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When it comes time to dealing with matters of the law, especially in California’a penal code, things can get just a bit confusing. You’re often going to find yourself contending with a veritable mountain of legalese, which at best will be pretty complicated and at worst will be just convoluted. But it doesn’t always have to be this way. If you go ahead and take apart the law piece by piece and describe it in terms that actually make sense, it’s actually not that bad. So with that said, in this post we’re going to break down some definitions, punishments, and legal defenses when it comes to the charge of buying or possessing vehicles with altered VIN numbers. So let’s get started with a few definitions, shall we?
Definitions of Buying or Possessing Vehicles with Altered VIN Numbers
In order to be found guilty of this particular charge, there are a few elements that have to be in place. Among them, you have to buy or possess more than one vehicle, or parts from more than one vehicle. Along with this, you have to possess vehicles that actually have VIN numbers that have been tampered with. Also, the vehicle or parts have to have been purchased with the intention of passing them off in a resale or some other similar kind of transfer to someone else. This seems a bit complicated at first, but that’s only because the law needs to be very, even oddly specific in order to make sure that the person being charged fits the bill for a perpetrator of this crime. So now that we’ve gotten the important work of giving you the simple definitions out of the way, we can put our focus on exploring some of the punishments for this crime.
Punishments for Buying or Possessing Vehicles with Altered VIN Numbers
As we’ve talked about before in previous posts, this particular charge happens to be a wobbler charge. What that means is that it can be charged either as a misdemeanor or as a felony. If it’s charged as a California misdemeanor, it’s punishable with up to one year in county jail and/or a possible fine of up to $1,000. The felony charge of this crime differs depending on if you just possessed the vehicles or parts or purchased them. If you possessed them, it’s punished with sixteen months or two or three years in county jail, and/or a fine of up to $30,000. Purchasing them is punished with two, four, or six years in county jail and/or a fine of up to $60,000. Now let’s take a look at some of the legal defenses you can use.
Legal Defenses for Buying or Possessing Vehicles with Altered VIN Numbers
The good news is that there are actually quite a few legal defenses that you can use if you’re charged with buying or possessing vehicles with altered VIN numbers. You can claim that you didn’t buy more than one vehicle that had a tampered VIN, or that you didn’t know the VIN was tampered with, or that you didn’t plan on reselling or disposing of the vehicle, or that the police found the tampered VINs by doing an illegal search.
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As you can see, the law isn’t too complicated when you break it down into easily digestible parts. So if you’re facing legal trouble or might be facing some sort of legal trouble in the future, go ahead and get in touch with us today. We’ll be sure to take care of you.