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Looking for information on a car registered in Georgia? Wondering who owns that car?

Did you note the license plate number for the guy who just ran a red light? Or the woman that just sideswiped you downtown? Good! Because all you need is a license plate number to run a Georgia license plate lookup.

No matter your reason for looking up a license plate in the Peach State, keep reading because we will fill you in on:

  • Different ways to look up a Georgia license plate
  • Georgia license plate characteristics
  • Important laws
  • Different license plate options and associated costs

how to search for a license plate in georgia

3 Ways to Search for a License Plate Owner in Georgia (GA)

Broadly there are three different ways to search Georgia license plates. Each method provides varying detail about the car and the person(s) associated with the vehicle.

1) Fill out Form MV-20 from the Georgia Motor Vehicles Division (MVD)

The Georgia Motor Vehicles Division (commonly the Department of Motor Vehicles, or DMV, in other states) is the best place to start for license plate research.

Truthfully, the Georgia Department of Revenue website is a nightmare to wade through. Lucky for you, here are the exact steps needed:

First, you need to navigate to the Motor Vehicles fees, fines, and penalties page.

Scroll down until you see “License Plate/Title/Lien Vehicle Information Printout”.

Clicking that link will take you to a landing page for the MV-20 Georgia Motor Vehicle data request form. Filling out the MV-20 form is the first step to requesting information for cars titled/registered in Georgia.

The form is a PDF that you must fill out and mail to the DOR/Motor Vehicles Division. Yes, you read that right: snail-mail is the only way to submit form MV-20 in the state of Georgia. Seriously, in this day and age?!

Here is the information you can request, with the cost for each:

  • Tag/Title/Lien Vehicle Information Printout: $1
  • General Salvage Vehicle Information Printout: $1
  • Title History: $5
  • Letter of Verification: $5
  • Certification of Tag/Title/Lien: $14
  • Salvage Letter/Certification: $14

You’re only interested in the $1 tag/title printout for a Georgia license plate lookup. MV-20, nor the preceding web page discloses the information you will receive, but we know that basic vehicle data only will be provided. No Personally Identifiable Info (PII) will be provided to you due to the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (DPPA).

If it’s PII you’re after, consider hiring a private investigator.

2) Hire a Private Investigator

According to the United States Code/Title 18/Chapter 123/Section 2721, there are certain situations where a licensed private investigative agency or a licensed security service can obtain PII from a Georgia license plate. These certain situations are known as “permissible reasons” in legalese.

Here are the most commonly used permissible reasons to satisfy DPPA:

  • Use in any arbitral, civil, administrative, or criminal court proceeding.
  • Use in insurance investigations.
  • Use by government agencies (because the government has absolute control).
  • For any reason specifically permitted by Georgia law.

If you have a permissible reason, consider hiring a private investigator to perform a Georgia license plate lookup for you.

3) Third-Party Lookup Websites

Third-party websites, like LookUpAPlate.com, can help you do a Georgia license plate lookup. While there are several such services, we believe we offer the most amount of free data and an easy-to-use interface.

LookUpAPlate is a nationwide license plate lookup service that is not limited only to Georgia. Our free search fetches the basic vehicle data and allows you to view any community-reported incidents against the plate. 

Additionally you can:

  • Get vehicle details based on the license plate number.
  • Report aggressive drivers using their plate #.
  • Check if anyone has reported you.
  • Vehicle owner information (if you have a DPPA-compliant reason)
  • Plus more!

How to Identify a Georgia License Plate

Georgia license plates are easy to spot. As you will read below, many GA license plate styles exist, so we’ll focus on the standard plate here. The standard plate is for every passenger motor vehicle that is not used for hire.

Here are the characteristics of a standard Georgia license plate:

  • The words “Peach State” appear in an italicized font in the upper left corner.
  • The word “Georgia” is written in bold, black font in the upper right corner.
  • The license plate number is the largest and most visible item and occurs in this format: ABC1234
  • The registrant’s county name is centered along the bottom of the plate.
  • A peach tree image appears on the left-hand side of the plate and a close-up of a peach appears on the bottom right side of the plate.

Georgia License Plate Laws

Here are the most notable license plate laws in Georgia:

  • It is a criminal offense to tamper with a license plate identification or decal.
  • It is a criminal offense to knowingly operate a vehicle with tampered license plate identification or decals.
  • Don’t move license plates from one vehicle to another unless you are legally transferring them because that is against the law.
  • Make sure your license plate isn’t hanging by a thread - it should be firmly attached to the rear of your vehicle only.

Check all Georgia license plate laws here.

Georgia License Plate Cost

Registering or renewing a license plate in Georgia will cost you $20. That amount seems to be in-line, or a bit cheaper than other states. The same registration fee in New York, for example, costs $25.

If you’re anything like me, you rip at least one of your license plate registration decals. You will spend $8 to get a replacement decal. It will be another $8 to replace your license plate if you lose it, or it’s stolen (you have bigger problems on your hands if stolen!).

Check all Georgia license plate costs here.

Type of License Plates Available in Georgia

Georgia, like most states, offers many license plates to choose from. I won’t cover all of them, but here are 16 different Georgia license plate categories:

  1. Alternative Fuel
  2. Georgia Colleges and State Universities
  3. Military Veteran
  4. Military Veteran - Air Force
  5. Military Veteran - Army
  6. Military Veteran - Coast Guard
  7. Military Veteran - Marine
  8. Military Veteran - Motorcycle
  9. Military Veteran - Navy
  10. Motorcycle
  11. National Guard and US Reserve
  12. Other
  13. Special Interest - Apply thru County Tag Office - Issuing
  14. Special Interest - Apply thru Sponsor - Issuing
  15. Standard
  16. US Army Ranger
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For more license plates in Georgia click here.