CA Vehicle Code 10803 VC

VC 10803 – Buying or Possessing a Vehicle with Tampered VIN

VC 10803 - Buying or Possessing a Vehicle with Tampered VIN

Buying or Possessing a Vehicle with Tampered VIN – Table of Contents

Buying or Possessing Vehicle with Tampered VINs in California

In California, it is illegal buying or possessing a vehicle with tampered VIN identification number. The California vehicle code requires Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) be in tact so an easily can be easily identified in the case of theft or other criminal activity.
This violation of the statute is considered a wobbler. This means it can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, per the discretion of the prosecutor. Many factors may contribute to a prosecutor electing to charge the crime as a felony, as opposed to a misdemeanor.

For example, prosecutors take into consideration how egregious the crime was. If you own or possess a fleet of vehicles, all with tampered VINs, and intend to use them to commit crimes, a prosecutor will likely try to charge you with a felony. In addition, they consider your criminal history, as well. If you have a long criminal record, the chances increase that you will be charged with tampering with your VIN as a felony, rather than a misdemeanor.

If charged with a felony possession of parts with tampered VINs, you are subject to a year and a half or two or three years in jail and up to a $30,000 fine.

If charged with a felony purchase of parts with tampered VINs, you are subject to two, four, or six years in jail and up to a $60,000 fine.

However, if you are only charged with a misdemeanor for owning or possessing a parts or a vehicle with a tampered VIN, you are subject to up to a year in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. A good lawyer will work with you and the prosecutor to reduce your charge to a misdemeanor, if possible, because the penalties are substantially less severe for a misdemeanor, as compared to a felony.

Prosecuting California buying or possessing a vehicle with tampered VIN Vehicle Code 10803 VC

You cannot be convicted of violating Vehicle Code 10803 unless the prosecutor is able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. You bought or were in control of parts of more than one vehicle, or more than one actual vehicle;
  2. The vehicles pr parts had tampered VINS; and
  3. You bought the vehicles or parts with the intent to resell or transfer them.

Casting Doubt

In a buying or possessing a vehicle with tampered VIN criminal case, perhaps the most crucial thing to keep in mind is that the prosecutor bears the burden of showing you were the person that committed the crime and that a crime was, in fact, committed beyond a reasonable doubt. Any case or argument short of meeting this burden, or one that casts doubt on even one single element of the buying or possessing a vehicle with tampered VIN crime, may result in your acquittal.

Defending a Vehicle Code 10803 Charge

A skilled defense attorney is best equipped to defend you in the case you are charged with violating buying or possessing a vehicle with tampered VIN VC 10803 for having cars with tampered VINs. Your attorney will begin by likely arguing the evidence presented by the prosecution fails to meet the lofty burden described above. If there is doubt as to an element, you will be acquitted.

Lack of Tampered

Your attorney may also show you did not purchase, own, or possess the cars with tampered VINs, or that the cars were yours but did not have tampered VINs at all.

It is also not a crime simply to have the cars in your possession with tampered VINs. If you did not intend to transfer the cars or parts to someone else, or sell them in that condition, you cannot be convicted of this crime. Proving your state of mind and intent to sell or transfer will be difficult for the prosecution, and a defense attorney is necessary at this stage.

Finally, if anything about the search of your vehicles, your arrest, or your confession to the buying or possessing a vehicle with tampered VIN crime was done or obtained illegally, there will be ways for a successful attorney to suppress certain evidence, which will bolster your case.

We Want to Help

If you or a loved one is being charged with Buying or Possessing a Vehicle with a Tampered VIN in violation of VC 10803 in California, we invite you to contact us immediately for a free case review. Schedule an appointment to meet with us in person, or feel free to submit an evaluation online and we will get in contact with you ASAP. We can provide a free consultation in our office located in Century City, or by phone.

Our experienced and assiduous Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorneys will be sure to fight until the end to reduce or drop your charges completely.

Call Us for a FREE Case Review: 310-274-6529

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How to Win Your Case

We cannot stress enough that you read, understand and follow these 10 basic rules if you are criminally charged or under investigation:

  1. Don’t ever talk to the police
  2. Do not discuss your case with anyone
  3. Everything you tell your lawyer is confidential
  4. Tell police you need to contact your attorney
  5. Never consent to any search by the police
  6. If the police knock on your door, don't answer!
  7. Realize the consequences of a criminal conviction
  8. Your lawyer (not you) will contact any witnesses
  9. Information on your cell phone is evidence
  10. Early Intervention is the key

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