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Arizona License Plate Lookup

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License Plate Search

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License Plate Lookup in Arizona

An Arizona license plate lookup refers to the process of searching for a vehicle's details by entering the particulars on the vehicle license plate. The search results provide essential Arizona traffic records on the vehicle and its owner as entered at the time of registration. It also discloses important information about the vehicle's history and the following information:

  • Accident history
  • Mileage record or possible rollback
  • Service, Inspection, and Registration History
  • Lien and repossession records
  • Flood, Hail, and Fire Damage
  • Repossession history
  • Driver criminal history
  • Vehicle emission history
  • Motor vehicle title
  • The safety rating of a vehicle
  • Vehicle recalls

The Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) is responsible for the registration and renewal of vehicle registration in Arizona. There are no special requirements for looking up license plates in Arizona. Persons interested in looking up license plates in the state can do so using TheftAZ, a free online tool provided by the Arizona Attorney General's Office. They may also visit any MVD Office location across the state to lookup license plates. Some third-party license plate lookup sites equally return information about motor vehicle registration. However, Information available on these sites is limited compared to those at the MVD office or on TheftAZ.

What is an Arizona License Plate?

An Arizona license plate is a metallic plate issued by the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) through its subsidiary, the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD). All automobiles are required to obtain a license plate in Arizona. A vehicle registration must be done within 15 days from the date of purchase. ADOT requires rear plates to be fixed on all vehicles. An Arizona license plate belongs to the vehicle owner and not the government. Hence, it is transferable from one vehicle to another by its owner. Arizona issues regular license plates and commercial license plates to differentiate vehicles registered for commercial purposes and private vehicles. One plate of standard, full size 6" by 12", having a maximum of seven characters is issued free to any registrant.

Arizona number plates may be personalized. Registrants are allowed to express themselves and support their favorite organizations' personalized messages. The specialty plates, however, come at a cost, unlike regular license plates. Registrants may indicate their disability or other information about them on their license plate. They are allowed to have a maximum of seven characters displayed on the license plate. The state has over 60 specialty license plates that anyone can choose from. Disabled registrants may choose plates indicating that they are disabled. License plates must be displayed at the rear of the vehicle and must be securely fit to prevent swinging. It is illegal to alter an Arizona license plate.

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.

How Do I Get a License Plate in Arizona?

Arizona license plates may be ordered online using the AZ MVD Now. This process requires a registrant to provide the following information:

  • Their email address
  • A phone number that can send or receive text messages
  • The driver license number or ID card number
  • The last four digits of their social security number

Applicants are required to have an AZ MVD Now account. For applications that require additional documentation and can not be completed online, the applicant may download and complete a Special Plate Application Form and submit via mail along with proof of payment of required fee to:

ADOT Motor Vehicle Division
Mail Drop 801Z
Special Plates Unit
P.O. Box 2100
Phoenix, AZ 85001-2100

Application for a special plate may take up to six weeks for processing. Specialty license plates valid for one year cost $25, duplicate license plates cost $10, while license plates replacement cost $5.

Passenger License Plates vs Commercial License Plates

Private passenger motor vehicles in Arizona are generally registered with private license plates, otherwise called regular license plates, unless under some additional conditions. A light-duty passenger vehicle or van weighing up to a ¾ ton or less used for commercial purposes for 1,000 hours or more in a vehicle registration year must be registered as commercial. Vehicles used for full-time business purposes must also obtain commercial license plates. Article 28 of Arizona Revised Statutes categorizes commercial motor vehicles as:

  • Single vehicle or a combination of vehicles with a gross weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more, used for commerce within the state.
  • Single vehicle or a combination of vehicles with a gross weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more, used for interstate commerce.
  • A bus or a school bus.
  • A vehicle with a design capacity to lift eight or more persons and transports passengers for hire.
  • A vehicle used for transporting hazardous materials.

The registration of commercial vehicles in Arizona requires applicants to declare their vehicles' gross weight (in pounds) and pay a gross weight fee as outlined in A.R.S. § 28-5433. They are also required to pay certain commercial fees. Commercial vehicles must also have insurance coverage under authorized businesses in the state. Arizona requires a minimum of $15,000 insurance for bodily injury for one person, $30,000 for two or more persons, and $10,000 minimum insurance for property damage liability. Registrants also need to provide proof of ownership of the vehicle at the point of registration.

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

To find the owner of a license plate in Arizona, an interested person may contact the office of the Attorney General or the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department. However, the information the MVD may disclose to a third party is limited. The U.S. Code 18 § 2721, otherwise known as Driver's Privacy Protection Act, prohibits the release of certain personal information by state vehicle management authorities. The MVD may, however, release personal information of a vehicle owner to a third party if such a request is:

  • By a government agency carrying out official functions.
  • Connected with driver safety and theft.
  • By a legitimate business or their subsidiary to verify the correctness of personal information provided.
  • In regards to a matter before a court or a dispute settlement procedure.
  • To provide notice to owners of towed vehicles.
  • By licensed security agencies or private investigative agencies.
  • By an employer trying to obtain or confirm information about a holder of a commercial driver's license.
  • By private toll transportation facilities.
  • In response to requests for individual motor vehicle records.
  • By a person who has the written consent of the license plate owner.

