Los Angeles Altering a Vehicle Identification Number Lawyers
The vehicle identification number, or VIN as it is often called, is a number that specifically identifies that vehicle. It is posted on the front driver’s side dash, but it is also posted about 3-4 other places within the car. Since the number appears on the frame, engine, and body of the vehicle, it is not hard for officers to identify that a VIN number has been tampered with. It is a crime to falsify, forge, deface, alter, or destroy this number.
Altering A VIN Under California Law
Destroying or altering a VIN number is a crime. It falls under the jurisdiction of Vehicle Code 10750. It is an offense that is considered to be a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to one year in county jail, and or a $1,000 fine. However, the charges may be increased to a felony level when the tampering is for the purpose of selling the vehicle or misrepresenting its identity. If charged on the felony level, jail time can be from 16 months to three years. The fine will be up to $25,000 additionally. The VC 10750 is often used in conjunction with 10802 VC. This is a code that dictates the law for those who want to run a “chop-shop” type establishment.
What is a Chop Shop?
A chop shop is an illegal group that alters, dismantles or stores a stolen motor vehicle or vehicle parts for the purpose of selling them. Since these vehicles are all stolen, the charges fall under the felony category. The fine for this type of operation can be up to $50,000 and up to four years in jail. Those who accept a motor vehicle with an altered VIN can be in just as much trouble. The law allows fines up to $60,000 and up to six years in jail for this individual. Depending on the incidence, grand theft can also be included in the charges.
Having A Great Defense
If you have been charged with VIN tampering, this is a serious offense. It is imperative that you have legal representation to help protect your best interests. The police can quickly turn charges of tampering into something much more given the right information. However, we have active defenses that we use to ensure your charges are downgraded or dismissed. Some of the defenses we can use are that someone else, or a previous owner, changed the VIN and you had no knowledge or involvement in the activity.
Another defense that we use is that you had no intention of selling the car, so technically a crime was not committed. We can also state that you were trying to hide the vehicles identity but not change the VIN legally, or even that you defaced the VIN on accident. We have had great luck in preparing great defenses for people in this situation.
A Common Scenario
Let us look at an example situation that could be used as a defense. Debbie stole a car because she was tired of taking the bus to work. She did not want the car to be discovered. She altered the VIN number’s 3 and turned it into an 8. Although she did alter the VIN number to keep it from being discovered, she is not guilty of VIN changing with the intent to sell as listed in 10802 VC. Though guilty of another crime, we will attempt to get this charge dismissed on the grounds of a technicality.
If you need legal help regarding a VIN tampering charge, call us today. During our initial consultation, we will review the facts surrounding your case and plan a defense to ensure your freedom. If you live in the Los Angeles area, call us today!