The court system in California can deal very harshly with individuals who buy or sell stolen vehicles or automobile parts. There are a number of laws on the books designed to prevent this activity, including:
- California Penal Code Section 487(d)(1): Grand Theft Auto
- California Penal Code Section 496(a): Receiving Stolen Property
- California Vehicle Code Section 10750: Altering a Vehicle Identification Mark
- California Vehicle Code Section 10801: Operating a Chop Shop
- California Vehicle Code Section 10803: Buying or Possessing for Sale Vehicles/Parts with Altered Vehicle Identification Numbers
You can focus specifically on VC 10803 right here with the Simmrin Law Group. Go over the definition of this charge, legal defenses, and the penalties for a conviction.
Defining Vehicle Identification Numbers in California
You need an understanding of vehicle identification numbers (VINs) to review VC 10803 charges. VINs are numbers imprinted on motor vehicles by manufacturers. These numbers are generally printed in multiple places on a vehicle.
Individuals in California are not legally permitted to remove, alter, or replace VINs except in very specific circumstances. Altering a VIN can lead to criminal charges under VC 10750.
VC 10803: California’s Legal Definition
VC 10803 is a very specific criminal charge designed to prosecute individuals who steal vehicles, break them down for parts, and then resell the automobile parts. Individuals may be charged under VC 10803 for buying or possessing motor vehicles or parts from multiple motor vehicles if they know that:
- The VINs Were Defaced, Destroyed, Altered, Falsified, Removed, or Otherwise Changed
- In Order to Prevent Identification of the Vehicle Parts or the Vehicles
Individuals should only face VC 10803 charges if they then intend to:
- Resell the Vehicle or Vehicle Parts
- Transfer the Vehicle or Vehicle Parts
- Dispose of the Vehicle or Vehicle Parts
California makes an exception for motor vehicle scrap processors who take possession of vehicles or vehicle parts to crush or compact them. As long as the processors do not remove the vehicle’s VIN they should not face VC 10803 charges.
Results of a VC 10803 Conviction
There are a number of different penalties used for VC 10803 charges. The exact repercussions for a VC 10803 conviction will depend on how the charge is prosecuted. Depending on the situation, individuals could face:
Misdemeanor VC 10803 Penalties:
- Fines: Up to $1,000
- Jail Time: Up to One Year
Felony VC 10803 Penalties for Possessing Vehicles or Vehicle Parts:
- Fines: Up to $30,000
- Jail Time: Up to Three Years
Felony VC 10803 Penalties for Purchasing Vehicles or Vehicle Parts:
- Fines: Up to $60,000
- Jail Time: Up to Six Years
Legal Defenses for VC 10803 Charges in California
A VC 10803 charge does not have to automatically result in a conviction. You can stand up to these charges by reaching out to a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles. Your lawyer can focus on the facts surrounding your case. Based on their findings, your lawyer could argue:
You Didn’t Know the Vehicles or Vehicle Parts had Altered or Defaced VINs
It is not against the law to buy or purchase vehicles or vehicle parts with unaltered VINs. If you had reason to believe you were purchasing or possessing for sale legitimate automobile parts, you may be able to avoid a VC 10803 conviction.
You Didn’t Buy or Possess the Vehicles or Vehicle Parts
You must buy or possess the altered vehicles or vehicle parts to be convicted under VC 10803. If you were unaware that you had the vehicles or parts then your lawyer could work to defend you from a VC 10803 accusation.
You Didn’t Intend to Resell the Vehicles or Vehicle Parts
VC 10803 deals with the act of buying or possessing vehicles or vehicle parts with altered VINs for the purpose of reselling them. If you intended to keep the parts, you could avoid VC 10803 charges, though you could still be charged under California Penal Code Section 496(a): Receiving Stolen Property.
You Were Working Legitimately with the Vehicles of Vehicle Parts
As we mentioned, California makes an exception for individuals who process vehicle scrap. You are allowed to possess vehicles or vehicle parts if you are turning them into scrap without removing or altering their VINs.
Handle VC 10803 Charges with a Criminal Defense Lawyer
A professional lawyer can help you deal with California Vehicle Code Section 10803: Buying or Possessing for Sale Vehicles/Parts with Altered Vehicle Identification Numbers charges in California. The Simmrin Law Group’s criminal defense lawyers can start working on your defense today, starting with a FREE case evaluation.
Start getting the answers you need about VC 10803 charges by completing our online contact form, or calling (310) 896-2723.