Colorado License Plate Lookup

License Plate Lookup in Colorado

A Colorado license plate lookup means searching for vehicle information on a dedicated search tool using the vehicle's license plate number. This search returns some essential details about a motor vehicle beyond its make or model. When a person decides to buy a used motor vehicle in Colorado, conducting a license plate lookup can help them uncover valuable information about it. It could reveal the market value of the used vehicle and assist them with negotiations on price offers. More importantly, a Colorado license plate lookup prevents Coloradans from buying stolen vehicles.

Along with Colorado traffic records, license plate lookup reveals the make, model, model year, and VIN of the vehicle being searched. It also shows odometer readings, mileage, theft reports (if any), and the history of inspections and accidents. Additionally, a license plate lookup in Colorado can return information on a vehicle's title and record of recalls and repairs. There are a few options for getting information on vehicles or persons registered to a plate number in Colorado. These include:

  • Talking to law enforcement
  • Using the services of private investigators
  • Filing an official request at the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) of the Colorado Department of Revenue (DOR)

Several online resources provide free license plate lookup for investigating license plates registered in Colorado. While most free license plate lookup services offer easy access to information, the data provided are not always 100% accurate. Paid license plate lookup services usually require membership fees payment, giving subscribers unlimited reports on license plates and other searches. However, data obtained from them are often reliable and up-to-date.

What is a Colorado License Plate?

A license plate is a publicly displayed vehicle tag showing the public that a vehicle is registered in the state listed on it. License plates are a must for all motor vehicles in Colorado. New vehicle owners must register them at any Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office within 60 days. Anyone who owns an out-of-state motor vehicle and recently moved to Colorado must also register such an automobile within their first 90 days in the state. Besides exceptional vehicles, such as trailers and motorcycles, the DMV requires each auto to have two license plates (One each at the front and rear end).

The DMV in Colorado issues license plates to persons, not motor vehicles, and it issues them in various categories. These include:

  1. Regular License Plates - The DMV issues these license plates to anyone regardless of who they are and what they do.
  2. Group Special License Plates - These license plates are issued to a specific group of persons who have a particular task in common or have the same line of work.
  3. Military License Plates - These license plates are issued to persons in military service.
  4. Alumni License Plates - Alumni of certain organizations such as Air Force Academy, Regis University, University of Colorado, and many others qualify for this type of license plate in Colorado.
  5. Print on Demand (POD) License Plates - The POD license plates program developed a strategy where lower issuance plates are mailed to those who need them, eliminating the usual multiple visits to a DMV office. The DMV provides a list of license plates available as POD.

The Division of Motor Vehicles lists other license plate types on the DOR's website. Colorado license plates have a three-letter and a three-number combination. The Colorado Correctional Industries prints all Colorado license plates.

How Do I Get a License Plate in Colorado?

To get a license plate in Colorado, a person must first determine the license plate category that suits them. Interested persons can then download and complete the appropriate application form that fits the purpose for which they want to operate their automobiles.

Once the required application form is completed, an individual must forward it with supporting documentation via mail to:

Colorado Department of Revenue
Division of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 173350
Denver, CO 80217-3350

They can also submit in person at:

Colorado Department of Revenue
Vehicle Services Section
1881 Pierce Street
Lakewood, CO 80214

An applicant must pay the fee advised for their license plate type. Acceptable means of payment include checks, cash, and credit cards. Interested persons can contact the DMV at (303) 205-5600 for further information on how to get a Colorado license plate.

Third-party aggregate sites are a reliable alternative for obtaining license plate information. These sites are maintained by independent establishments which collate the information from government-run repositories. Obtaining records from these sites often proves substantially easier than government alternatives. However, requestors may be required to provide any information required to facilitate the record search and pay any required fees to access the record of interest.

Passenger License Plates vs Commercial License Plates

A passenger license plate is tagged on motor vehicles that primarily give rides to passengers. On the other hand, a commercial license plate is used by automobiles meant for business purposes or any vehicle classified as a commercial vehicle. In Colorado, passenger license plates are available for passenger cars, buses, hearses, passenger vans, motor homes, and sport utility vehicles. Per Colorado law, commercial license plates are available for self-propelled vehicles weighing at least 16,001 pounds designed to transport 16 or more passengers. They are also meant for automobiles used for commercial transportation of other motor vehicles. Generally, any motor vehicle with signage or lettering inscriptions will need a commercial plate. Also, a vehicle that exceeds personal gross weight limits requires a commercial license plate.

