vehicle and vessel licenses and registrations

California Department of Motor Vehicles

The California Department of Motor Vehicles has databases of information on:

  • Driver's licenses, including the names of people with licenses or personal identification cards, their home addresses, dates of birth, photographs and descriptions of physical attributes like height, weight and hair and eye color, as well as vehicle code violations filed against them.
  • Motor vehicle registrations, including the names and addresses of people registering motor vehicles, searchable by the vehicle registration number or a person's name.

However, access to license and registration information has been severely restricted in California and other states in recent years because of privacy concerns.

You can request information from the California Department of Motor Vehicles in writing, but you must justify your request, the person about whom you're requesting information will be notified of your request and can contest it, and it will probably take weeks at least to process the request.

A news media organization can set up an account to obtain some information on driver's licenses and vehicle registrations. But a person's address and phone number are not available. You can only obtain information on whether the person has a license and their driving record, and whether the person owns a vehicle.

No California DMV database information is publicly available online.

For more information on the restrictions on release of DMV information, see the California Department of Motor Vehicles Web page on accesssing DMV information and the policies on release of personal DMV information.