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Ohio License Plate Search: License Plate Lookup in Ohio

Ohio License Plate Search: License Plate Lookup in Ohio
November 23, 2022

Purchasing second-hand vehicles is considered cost-effective by most vehicle users. 


However, there are many potential risks that may be too costly to handle, especially if the vehicle has a history of damages caused by accidents. 

Additionally, many vehicles are sold with copied Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) extracted from other vehicles with similar specifications. 


It, therefore, becomes crucial for potential car owners to conduct vehicle registration searches or license plate lookups. 

A license plate lookup will reveal details about the vehicle's past, including its title records, ownership history, odometer and mileage readings, criminal records, salvage records, and lien records. 

License plate lookup will also prevent you from purchasing vehicles with contestable ownership history. 


Buying a car without these blemishes will help you save money that would otherwise be spent on heavy maintenance, repairs, and other likely challenges that come with pre-owned vehicles. 

You will also be able to protect yourself against exploitation by unscrupulous sellers or dealers who sell vehicles with a questionable history or copied VINs.

an illustration of a car with a form next to it

Ohio License Plate State Legislation

The state of Ohio mandates its residents to utilize Ohio license plates on every public highway and street in the state. 


This is in line with House Bill 62, which provides that every registered vehicle in Ohio must display a license plate. 

The specific area for license plate placement has been a contentious issue in the state. 


While Ohio laws require vehicle owners to display license plates on both the rear and front sides of the vehicle (motorcycles and mopeds are not included), many residents of Ohio dislike the front-plate rule and have consistently protested against it. 

The state argues that front plates help prevent accidents, but most residents prefer their license plates remained unnoticed. 


Presently, the Ohio state government makes the display of front plates optional, and where the vehicle has a unique license plate in front, it must also display the same plate on the rear. 

The Ohio Bureau (BMV) is responsible for issuing license plates to vehicles after registration. 


The BMV issues various categories of license plates, including specialized interest plates and standard plates. 

Special interest license plates are produced upon customer application and may include a logo celebrating a special interest group. 


Ohio license plates are produced by inmates at the Lebanon Correctional Institution. 

The state's license plates were originally made from galvanized steel; however, since 2015, the state's license plates have been manufactured from aluminum. 


On 21st October 2021, Governor Mark DeWine introduced a new plate design bearing "Sunshine in Ohio." 


The plates replaced the "Ohio Pride" design introduced in April 2013 and were made available to motorists on 29th December 2021. 

There are various regulations guiding the operation of vehicles with license plates in Ohio. 


For instance, driving a vehicle with a counterfeit, copied VIN, or fake license plate number is an offense. According to Ohio license plate regulations:

* No object or material should obstruct or cover license plates
* The validation stickers on the vehicle's rear side must be visible at all times
* License plates must not be bent or warped. It must be legible at all times

Not abiding by these regulations amounts to infractions, punishable by Ohio law enforcement agencies.

a blank license plate on a car

How to Perform a License Plate Lookup in Ohio

Persons interested in discovering valuable details about a vehicle can do so via license plate lookup. Ohio license plate lookup can be conducted using a license plate lookup tool. 


The details recovered from the exercise can be used to find the vehicle owner and their ownership history. 

The Ohio BMV collects these details about the vehicle and its owners during the registration process. 


Below are some of the methods you can use in running a license plate lookup in Ohio:

Through the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV)

The Ohio BMV is the central authority that issues license plates in the state. Here is how to conduct a license plate lookup on the site:

1. Navigate to the official website of the Ohio BMV
2. Click on "online services"
3. Open a myBVM account to access the services
4. Click on "check availability of plates"
5. Enter the vehicle's license plate number or image
6. Click on "view results"

a road sign that reads DMV with an illustration of a car under it

You can also visit any of the local offices of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to perform a license plate lookup. 


You be required to complete an Ohio vehicle record request form and forward it to the bureau via mail. 


After processing your request, the BVM will forward a response to you through the mail. You can contact them at: 

Ohio State Bureau of Motor Vehicles,
1970 West Broad Street,
P.O. Box 16520,
Columbus, OH 43216-6520,
Phone: (844) 644-6268

Through Third-Party Websites

Various online brokers offer detailed compilations of driver's details and license plate numbers. 


These sites provide data obtained from multiple sources, including National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS), National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). 


You can perform a license plate search on these sites for free or at a limited cost. 

Hiring Private Investigators

You can also hire the services of private investigators in Ohio involved in security services. This is a relatively easy route, and they offer verifiable information you can trust. 


Ohioans looking to purchase pre-owned vehicles can now conduct a license plate lookup using any of the procedures listed above. 


This will save you any unforeseen challenges that might impact your car ownership.

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