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Connecticut License Plate Lookup

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License Plate Lookup in Connecticut

A Connecticut license plate lookup is a way of finding out details about a vehicle using the plate number. This is possible because plate numbers are linked to individual motor vehicles. Generally, people do license plate lookups in Connecticut to know the history of used cars before purchasing one.

A license plate lookup usually reveals information such as a vehicle's current warranty, market value, fuel efficiency, odometer readings, vehicle specifications, and related Connecticut traffic records. It also discloses vehicle title, accident history, insurance claims, service and repair history, safety rating, and inspection checklist. Additionally, a vehicle lookup can show a person if a vehicle was ever recalled by a manufacturer, stolen or used in loan contracts, or if it ever suffered from floods, fire, or any other natural disaster.

State Department of Motor Vehicles and some free online resources are common options available for anyone intending to do plate license lookup. The Department of Motor Vehicles offers an online resource for a free license plate lookup in Connecticut. Although many third-party sites offer free license plate lookup services, they usually do not return 100% reliable information on vehicles.

However, most paid third-party license plate lookup sites provide accurate and up-to-date search results, but they require membership fees for payment. Many of them also offer unlimited reports about the vehicle being searched.

What is a Connecticut License Plate?

A license plate is a plastic or metal plate that displays a vehicle's registered license number. It is illegal to operate an automobile without a license plate in Connecticut. New residents in the state have 60 days to register their vehicles and obtain a Connecticut license plate through its Department of Motor Vehicles. Section 14-18 of the Connecticut General Statute requires every motor vehicle that has been issued a license plate to display it conspicuously at the rear of such vehicle when operating on any public highway. Any motor vehicle given two number plates must display them in a prominent place at the vehicle's front and rear parts. It is an infraction against Section 14-18 of the Connecticut General Statute for anyone resident in Connecticut to use license plates issued by another state.

The types of license plates in Connecticut include:

  1. Classic Vehicle License Plates - The DMV issues these license plates to vehicles registered in Connecticut whose model year is 20 or older. Persons interested in obtaining this license plate must turn in their existing plates at any DMV office location.

  2. Special License Plates - Special license plates are issued to members of non-profit organizations in Connecticut. License plates under this category include:

    1. Environmental license plates
    2. Organization license plates
    3. College license plates
    4. Animal license plates
    5. All special interest license plates
    6. Varied interest license plates
    7. Recreational license plates
    8. Cities and Towns license plate
    9. Military and Veteran license plates
    10. Police and Fire organization license plates
    11. Vanity license plates
  3. Transporter License Plates - The DMV issues transporter license plates to businesses located in Connecticut whose motor vehicles are used to move vehicles from one place to another. Typically, such motor vehicles do not have specific registration classification assigned and must not be used to transport passengers or for commercial purposes.

How Do I Get a License Plate in Connecticut?

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) registers motor vehicles and issues license plates to vehicle owners in Connecticut. The DMV, however, needs a person to satisfy some requirements before applying for a license plate. Such requirements include not having unpaid parking tickets or owing property taxes. The vehicle must also comply with emission standards and not have a suspended vehicle registration privilege.

An individual who wishes to obtain a license plate in Connecticut must provide the following documents:

  • Current certificate of title and registration certificate (for a used vehicle).
  • Valid Connecticut insurance card.
  • Application for registration and certificate title if registering a new vehicle.
  • Applicant's valid ID. The DMV accepts driver's license, military ID, or other government-issued ID.
  • Bill of sale.
  • VIN verification and emission test.
  • Proof of ownership.

Applicants who can provide these documents should send their applications via mail or apply in person to/at any DMV office location. The DMV requires applicants for license plates who purchase their vehicle from a private dealer to transfer its title and register the motor vehicle in their name. To apply for a license plate in Connecticut, an applicant must schedule an appointment with any DMV office location. The DMV has varying vehicle registration fees depending on the type of motor vehicle a person intends to register and the intended purpose.

Third-party aggregate sites are a reliable alternative for obtaining license plate information. These sites are maintained by independent establishments which collate the information from government-run repositories. Obtaining records from these sites often proves substantially easier than government alternatives. However, requestors may be required to provide any information required to facilitate the record search and pay any required fees to access the record of interest.

Passenger License Plates vs Commercial License Plates

Generally, passenger license plates are tagged on vehicles that carry passengers only and are usually private motor vehicles. Such automobiles are mostly small in size. On the other hand, commercial license plates are used on motor vehicles that operate for business purposes, and they are usually heavier than passenger vehicles. Commercial vehicles may carry passengers or goods.

Considering the description given to commercial vehicles by the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles, commercial license plates are meant for:

  • Motor vehicles designed to transport 16 or more passengers, the driver inclusive.
  • Any vehicle used to transport hazardous materials in large quantities.
  • Motor vehicles weighing at least 26,001 pounds.
  • Vehicles intended to transport at least 11 passengers, including the driver and used to move under-21 students to and from school.

The general requirements for getting a commercial license plate and a passenger license plate in Connecticut are the same. They include all the documents and fees needed to get any license plate type in the state.

How Can I Find the Owner of a License Plate in Connecticut?

