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Rhode Island License Plate Search: License Plate Lookup in Rhode Island

Rhode Island License Plate Search: License Plate Lookup in Rhode Island
November 22, 2022

The State of Rhode Island is located in the New England area of the United States. 


The name is derived from Rhode Island, although most of the state is located on the mainland. Rhode Island is the smallest state by land area in the United States. 

Rhode Island laws require every resident to register and obtain license plates to drive on its roads. With over 400,000 registered vehicles, Rhode Islanders can select from a vast array of pre-owned vehicles when shopping for automobiles. 

However, before rushing to buy that shiny second-hand vehicle, it is important to carry out a license plate lookup. 


It only lasts a few minutes, but it would provide you with invaluable insights into the vehicle's past, saving you from unforeseen challenges and costs. 

Outlined below is a comprehensive guide on performing a license plate lookup in Rhode Island.

Administration of Rhode Island License Plates

Rhode Island license plates refer to plastic or metallic plates containing unique alphanumeric characters assigned by the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles. 


According to the provisions of Title 31 Section 3(2) of the state's General Laws, every automobile must have license plates, including pickup coaches, trailers, pickup campers, and motorized campers. 

a blank license plate on a car

The state was one of the first states in the U.S to mandate license plates on vehicles, starting in the year 1904. Back then, license plates were only mandated to be fastened to the rear of vehicles. 

Today, the state requires two license plates attached to the vehicle's front and rear sides. 


However, motorcycles, transporters, trailers, in-transit vehicles, vehicles owned by dealers, and commercially-operated bailees may have one license fastened to the rear side. 

The Division of Motor Vehicles is responsible for issuing various classes of license plates, including the following:

* Specialty license plates: These license plates are issued to persons who wish to select their license plate characters. Common types of plates under this class include:

- Antique license plates
- Combination license plates
- Passenger license plates
- Suburban license plates
- Commercial license plates
- Public license plates
- National guard license plates

* Sailboat design license plates: These plates contain the alternate Rhode Island design featuring a gray sailboat beside a white background.

* Veteran license plates: These plates are issued to individuals formerly in the United States Military; examples include:

- Purple Heart license plates
- Disabled veteran license plates
- Veteran gold star parent license plates
- Prisoner of War (POW) plates

* Charity license plates: Members of specific charity organizations are issued with these plates. Common examples of such organizations include:

- Wildlife rehabilitators' license plates
- Red Sox foundation license plates
- Conservation through education plates
- Plum beach lighthouse license plates
- Rhode Island community food bank plates
- Gloria Gemma breast cancer resource foundation plates
- Bristol Fourth of July plates
- New England patriots license plates
- Boy scouts of America license plates
- Autism awareness license plates

* Firefighter license plates
* Wave plate design license plates
* Electric hybrid license plates
* Amateur radio license plates

a sign on the building that reads DMV

How to Conduct a License Plate Lookup in Rhode Island

Rhode Islanders who wish to perform a license plate lookup can start by visiting the state's Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). 


The agency maintains a publicly available database of all license plates in the state. Follow the steps below to conduct a license plate search on the site:

1. Navigate to the official website of the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles
2. Click on "Online Services"
3. Under the online services section, click on either "Check my License Plate Status," or "Licensed Driver Records"
4. You will be asked questions concerning your date of birth, last name, present zip code, and driver's license number
5. Type in the above details and click on continue

You will be provided matching results, including videos and images submitted by the community. 


The Rhode Island DMV charges $20.50 for driving records, and payments can be made using Discover, Mastercard, or Visa. 

The state, however, restricts access to drivers' personal details, including their social security number and address. You can also visit the agency for further inquiries at the following address:

Division of Motor vehicles,
600 New London Avenue,
Cranston, RI 02920-3024,
Phone: (401) 462-4368

a license plate that reads new

Finally, there are also different aggregate websites offering reliable services for retrieving license plate details. 


These platforms are managed by independent agencies that collect data from government-based repositories, such as car insurance agencies. 

Retrieving records from these platforms is typically easier than from government-based sites. Below are examples of such third-party platforms:

* VINPit
* FaxVIN


Rhode Island license plate lookup provides relevant data about a particular car. 


This helps you identify shady car deals that may be detrimental to you in the long run. Therefore, are you looking to purchase a car worth your money? 


Then the above guidelines on how to conduct a license plate lookup in Rhode Island are just for you.

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