The following are required to obtain either a passenger license plate or a commercial license plate in Colorado:

  • Proof of vehicle ownership or current out-of-state registration
  • Proof of passing Colorado vehicle emissions (if applicable)
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • Proof of insurance - The DMV accepts the forms of insurance evidence listed below:
    • A verifiable letter from the insurer
    • Insurer-issued computer printout
    • Colorado insurance card
    • Insurer-provided web-based services (if available)
    • Copy of Colorado insurance policy
    • E-mail from the insurer
    • Facsimile of insurance proof

The acceptable insurance policies for obtaining a license plate in Colorado include:

  • Vehicle specific policy, which identifies a vehicle by make, year, VIN, and stipulates terms of coverage
  • Commercial policy, which recognizes a commercial entity and covers a fleet of motor vehicles and drivers
  • Self-insurance policy, which is issued to the owner of 25 or more automobiles by the Colorado Commissioner of Insurance
  • Owner/Operator broad form policy, which covers all vehicles owned by a person or business
  • Blanket/Operator policy, which covers an insured driver for any motor vehicle they operate

How Can I Find the Owner of a License Plate in Colorado?

Anyone pondering how to check the owner of a vehicle in Colorado can do so using any tool that offers license plate lookup services. Searching such tools returns information on the persons or vehicles linked to license plates registered in the state. Generally, the DMV will not disclose personal information obtained by the Division in connection with a motor vehicle to a person other than the vehicle owner in line with Colorado State law. Anyone intending to access a record other than their own must declare the intended use of such information by completing the DR 2489A (Motor Vehicle Requestor Release Affidavit of Intended Use).

A person can use the information obtained from a license plate lookup service to identify and find the license plate owner by checking public records in databases. One of such databases is a publicly available phone number lookup database. An interested person can also search the records of the DMV online using the Vehicle Record Search or submitting the DR 2489A to the DMV office in person or via mail at/to:

Colorado Department of Revenue
Vehicle Services Section
1881 Pierce Street
P.O. Box 173350
Lakewood, CO 80217-3350

To use any of the DMV's available resources, requesters must pay a $2.20 fee per search/history, payable to the Colorado Department of Revenue. Obtaining certified records cost an additional $0.5.

Colorado License Plate Renewal

The Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) of the Colorado Department of Revenue (DOR) is responsible for license plate renewals in Colorado. A vehicle owner whose registration has expired can either apply for renewal online (if applicable in their county of residence) or at any DMV office near them. In Colorado, every vehicle registration (license plate) expires on the last day of the month at the end of each 12-month registration period, after which the owner must renew it. Before beginning a license plate renewal process in Colorado, a vehicle owner must have the following handy:

  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • A valid email address
  • The license plate number of the vehicle whose registration is being renewed
  • Valid insurance information for the vehicle
  • The vehicle's current emission test data

A vehicle owner whose license plate has expired must apply for renewal within one month of expiration; otherwise, late fees will apply. It takes up to 15 business days for a vehicle owner to receive the renewal documents of their license plate. For information on costs associated with license plates renewal in Colorado, contact the DMV at (303) 205-5600

Can You Look Up License Plates with VIN?

Yes. Typically, motor vehicles are identified through VIN and license plate numbers. In Colorado, the DMV assigns a license plate number to a motor vehicle after it has been registered, and all registration documents carry the VIN of such a vehicle. Interested persons can obtain vehicle registration information in Colorado from the state's public vehicle records.

VIN Number Lookup

VIN is short for a Vehicle Identification Number, the specific identifying code for an automobile. It comes as either 11 or 17 alpha-numeric characters. VIN lookup, like license plate lookup, reveals a lot of information about a vehicle. Anyone can conduct a VIN check using any available free VIN lookup tools online.

A VIN is usually printed on a sticker placed on the driver's side door or stamped on the engine. Sometimes, it is written on a sticker in the trunk near the space for a spare tire. It can also be found by checking the corner on the driver's side dashboard where the dashboard meets the windshield. A VIN lookup will reveal if a vehicle has been salvaged, reported as stolen or lost, or declared a total loss following an accident.