Owning or Operating a Chop Shop
What counts as a violation of Vehicle Code § 10801?
Vehicle Code § 10801 makes it a crime for any person who knowingly and intentionally owns or operates a chop shop.
Under Vehicle Code § 250, a "chop shop" is any building, lot, or other premises where any person has been engaged in altering, destroying, disassembling, dismantling, reassembling, or storing any motor vehicle or motor vehicle part known to be illegally obtained by theft, fraud, or conspiracy to defraud, in order to do either of the following:
(a) Alter, counterfeit, deface, destroy, disguise, falsify, forge, obliterate, or remove the identity, including the vehicle identification number, of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle part, in order to misrepresent the identity of the motor vehicle or motor vehicle part, or to prevent the identification of the motor vehicle or motor vehicle part.
(b) Sell or dispose of the motor vehicle or motor vehicle part.
What is the punishment for a violation of Vehicle Code § 10801?
A violation of Vehicle Code § 10801 is a public offense punishable by imprisonment for two, three, or four years, or by a fine of not more than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment, or by up to one year in the county jail, or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment.
What defenses are available for a violation of Vehicle Code § 10801?
- You did not know the vehicle parts were stolen
- You did not intend to alter or destroy the vehicle parts