Where the information obtained from the request does contain the identity of the license plate owner, the requester may further use such information to find the identity of the owner. They may do so using phone number lookup resources or by using the vehicle service record in the state. A person may also use information obtained from third-party license plate lookup sites to trace the identity of a license plate owner.

Arizona License Plate Renewal

Arizona requires registered license plates to be renewed once every year. The Arizona Department of Transport ADOT is in charge of license plate renewals. An applicant needs to have a copy of their current license plate registration when applying. License plate renewal in Arizona can be done online. The online Arizona license plate renewal process requires an applicant to provide their record number and the last two digits of their vehicle identification number. License plate renewal may also be done by calling the Arizona Department of Transportations automated phone system at (888) 713-3031. The required license renewal fees may be paid at any of the over 500 Check Free Locations in Arizona. Applicants may also contact authorized third-party offices for license plate renewal. The MVD will notify an applicant if they need to pass a vehicle emission test. They will be required to pay an $8 registration renewal fee in addition to their vehicle tax fee, which will depend on the type of vehicle. Records are updated instantly as soon as the license plate is renewed, and the receipt is issued instantly as proof of registration.

Can You Look Up License Plates with VIN?

Yes. The TheftAZ designed by the Arizona Attorney General's Office permits looking up license plates with VIN. In Arizona, the VIN and license plate number are linked in the state's public vehicle records.

Arizona VIN Number Lookup

VIN is brief for Vehicle Identification Number. Arizona VIN lookups are conducted by the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) and authorized third-party sites. They match the VIN of the vehicles to the ownership documents of the vehicle. The three levels of VIN lookup in Arizona are:

  • Level 1 inspection: This is for out-of-state vehicles that have no proof of title or registration and those with bonded titles.
  • Level 2 inspection: This is for vehicles that can not be matched, or their VIN is not available.
  • Level 3 inspection: This is for rescued damaged or stolen vehicles or vehicles involved in a collision.

Level 1 VIN inspection requires a person to visit any of the MVD offices or authorized third-party service providers. The VIN is unique to every vehicle and usually found on the lower-left corner of a vehicle's dashboard. A VIN lookup can return information about a vehicle's registration, warranty claims, thefts, and insurance coverage.

Can Civilians Lookup License Plates in Arizona?

Yes. Arizona residents can look up license plates by using online search tools. However, the information available to civilians pales in comparison to the information police officers get from inter-agency databases.

Usually, persons interested in an Arizona license plate lookup use third-party information service providers. However, because these third-party sources are not affiliated with the government, the information obtained from such sources may not be used to assess credit worthiness or perform background checks. Persons who do an Arizona license plate lookup may only use the information obtained to satisfy their personal curiosity.

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

Usually, Arizona police run license plates in traffic stops when there is probable cause. In most cases, this will be because the driver violated a traffic law. Arizona law enforcement typically uses automated license plate readers (ALPRs) to pull information from several databases. A license plate search with ALPRs typically reveal details like:

  • Vehicle information
  • Driver’s information
  • Criminal history
  • Outstanding warrants

The vehicle information includes the physical description of the vehicle and its overall condition, year of manufacture, VIN, license expiration date, and the registered owner’s name. The police will also see information about the driver, including their biodata, social security number, and contact address. The license search may also provide the officer with information like the driver’s criminal history as well as tickets and outstanding warrants on the vehicle, its registered owner, or the driver.

While the public cannot access the databases law enforcement officers use, they may obtain publicly available information through other sources. However, civilian searchers may have to pool information from several sources. Furthermore, sensitive information like the social security number and house address are typically restricted from public view for privacy reasons.

Free License Plate Lookup in Arizona

Aggregate websites that provide license plate lookup services typically charge a fee for the service. However, it may be possible to look up an Arizona plate for free. One way to do this is using search engines to conduct a free license plate lookup. Entering the license plate number directly may provide information already available on the web on that plate. However, there is no guarantee that the search results will be useful.

Alternatively, search for “free license plate search” on the search engine instead. The engine will provide a list of websites that provide license plate lookup for free. Many of these free sites, however, limit the information available for free searches. Usually, the searcher will be able to access basic details like the vehicle description and owner’s name. A searcher would need to pay for the service to obtain additional information.

How to Search for Ticket by License Plate in Arizona

There is no official way to find tickets by license plate through official databases in Arizona. Persons looking for lost or unpaid traffic tickets may contact the court in the municipality where the ticket was issued. Nevertheless, it may be possible to find unpaid tickets by license plate on independent websites.