There are many reasons why you want to do a license plate lookup in Massachusetts. Maybe you're considering buying a used car, and want to verify the vehicle history. Or, perhaps, you're the owner of a towing company and need to find the owner of an abandoned or impounded vehicle.
A license plate lookup can help uncover vital information about the vehicle, including title records, lien records and more. But the thing is, running a plate search isn't as straightforward as it may seem. Due to privacy reasons, there are restrictions on who can access the data and what data can be shared.
In this guide, we'll discuss your options, what data you can expect and associated costs.
Before looking up a license plate number, it is important to ensure that the license plate is from Massachusetts and not out-of-state.
The bay state has a rather simple vehicle license plate. The license plate has a white background with the registration number embossed in light blue color. At the top of the license plate, the state name 'MASSACHUSETTS' screen is printed in red color and at the bottom, 'THE SPIRIT OF AMERICA' is printed. The validation sticker is placed on the top right and left corners of the plate. The license plate is made of aluminum, reflective and is of standard size (12" x 6").
The license plate registration number is 6 characters long and a combination of unique numbers and letters.
Typical MA license plate formats: 123 A45, 120 WZZ, 123 4AA, 12A A34, 1AA 234, 123 AA4
1) Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV)
The official way to search for a license plate in Massachusetts is through the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) operated by the state's Department of Transportation. The RMV is responsible for maintaining all vehicle registration records in the state.
To search for a plate, you need to fill up this form and mail it to the following address:
Attn: Mail Listings (for all other requests)
Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 55889 Boston, MA 02205-5889
The cost for each record is $20.
You must have a legitimate reason to obtain information from the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV). Massachusetts follows the federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) when it comes to releasing personal information. The records can only be released to government agencies, law enforcement, insurers, owners/ lessees of the vehicle, tow companies and businesses with permissible use.
2) Public records search
Certain public records services allow you to search license plates, but there is no guarantee you'll get the information you seek. These services usually have access to private databases and public sources and give out a more comprehensive report. The report usually is more inclined towards technical vehicle data like history, maintenance records, sales records and more.
Lastly, you can search for the license plate on our website for free. You can view basic vehicle details, read any comments left against the plate and share your own if you've something to report.
Massachusetts offers a variety of license plate options to choose from.
Normal passenger plates: Standard default plates with white and blue lettering or white and green lettering are issued to all passenger vehicles that don't opt for specialty plates.
Vanity plates: You can personalize your license plate registration with up to 7 characters as long as it is not indecent and meets the requirement set forth by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. One can opt for a vanity number for both normal and specialty plates.
Specialty plates: If you want to show your profession, support a cause or represent your alma mater, you can choose from over 80 different specialty license plate designs.
Jason Arthur is a data junkie, writer, veteran amateur racecar driver and motorsport photographer. He is the co-founder of LookupaPlate, a collaborative platform to report bad drivers plying on American roads. He is also building a blockchain-based vehicle data marketplace (in stealth mode) and is an adviser to several startups.
Jason has been tracking the automotive industry since the 1990s and has a disturbingly deep obsession with the automotive world, and loves to explore whatever roads he can find. From high-speed racing on the circuit to off-road exploration, Jason has an insatiable appetite for adventure. Jason has written for numerous publications, including Autocar Magazine, Motorsport Magazine, and Road & Track.