Persons who want to know how to check the owner of a vehicle in Connecticut can explore the various license plate lookup resources in the state. The Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) provides the public with a free online tool to lookup license plates and obtain certain information on the vehicles or persons linked to such license plates. However, nobody can request owner information of any vehicle registered in Connecticut.

Title 14, Section 14-10 of Connecticut State Law governs how a person can access private information held by DMV and who gets them. State law classifies information such as an individual's driver's license number, photograph, address, name, and social security number as private. However, anyone seeking to find a license plate owner in Connecticut can contact law enforcement to have them look it up. Law enforcement will then contact the vehicle owner on their behalf. Also, a person can use the information obtained from any free license plate lookup resources online to find the owner of a vehicle registered to a license plate from a public database. One such means is a phone number lookup using any information acquired from a license plate lookup.

Connecticut License Plate Renewal

The Department of Motor Vehicles handles license plate renewals in Connecticut, and it sends out a renewal notice 60 days before the expiration of current vehicle registration. Typically, vehicle registration in Connecticut is due for renewal every two years, but persons over 65 years may choose to renew them each year. The DMV's renewal notice usually include:

  • Emissions tests requirements
  • Renewal fee amount
  • Notice of delinquency problems (if any)
  • Personal Identification Number (PIN)
  • Deadline

The Connecticut DMV recommends using the online vehicle renewal portal for license plate renewals. Anyone opting for this service must provide the following:

  • Date of birth
  • A Personal Identification Number (PIN) or names as it appears on their ID or license
  • Connecticut-issued driver's license or non-driver ID
  • Secretary of State number (for an organization)

A registrant must pay any amount the system shows them using MasterCard, VISA, or Discover credit cards for online renewal. Any attempt to renew a license plate online 30 days after the expiration of a registration attracts a $10 late fee. Vehicles whose license plates are renewable online include most commercial motor vehicles, passenger vehicles, vans, trucks, SUVs, camp trailers, and motorcycles.

Some vehicles' license plates require additional paperwork; hence, their owners cannot renew the license plates online. Such vehicle owners must renew their registration in person by submitting their driver's license, current vehicle registration and paying the necessary renewal fee at any DMV office location.

The Connecticut DMV also offers license plate renewal by mail. For this option, the Department mails an invitation to renew vehicle registration to the license plate owner 45 days before it expires. The vehicle owner will then send the bottom portion of the renewal notice and proof of required payment to the DMV at:

Department of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 150456
Hartford, CT 06115-0456

Can You Look Up License Plates with VIN?

Yes. Looking up a license plate is possible using the. In Connecticut, plate numbers and Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) are linked in the state's public vehicle records. Consequently, it is possible to lookup license plate numbers using VINs.

Connecticut VIN Number Lookup

A Connecticut VIN lookup is a way of checking a vehicle's information using the vehicle's VIN. A Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is a unique serial number assigned by automobile manufacturers to every motor vehicle that leaves the manufacturers' assembly plants. A person can do a VIN lookup by searching any available online VIN lookup tool with a vehicle's unique 17-digit, usually a combination of capital letters and numbers.

Typically, vehicle manufacturers stamp VINs somewhere on the engine block, the driver's side dashboard, and a sticker on the driver's side door pole. A VIN lookup can reveal if a vehicle manufacturer had ever issued a vehicle recall and show whether they made those repairs. It also discloses a vehicle history, such as records of repairs, accidents, and previous owners, if used previously by another person.

Can Civilians Lookup License Plates in Connecticut?

Civilians in Connecticut can look up license plates using a verification tool provided by the State of Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles. Requesters will need to provide a plate number as well as the plate class. However, this tool only provides confirmation on whether a license plate is registered or not.

Eligible persons can obtain more information for a fee after submitting a request to the Connecticut DMV. However, access to these records will be determined by the reason for the request. Connecticut's Driver privacy laws prevent the release of protected information such as the registered owner's image, email, social security number, and address.

What Do Police See When They Run Your Plates in Connecticut?

When the police run your plates in Connecticut, they're given access to different records associated with the plates, such as the name of the registered owner. Police officers can also verify the status of the vehicle's registration, as well as the validity of the driver's license.

Unlike civilians, the police in Connecticut are legally permitted to run license plates. Viewing the private information of vehicle owners is not considered a breach of privacy rights. However, law enforcement officers must first have a valid reason (probable cause) to run plates, such as investigating a traffic violation.

Free License Plate Lookup in Connecticut

The Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles provides a self-service lookup tool that residents can use to verify the registration of license plates. Members of the public may also be able to conduct free license plate lookups using a third-party tool that offers this service. To conduct a search, requesters may need to provide additional information such as the plate class.

How to Search for Ticket by License Plate in Connecticut

Drivers can search for misplaced tickets by contacting the Connecticut Centralized Infractions Bureau (CIB). In addition to processing payments for tickets, the CIB assists in the retrieval of infraction information. The office is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Requests can be made at:
Address 225 Spring Street
3rd Floor
Wethersfield, CT 06109

Drivers may also be able to search for traffic tickets by calling during working hours. To obtain the ticket, drivers will need to provide valid information such as their date of birth and their ID.