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Oregon License Plate Search: License Plate Lookup in Oregon

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

Having an Oregon license plate on your vehicle implies that you have the authorization to drive the vehicle on the state’s highways and streets. 


A license plate plays a crucial role in tracking and identifying a vehicle to its owner. 

Aside from this, a license plate contains valuable information about a vehicle’s history, which can be obtained using a search tool. 


This helps potential buyers in making informed decisions about their potential vehicle. It is important to conduct a license plate lookup to access such details. 

Overview of Oregon License Plates

The State of Oregon first required automobiles to display license plates in 1905; however, vehicle owners had to source their license plates for only the rear side of the vehicle. 


In 1911, the state reversed this practice and started issuing license plates to vehicle owners, which are today displayed on both the front and rear sides of the vehicle. 

This provision does not apply to the following categories of vehicles:

* Special interests
* Mopeds
* Motorcycles
* Antiques
* Trailers
* Campers 

These vehicles are only required to display one license plate on the rear side. 


This practice is provided under Section 803. 540 of the state’s Revised Statutes. The serial format for Oregon license plates is “123 ABC.” 

a man's hand holding car keys

Section 803.525 of the state’s Revised Statutes establishes the Driver and Motor Vehicle Services of the Oregon Department of Transportation as the central authority responsible for issuing license plates to every registered and titled vehicle in the state. 


The agency is also responsible for vehicle registration, issuing vehicle titles and driver’s licenses, and license plate replacement and renewal. 

Furthermore, Oregon license plates must be renewed every two years. Suppose your registration has expired; you can still renew it without paying any late charge. New cars are issued a four-year registration window. 

This means that if you purchase a new vehicle in Oregon, you need to register it again after four years. 


The Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicle Services send renewal notices to the address used for registration, informing you when it is time to renew.

Types of Oregon License Plates

Every resident of Oregon must have a license plate attached to their vehicle. There are different types of license plates issued to different categories of persons and vehicles; they include:

* Bus license plates: These plates are issued to buses used in commercial activities.
* Custom or personalized license plates: These plates are available to Oregonians who wish to personalize their plates. 
* Ex-pow license plates: These plates are given to persons who were past prisoners of war.
* Antique license plates: This class of plates is issued to automobiles older than 25 years. 
* Dealer license plates: These plates are issued to automobile dealers with original business licenses. 
* Heavy trailer license plates
* Governor license plates
* Disabled veteran license plates
* Gold star family license plates
* Farm license plates
* Low-speed vehicle license plates
* Heavy fixed-load license plates
* Government-exempt license plates
* Medium-speed vehicle license plates
* For-rent license plates
* Motorhome license plates
* Secretary of state license plates
* Passenger license plates 
* National guard license plates
* Speaker of the House license plates
* Transporter license plates

a license plate that reads new

Difference Between Commercial License Plates and Passenger License Plates

One common misconception people have is that commercial license plates and passenger license plates are similar. 


This is usually noticeable during the application for license plates at the Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicle Services. 

However, the agency distinguishes both types of plates and provides that commercial license plates are attached to automobiles used for business activities. 


Section 801.210 of the state’s Revised Statutes defines commercial automobiles as:

* Vehicles used mainly for carrying properties
* Vehicles used in conveying persons in return for monetary compensation

On the other hand, passenger license plates are issued to various classes of vehicles, such as pick-up trucks, SUVs, vans, and cars that transport people for non-commercial purposes. 


The procedures for obtaining both plate types are different. 

To get a passenger license plate, vehicle owners must abide by the guide provided by the Driver and Motor Vehicle Services and pay the necessary fees. 


To receive a commercial license plate, vehicle owners must fill out the Oregon commercial registration application form. 


The completed form and accompanying charges must be delivered to the Commerce and Compliance Division of the state’s Department of Transportation. 

How to Conduct License Plate Lookup in Oregon

To perform a license plate lookup in Oregon, interested persons can utilize the online services offered by Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicle Services. 


You will be required to provide details, such as your full name and the vehicle’s license plate number. 

The agency, however, does not provide the personal information of vehicle owners, such as their full name, telephone number, and address. Below is the fee schedule of the Driver and Motor Vehicle Services:

Vehicle Records Fees

* Vehicle record print: $4 and $2.50 if the records are unavailable
* Vehicle record information (via online or phone): $2.50 for details provided by phone and $.35 for details provided or viewed online. The agency will charge $.10 when records are unavailable. The service is only available to DMV account holders.
* Odometer history: $25, even if the records cannot be located.
* Past ownership history: $14
* Insurance history search: $10, even if the records are unavailable.
* Vehicle title history: $22.50
* Certification of any document: $1

a sign on the building that reads DMV

Driver’s Records Fees

* Driver license information: $1.50 for phone inquiries and $.25 for online services
* Certified court print: $3
* Suspension Package: $11.50 and $1.50 if the records are unavailable
* Purged information: $1.50
* Police traffic crash report: $8.50
* Oregon traffic accident and insurance details: $12.50, even if records are unavailable

Finally, interested parties can utilize third-party sites offering vehicle lookup services. 


These platforms collate data from government-based repositories. Retrieving details is relatively easier through such platforms compared with government agencies, such as the Oregon DMV. 


They, however, offer limited information, which may need to be corrected in some cases.


Purchasing a vehicle is a capital-intensive exercise that requires adequate research and preparation. 


Before buying a pre-owned vehicle in Oregon, it is recommended that you conduct a license plate lookup using any of the techniques outlined above.

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