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If you cannot obtain the duplicate title from the DMV to get the former owner to sign or you cannot find the former owner to obtain duplicate title for you, then you have to go to court. If you cannot get title from the former owner, you have to file a petition to quiet title in court and provide your proof of purchase and any other proof of ownership you have to the court and the court would have to review the documents and issue an order declaring you the owner of the vehicle, which would then be issued to DMV and they would provide title and registration.