary and replacement license plates. Most states take up to four weeks to issue replacement plates, and the costs vary. One can install security screws and frames to deter tampering or theft upon receiving replacement plates.

StateReplacement License plate feesTemporary License plate fees
Alabama$23, plus $1.25 issuance fee$25 per 30 days
Arizona$5$15 for 30 days
Colorado$50$7.03 for 60 days
Connecticut$25 without a police report$21 for 10 days
District of Columbia$10$13.00 for 45 days
Georgia$8Free for 45 days
Illinois$6$10 for 7 days
Indiana$9.50$3 for 96 hours
Iowa$50.75% of list price for cars 8-9 years old
Minnesota$10 and a service fee of $8.50$1 for 31 days
New Hampshire$8$10
New Jersey$6$5
New Mexico$7.50$15
New York$25 and $3.75 for new registration$12.50
North Carolina$21.50$10
North Dakota$5$5
Ohio$13.2515 to $20
Oklahoma$9.50 plus $1.50 insurance fee$22
Oregon$5 to $10$33
Rhode Island$11$12
South Carolina$6$5
South Dakota$10$15 for 15 days
Texas$6 plus 50 cents automation fee$25 to $50
West Virginia$10$5
Wyoming$8$50 for 30 days

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