Background Checks

Motor Vehicle Records Offices (DMV)

Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)

The Department of Motor Vehicles is a state-level government agency that administers vehicle registration and driver licensing. The acronym DMV is not used in every state. Some states use the terms Motor Vehicle Department, Motor Vehicle Commission, Motor Vehicle Services, etc.

Driver licensing and vehicle registration in the United States is handled by the state government in all states but Hawaii. In Hawaii, the individual counties perform DMV functions such as driver licensing and vehicle registration. In Canada, driver licensing and vehicle registration is handled at the provincial government level.

DMV Record Searches

Motor vehicle driving records contain information on an individual’s driving record, which consists of current and resolved court-ordered suspensions, citations, violations and other entries impacting your driving record. If you are a detective conducting a background check, it is important to note that federal and state laws prohibit obtaining an individual’s driving record without their consent.

Employers conducting background checks may request a motor vehicle driving record with a signed authorization form from the individual.

  • To obtain a copy of your entire motor vehicle driving record, contact the respective DMV office of each state you were licensed in
  • Each state has slightly different guidelines and requirements for requesting motor vehicle driving records, so call or check the state DMV website first
  • The approximate cost for the motor vehicle driving record is usually provided on the State DMV website

If you’re looking for free records, you’re out of luck. Every state will charge some fee for processing, copies, and mailing. If you encounter a site or an investigative tool that claims it can provide free record searches, don’t believe it.

List of Services Provided by Motor Vehicle Departments

Following are links to State Department of Motor Vehicle websites. State DMV sites can be used to:

  • Obtain a copy of your driving record
  • Renew your vehicle registration, license plate renewal
  • Obtain a vehicle title
  • Research a vehicle’s history
  • Renew your driver license
  • Driver license reinstatement
  • Order licenses plates and specialty licenses plates
  • Find office locations, check wait times and make appointments
  • Pay traffic tickets, court citations and court fees

Many of these services can be completed online and apply to all drivers, including motorcyclists and commercial drivers. In addition to these services, may state websites provide access to state driving laws, motor vehicle laws, organ donor information, and more.Department of Motor Vehicle Offices by State

Department of Motor Vehicle Offices by State

Click on the link to visit the state DMV office’s website:

Other Helpful Links for Vehicle Background Checks

Note:

Beware of sites that offer “free criminal background check” services such as a free driving record and free vehicle identification number checks (free VIN checks).

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