How to Find Out If License Plates Are Suspended

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States may suspend license plates for a number of reasons, including failure to register the vehicle or letting insurance coverage on the car lapse. Driving a vehicle with suspended license plates may result in a ticket, fine, impoundment of the vehicle or arrest. Keep in mind that license plate issues are a matter of state law, so the exact criteria for suspending plates, penalties and the process for verifying the validity of license plates varies based on where you live.

  • Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles. The DMV in the state where the car is registered will be able to verify whether your license plates have been suspended. You will need to provide the agency with your license plate number, name, address and date of birth. You may also be asked to present your driver's license and vehicle registration.

  • Talk to the police department. The police in your jurisdiction may also verify whether your license plates have been suspended. As with the Department of Motor Vehicles, the police may ask you to present proof of identity and ownership of the vehicle.

  • Remedy the situation. If your insurance lapsed or if you were late registering your vehicle, obtain documentation that the issues leading to the license-plate suspension have been resolved at the time you make your request to the DMV or the police department. If they find a suspension on your record and you are unable to show that the issue has been rectified, you may face legal consequences.

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