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Hawaii License Plate Lookup

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License Plate Lookup in Hawaii

Hawaii license plate lookup is the procedure involved in getting information on a vehicle using a license plate lookup service in Hawaii. Performing a license plate lookup is necessary when purchasing a used car in Hawaii in order to get vital information on the vehicle and its owner. Residents can visit their Local Motor Vehicle Licensing Office in Hawaii to conduct their license plate lookups. An alternative is to use license plate lookup tools and type in the license plate number and state as search entries. There are several paid and free license plate lookup tools online that individuals can use in Hawaii. Counties in Hawaii have Local Motor Vehicle Licensing Offices that handle vehicle registration and license plate issuance and renewal. The state requires that an applicant for a license plate has a valid Hawaii driver's license and is a resident of the county where the license plate will be issued.

The major difference between free and paid license plate lookup services in Hawaii is that a paid license plate lookup service provides more detailed information about a vehicle and its owner. However, a free license plate lookup service only provides limited information. When an individual conducts a license plate lookup, they may obtain selected Hawaii traffic record information as well as:

  • Title Information
  • Market value
  • Driver criminal history
  • Accident history
  • Repossession history
  • Equipment details
  • Inspection checklist
  • Vehicle registration details
  • Vehicle information and description
  • Mileage and odometer readings
  • Weather/natural damage
  • Maintenance history

What is a Hawaii License Plate?

A Hawaii license plate is a rectangular sign attached to the front and rear of a vehicle under Section 249-7(b) of the Hawaii Revised Statutes. A Hawaii license plate displays an alphanumeric code, Aloha State (the state's slogan), and the state's name, all in black lettering. It is also characterized by a rainbow symbol on a white background, although special license plates may have varying features. There is no statewide database for vehicle titles and registration in Hawaii; each county has its regulations. A license plate is issued after a vehicle has been registered. License plates in Hawaii are largely divided into:

  • Standard passenger plates.
  • Non-passenger plates, used on vehicles such as trucks, trailers, motorcycles, motorcycle-disabled.
  • Specialty plates, such as electric vehicles, gold star, disables, etc.
  • MIlitary plates, such as Veteran, World War II Veteran, Service veterans. etc.

How Do I Get a License Plate in Hawaii?

Hawaii residents who purchase new vehicles are required to apply to get license plates at their Local Motor Vehicle Licensing Office in the state within 30 days of the purchase. Individual counties in Hawaii manage the issuance and renewal of license plates under their jurisdiction. Each of the counties has specific procedures.

Generally, the documents you must provide when applying for a license plate in any county in Hawaii include:

  • Proof of residency. You need to provide any two different documents showing your full name (first and last) among the following:

    • Valid Driver's License
    • Current vehicle registration or title
    • Utility bill under two months old
    • Rental agreement (six months or more)
    • Mortgage
    • Paystub
    • Financial Statement (less than two months old)
  • Certificate of Title (if no lienholder is listed on your out-of-state registration, only in Maui County)

  • Proof of insurance.

  • Completed application form. Depending on the method of registration that is acceptable in your county, you may be able to find this form online or at your county's licensing office.

  • Hawaii safety inspection certificate.

  • Shipping receipt (bill of lading), showing the date you picked up the vehicle from the port.

  • Motor Vehicle Use Tax Certification (if the vehicle's model year is from the present, previous, or subsequent year).

  • Proof of no-fault vehicle insurance.

  • Proof of the vehicle's weight.

To register your vehicle and get a license plate, submit the documents above and required fees at your county's Local Motor Vehicle Licensing Office using any of the following contact information:

City & County of Honolulu
Department of Customer Services
Division of Motor Vehicles and Licensing
P.O. Box 30320
Honolulu, Hawaii 96820-0320
Phone: (808) 768-4325

County of Hawaii
Vehicle Registration and Licensing Division
101 Pauahi Street, Suite 5
Hilo, HI 96720
Phone: (808) 961-8223
TDD: (808) 961-8521
County of Hawaii Standard Office Hours: 7:45 am 4:30 pm

County of Maui
Motor Vehicle & Licensing
70 East Kaahumanu Avenue
Maui Mall, Suite A-17
Kahului, HI 96732
Information Desk located is located at the 2nd-floor lobby

County of Kauai
Department of Finance
Treasury Division (MVR)
4444 Rice Street, Suite 466
Lihue, HI 96766-1340
Phone: (808) 241-4256
Fax: (808) 241-6574
County of Kauai Standard Office Hours: Monday to Friday (except holidays) 8:00 am - 4:00 pm.

The fee for license plate registration or renewal in Hawaii is determined by each county and may also be influenced by the type of weight of the vehicle.

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

In Hawaii, passenger license plates refer to license plates attached to passenger vehicles that are not used for commercial purposes or owned by a commercial entity. Conversely, commercial license plates are affixed to commercial vehicles like taxis, commercial trailers, farm labor transport, etc. There is no significant difference between commercial license plates and passenger vehicle license plates in Hawaii, except that in some cases, the alphanumeric code combination of commercial license plates differs from that of passenger license plates. Similar requirements apply for both commercial license plate registrations and passenger license plate registrations, but the fees differ, depending on the weight of the vehicles. During both registrations, applicants must provide their valid Hawaii driver's licenses or ID cards, proof of ownership, proof of insurance, and completed application forms. Application forms can be obtained from the Local Motor Vehicle Licensing Office.

