Vehicle Registration Fraud – California Vehicle Code Section 4463 VC
California Vehicle Code Section 4463 VC known as the Vehicle Registration Fraud Law makes it unlawful for a person to commit fraud or forgery that involves a vehicle registration certificate, vehicle registration sticker, license plate, or vehicle smog certificate. This crime is a felony, and a conviction of vehicle registration fraud carries a maximum jail sentence of up to three years in county jail.
So, if you have been charged with committing auto registration fraud in violation of VC 4463, you should immediately contact a vehicle registration fraud attorney at The H Law Group to defend you and keep you from going to jail for a very long period of time. Schedule your free consultation today by filling out the contact form below or by calling us at 1 (213) 370-0404.
Text of California Vehicle Code 4463 VC – Vehicle Registration Fraud
According to California Vehicle Code Section 4463, “A person who, with intent to prejudice, damage, or defraud, commits any of the following acts is guilty of a felony and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code for 16 months, or two or three years, or by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year:
Alters, forges, counterfeits, or falsifies a certificate of ownership, registration card, certificate, license, license plate, temporary license plate.”
So, why do people commit vehicle registration fraud?
Most cases of vehicle registration fraud occur because Vehicle Code Section 4000(a)(1) requires motorists who want to operate their vehicles on public roads to register them and pay a registration fee. So, some people decide that they don’t want to pay that fee and that they’ll just print out proof of registration or print out a registration sticker and add it to their license plate. Such conduct is unlawful and constitutes vehicle registration fraud in violation of vehicle code 4463 VC.
VC 4463 Prohibits the Following Type of Behavior:
- Altering our counterfeiting your vehicle’s registration certificate, including altering or counterfeiting the license plate registration sticker
- Displaying canceled, forged, or counterfeit vehicle registration materials
- Passing or attempting to pass as genuine any false or altered vehicle registration materials
So, displaying a fake registration certificate that you printed yourself or adding a fake registration sticker to your license plate can land you in prison for vehicle registration fraud in violation of Vehicle Code Section 4463 VC.
Also, some people who have two vehicles, one that’s registered and another one that’s not registered may be tempted to take the registration sticker from a registered vehicle and add it to the non-registered vehicle. Such behavior is unlawful and violates vehicle code section 4463. So, the next time you decide to swap registration stickers, just keep in mind that you could find yourself charged with either a felony or a misdemeanor.
Proving a Person Guilty of Committing Vehicle Registration Fraud
For the prosecution to convict a person of committing vehicle registration fraud in violation of VC 4463, the prosecution must prove a number of elements as true beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecution fails to prove even one element, it will not be able to convict the defendant of this crime.
The prosecution must prove the following elements:
- The defendant altered, counterfeited, falsified, or displayed a
- Vehicle registration card, license plate, or registration sticker, and
- The defendant did so with the intent to defraud
Examples of Vehicle Registration Fraud
John owns a car, and he’s short on cash. So, when the time comes to renew his vehicle’s registration, he can’t pay for it. So, he calls up his friend Ray who is great at photoshop. Ray designs a registration vehicle that looks just like the real deal. John thanks Ray, and places the stick on his vehicle. Ray can be charged with and convicted of vehicle registration fraud for counterfeiting the registration stick. John can be convicted of vehicle registration fraud for display the counterfeit registration stick on his vehicle to avoid being ticketed for expired registration.
Penalties for a Conviction of Automobile Registration Fraud
If the prosecution convicts a person of automobile registration fraud in violation of CVC 4463, the consequences depend on whether he is convicted of misdemeanor vehicle registration fraud or felony vehicle registration fraud. This is so auto registration fraud is a wobbler, meaning the prosecution has the discretion to charge this crime as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
Felony Registration Fraud
- Conviction of a felony offense
- Up to three (3) years imprisonment in county jail
- A fine of up to $10,000
- Placement on formal felony probation for three to five years
Misdemeanor Registration Fraud
- Conviction of a misdemeanor offense
- Up to one (1) year imprisonment in county jail
- A fine of up to $1,000
- Placement on informal summary probation for three to five years
Registration Fraud Defense
If you have been charged with registration fraud, there are a number of defenses that your attorney can make to defend you and keep you from going to jail or prison. Here are some of the defenses that may be available to you:
- The defendant did not have the intent to defraud
- The defendant did not know that the registration was counterfeit – that is, the defendant had no knowledge that the registration certificate or registration card was altered or counterfeit
- The prosecution does not have sufficient evidence to convict the defendant
- The defendant is being falsely accused of auto registration fraud
Contact an Experienced Vehicle Registration Fraud Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with this crime, you should immediately contact an experienced vehicle registration fraud defense attorney at The H Law Group to defend you and keep you from going to jail or prison for a very long period of time. Our attorneys have defended thousands of clients over the past ten years, and so they have the knowledge and experienced necessary to achieve the best possible results for you.
If you choose to hire us, rest assured that your future is in great hands. At the outset of every case, one of our criminal defense attorneys will look over the facts of your case to determine whether a dismissal is possible. If the attorney believes that a dismissal is possible, he will communicate this to the prosecutor. If the prosecutor refuses to dismiss the case against you, our attorneys will do all that they can to negotiate the best possible deal for you. Schedule your free consultation today by filling out the contact form below or by calling us at 1 (213) 370-0404.