Many people do not realize it is even a serious crime but if you are charged with altering a VIN number then you can end up facing significant consequences. Do not plead guilty – or even talk to the police or prosecutor – without first consulting with a criminal defense attorney. Read on to learn why. Then call Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 for your free legal consultation.
The surprisingly harsh potential consequences for altering a VIN
If you are convicted of deliberately altering a VIN number then you could end up spending a year in jail and paying up to $1,000 in fines. This may seem shockingly serious enough but it could get worse. If the prosecution is able to prove that you altered the VIN as part of a plan to conceal the ID of the owner of the vehicle in order to sell it, then you could be facing a felony charge. The fines can increase up to $25,000 and you could spend three years in jail.
You do have defense options
Many people simply plead guilty because they assume there are not many alternatives available. The truth is that we may be able to defend you in a number of ways. First, we may work to show that someone else altered the VIN. For example, it may have already been altered when you bought it. Second, we may work to show that though you did deface the VIN, you did so accidentally. Remember that it is only a crime if the action was on purpose.
Finally, we may show that the police discovered that the VIN had been altered, or other evidence, while illegally searching your property. If this was the case then any evidence they discovered should be stricken from the record and not used against you.
We can help you fight other charges
It is often the case that a charge of altering a VIN number comes with other allegations. This may include grand theft auto or other theft charges. We will also work to disprove those allegations. Successfully doing so can help us prevent the VIN alternation charge from being charged as a felony. This can make a huge difference in any potential sentencing.
Get a free legal consultation and find out what your options are
There is no one best way to fight a charge of altering a VIN but there is one thing to do that is always wrong: Pleading guilty without talking to an attorney. At Law Office of Michael L. Fell we may be able to offer defense options you have not thought of. This is not a charge you want on your record. Call us today at (949) 585-9055 and request your free legal consultation.