What To Do If Your License Plate Is Stolen?

If you are the victim of license plate theft, remember to contact the police as soon as possible. Your local police agency will maintain a register of stolen license plates and can assist you in finding stolen license plates. You must also contact your state’s Department of motor vehicles for a temporary license plate so you can drive back fastly. Below are some notices on what to do if your license plate is stolen. Let’s follow along!


If your car number plate is stolen, consider reaching out to the car insurance representative to check if your insurance’s terms cover this plate theft. Car plate theft has become more common than you think, so you should now seriously take some notices below to effectively report your incident to the police and get a new license plate on time.

Why would someone steal your car license plate?

Thieves steal license plates for these reasons

  • Want to conceal the identity of a stolen vehicle and use your license plate to do so.
  • If your license plate with budgetary deals or holds a collective value, thefts will keep their eyes on it and intend to take it from the first place.
  • Avoid traffic jams, run red lights, and speeding fines. The camera will record your stolen license plate and you will get the ticket instead of the culprit.

What To Do If Your License Plate Is Stolen?

If your license plate is stolen, it is important to act immediately.

Report license plate theft to the police

Just seconds after finding out your license plate is missing, report it to the local police division. They will cross-check your license plate on their record and also generate a crash report. If you’re lucky, they might find your stolen plate (but don’t hold your breath).

Remember that reporting stolen license plates is not at your discretion, it is required by law. Police officers will need to know the date and location of the theft and some main information about your car number plate.

Get a police report

If your license plate is stolen, you need to report it to the police as soon as possible. While the process may seem cumbersome, reporting can be used to help prevent identity theft and clear your name if you’ve ever been fined for a traffic violation by someone stealing your number plate. perform.

The report can also be used to assist with an insurance claim if your vehicle has been in an accident or stolen.

Report stolen license plates to your local DMV office (Department of motor vehicles)

Once you’ve filed a police report, you’ll need to visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office to destroy the stolen license plate and obtain a replacement. When your license plate is lost or stolen, you must be able to prove that you are the registered owner of the vehicle before you can receive a replacement plate.

Registering a new license plate can be a time-consuming process. While many offices enable you to obtain the appropriate documents and apply online, the majority still need you to come in person.

Before you go to your local DMV, find out what shipping method your state DMV requires. Some states require you to email your license plate replacement application, while others require you to submit it in person. Please read the instructions carefully to avoid wasting time for you as well as for others.

how to check if a car is stolen by license plate
Report stolen license plates to your local DMV office is a must after the incident. (Photo: Car Buzz)

Find out if documents need notarization

In most cases, you will receive a temporary license plate and tabs while you wait for a new permanent license plate. However, in some cases, you may have to pick up the new plates  in person. Understanding these basic criteria ahead of time will save you a lot of time and trouble when getting a new car number plate.

Call your local DMV or head to your state’s DMV website for further information. You can look up information on the state’s public portals to get the most detailed and accurate instructions.

Get a temporary or new car number plate

In most states, temporary and new plates are issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). In some states, license plates are issued by another agency, such as the Department of Transportation or the Department of Revenue.

Below are some common license plates types for your reference:

  • Standard license plates are for passenger cars, commercial motor vehicles, motorcycles, stationary tractors, passenger cars, and park tractors.
  • Special plates are issued in support of the arts, environmental causes, or various charities.
  • License plate occupation: dealer, dismantling
  • Special car license plates as Purple Heart, Legion of Valor, Gold Star Family, etc.
  • Allotted license plates: power units and rates
  • Legal license plates: Senate, Congress
  • A self-adhesive plate that you place directly on an OHV or other off-road-only vehicle is an off-road vehicle “license plate.”
  • Farm license plates are available in most states and are usually cheaper than standard license plates. Agricultural vehicles have a few distinct alternatives for license plates.
  • If registered in one of the states: Arizona, California, Michigan, and Texas, digital number plates are legal in the United States streets.

Each state has different requirements for issuing temporary license plates (also known as temporary cards), but commonly required documents include:

  • Certificate of Title
  • Temporary card application
  • Proof of car insurance
  • Valid driving license
  • Emissions test or test results, if any
  • Loan or issuance documents, if any

In certain states, you must present numerous kinds of vehicle identification. Usually, one should be a government-issued identification card, and the other can be a vehicle registration, bank statement, or utility bill. The license plate can only be replaced by the vehicle owner, by a member of the owner’s family living at the same address, or by someone the vehicle owner designates through the Appointment Representative form. physical.

The Appointment of Dealer form must be notarized and may be obtained from any motor vehicle office or county tax collection office. The completed form must be submitted to the county tax collector when requesting a license plate or tab replacement.