How Can I Find the Owner of a License Plate in Hawaii

You can find a license plate owner in Hawaii by using a license plate lookup tool. Paid or some free license plate lookup services provide the basic information needed to find a license plate owner. The information derived from a license plate lookup can be used to complete the search through a phone number lookup or by searching through the records of a Local Motor Vehicle Licensing Office in Hawaii. For most license plate lookup tools in Hawaii, users will need to provide the license plate number and state on the license plate to facilitate the search.

Hawaii License Plate Renewal

In Hawaii, license plate renewal is done during vehicle registration renewal and must be done upon the receipt of a renewal notice. There are multiple options for license plate renewal in Hawaii, including Kiosks, Online, and by mail or in person at a Local Motor Vehicle Licensing Office in Hawaii.

License plate renewal in Hawaii can be done at the Hawaii DMV Now Kiosks. Kiosks locations in Hawaii's four counties are listed on the Hawaii DMV Now website. This service instantly renews a vehicle's registration in a three-step process. An individual can renew their license plate at a DMV Now Kiosk within 45 days of the expiration date and up to 10 months after the expiration date. Late renewal will attract a $16 late fee. Follow this procedure to renew your license plate at the Kiosk:

  1. Scan your registration renewal notice (or manual entry).
  2. Pay with your credit or debit card.
  3. Print the registration and emblem.

Another option is to renew your registration online, provided your address is correct, and you do not need any supplemental forms such as a safety inspection certificate, location certificate, CS-L (MVR) 50 or 50A, etc. Payment for online renewals is made by credit and debit card only (you can use a MasterCard or VISA card). To register, use the Hawaii Online Motor Vehicle Registration Renewal, choose your county, and follow the guidelines provided.

You can also renew your registration by mail or in person at a Local Motor Vehicle Licensing Office in Hawaii. You can make inquiries by contacting the office to know what options are available and whether appointments are required in your county.

Can You Look Up License Plates with VIN?

Anyone can look up a license plate, provided they know the vehicle's identification number. In Hawaii, a license plate number is linked to its VIN in public vehicle records. Therefore, anyone can look up a license plate number with a VIN lookup tool that performs such a function.

Hawaii VIN Number Lookup

A vehicle identification number, known as VIN, is a unique serial number assigned to a vehicle when it is manufactured. A search conducted by an individual using a VIN lookup tool to get basic information on a vehicle is known as a VIN lookup. A Hawaii VIN lookup may provide information on market value, accident history, sale history, ownership history, and rated value. Persons seeking to conduct a VIN lookup could use the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS). The NMVTIS provides title information from states across the United States. An individual can find the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of a vehicle on the windshield on the driver-side dashboard. The VIN may also be printed on a sticker on the driver's side door or door jamb. To find a motorcycle's VIN, check the frame close to the motor or the steering neck below the handlebars.

Can Civilians Lookup License Plates in Hawaii?

Yes, civilians can look up license plates in Hawaii through relevant government agencies and free or paid third-party websites online. However, the type of information that is accessible to civilians through license plate lookup in Hawaii is subject to state (HRS §286-245) and federal (18 USC, Section 2721) DPPA laws.

Under these DPPA laws, certain types of information contained in Hawaii motor vehicle records are considered privileged information. As a result, such information is only released to eligible persons, entities, or for permissible uses outlined in these DPPA laws. Examples of this privileged information include personal information, such as an individual’s name, address, photograph, telephone number, and medical or disability information.

As a result, the information that appears when a civilian searches for a license plate is usually centered on the details of the vehicle registered to the plate. These include the specification of the vehicle, such as its make, model, year, engine details, and different reports on the vehicle. In accordance with state and federal DPPA laws, a civilian must first seek the record subject's consent to access information on the owner of the vehicle.

What Do Police See When They Run Your Plates in Hawaii?

In Hawaii, when police officers run a license plate, they can see information about the vehicle and the registered owner of the license plate. Under state and federal DPPA laws, law enforcement agencies are allowed unrestricted access to motor vehicle records in Hawaii, including personal information.

Police officers would also be able to see if the license plate or the vehicle has ever been reported stolen or used in a crime. The police officer will also be alerted if the registered owner of the license plate has any active arrest warrant. The license plate registrant's full criminal history may also be seen by police officers when they run a license plate in Hawaii.

Free License Plate Lookup in Hawaii

Interested persons can look up license plates for free in Hawaii through different third-party websites online. Generally, these third-party websites are subject to the provisions of state and federal DPPA laws. As a result, only information about the vehicle registered to the license is typically accessible through these websites. Furthermore, most third parties websites also usually limit the type of information users can get for free to only basic information about the vehicle. For other reports on the vehicle, such as salvage reports, accident reports, and ownership histories, users are typically charged a fee or asked to pay a time base subscription.

How to Search for Ticket by License Plate in Hawaii

In Hawaii, per HRS §286-137, records of tickets are maintained by the district courts of each circuit in the state. Hence, individuals interested in searching for tickets by license plate in Hawaii can begin their search by querying different district courts in the state. Interested persons can find the contact information and addresses of district courts in Hawaii through the District Court page of the Hawai’i state judiciary website.