You can make an appointment for only one meeting at once. If the appointment is canceled, the vehicle owner must file a new application to appoint another agent.

Keep your car license plate safe

Now you’ve got your license plate, it’s important to consider how you’ll keep them secure.

  • Get a lockable and decorative license plate frame. This will protect your disc from scratches or dents, and it will also deter thieves.
  • Use special screws from reputable manufacturers with custom unscrewing tools. These screws are designed to be tamper-proof, so they’ll make it harder for thieves to steal your discs.
  • Install anti-theft self-tapping screws. These screws require a special tool to remove, so they will deter thieves without the right equipment.
what to do if license plate is stolen
Following these tips will help reduce and prevent theft, giving you better license plate protection options. (Photo: Motor1)

Frequently Asked Questions About Stolen License Plates

Can my digital license plate be stolen?

As anything can happen in this chaotic world, your car’s digital license plates can also be robbed. This is a rare occasion and is usually caused by system errors.

Digital license plates transmit wireless signals that can be tracked. It is designed to work with the car’s computer system and to communicate with remotely accessible external sources for vehicle tuning purposes. When illegally removed from the vehicle to which it belongs, the digital license plate will not function as designed.

Digital license plates also help track and recover a stolen vehicle. You can share the location of your stolen vehicle with the police through your app. The number plate will also display the word “STOLEN”, warning others of a crime.

Is stealing license plates a felony?

It depends on the regulations in your state. Stealing a license, for most states’ rules, is a crime with light punishment. That is, the thief will not suffer any heavy punishment after committing the crime. However, license plate theft in Ohio is a felony, punishable by fines of up to $4,500 to $5,000 and up to 5 years in prison for this charge.

What should I do if I lose the number plate?

If your license plate falls out, you need to replace it as soon as possible. If your license plate is lost, you can usually obtain a license plate from your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). In some cases, you can order a replacement online or by mail. You will need to provide ID information, proof of insurance and registration, as well as fees.

For a standard replacement, you can usually get a new number plate right after you submit your application and pay the fee. If you already have a custom order for a specific configuration such as veteran/disabled vehicles, parking lot plates, or recreational license plates, you may have to wait for your number plate to be mailed to you.

Once you receive your new license plate, be sure to securely attach it to your vehicle.

What are the requirements for license reinstatement?

If your driver’s license has been suspended or revoked, you may have to pay a reinstatement fee before it can be reinstated. The amount of the fee will vary depending on the reason for the suspension or withdrawal. In some cases, you may also be required to complete a driving course or take a written test before your license can be reinstated.

If you have multiple suspensions or revocations on your record, you may have to appear before a judge before your license can be reinstated. Depending on the severity of the violation, your reinstatement request may be denied.

license reinstatement
If your driver’s license has been suspended or revoked, you may have to pay a reinstatement fee. (Photo: Asheville Citizen-Times)

Can I drive my car if my license plate has been stolen?

If your license plate has been stolen, you cannot legally drive. This is because the law requires license plates to operate the vehicle on public roads.

If you are pulled over without a license plate, the police may impound your vehicle. To avoid these penalties, it’s important to change your license plate as soon as possible. You can obtain replacement license plates from your local DMV office. Once you have your new license plate, you can register your vehicle and get back on the road.

How to get a new passenger number plate?

The procedure for applying for a brand-new passenger license plate will be different from state to state. However, you still have to follow some general phases of a standard process.

To obtain a license plate on a newly purchased vehicle for the first time, you must make an appointment and bring the following documents to your local Department of Motor Vehicles office:

  • Completed registration forms
  • Evidence of automobile insurance and title costs paid
  • If applicable, proof of paid sales tax
  • The title of the vehicle (if used car)
  • Origin Certificate (if the vehicle is new)
  • Sales invoice and previous registration (if the vehicle has no name)

How much does a license plate cost?

License plate costs may be included in your subscription or billed separately. Some states allow you to transfer license plates from your old car to your new car, while others require a completely new license plate. For more information on license plate costs in your state, you should contact your state Department of Motor Vehicles office.

When do I have to change my license plate?

In most states, license plates still belong to the owner when they sell a used car. The new owner then registers the vehicle in their name and pays the necessary fees. Some states keep the license plate of the car and pass it on to the buyer. For more information, see our state-by-state guide on what to do with your number plates when selling a car.

In the event of damaged, rusted, or illegible license plates, you should replace them online or visit your local DMV licensing office. All it takes is a police report, a copy of your real ID, and a small fee and you’ll be issued with a new license plate in no time.

Generally, replacing license plates is a simple process. However, it varies significantly from one state to another. Check with your local DMV to be sure of the correct procedure for your state.

While the process can vary slightly depending on the make and model of your car, changing the license plate is generally an easy task that anyone can do in just a few minutes.