What is False Declaration of Ownership in the Oklahoma Motor Vehicle Code

False Declaration of Ownership of a Vehicle

False declaration of ownership in a vehicleMaking a false declaration of ownership of a vehicle in Oklahoma is against the law. This is a type of fraud related to, but different from auto theft.  Oklahoma specifically prohibits false declaration of ownership in a motor vehicle sold to a crusher as salvage metal.

Related Oklahoma auto theft laws include unauthorized receipt, possession, concealment, sale, or dispossession of vehicle or implement of husbandry (Okla. Stat. tit. 47 § 4-103), unlawful use of an motor vehicle (Okla. Stat. tit. 47 § 4-103)) and auto larceny (Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1720).

Oklahoma law also criminalizes false declaration of ownership with regard to pawn shops. False claims of ownership at a pawn shop comprise a separate crime unrelated to the Crusher Act other than the fact that each involve false declarations.

Sales of Vehicles to a “Crusher”

When we want to get rid of an old junker, we can take it to a “crusher.” Crushers do exactly that, they crush a vehicle and sell the scrap. But in order to do that, you need to be the registered owner of the car. If you take a car to a crusher and falsely assert that it belongs to you, or show a fake ID in order to falsely assert ownership, you could be convicted of a felony in Oklahoma. Making this assertion is punishable by either a prison term as long as five years, a year in the county jail, a fine up to $1000 or incarceration and fines. Okla. Stat. 47 § 592.9.

This often happens when a car is stolen. If the car is stolen, the crusher will most likely be required to turn the car back over to the police or the rightful owner. In order to protect the crusher, Oklahoma has also enacted a provision that mandates repayment to the crusher by the offender. If the offender fails to repay the crusher the full amount received after being notified that the car was stolen, can be convicted of a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in county jail and/or a fine in the amount of $1000. Okla. Stat. 47 § 592.9.

False declaration of ownership could also be charged even if a vehicle were not stolen. If a person falsely claims no liens are held against a vehicle, the person might be charged with the same crime as a person who tries to sell a stolen car to a crusher. This could result in some confusion for car owners whose vehicle was totaled in a crash. If a person owes money on vehicle destroyed in an accident and the creditor holds a lien, sale to a crusher before the lien is settled could be problematic. 

Making a false declaration of ownership of a vehicle can mean years in prison. The loss of freedom can alter the rest of your life. This is not a situation that you want to take lightly if you are being charged with a felony vehicle crime. Make sure that you hire an experienced Oklahoma defense lawyer as soon as possible.

Free Consultation With a Tulsa Criminal Lawyer

An Oklahoma felony conviction can change the course of your life, and seldom for the better. Don’t try to go this one alone. Get the legal counsel you need today. Call a Tulsa lawyer at the Wirth Law Office. Your initial consultation is free. Call the Wirth Law Office at (918) 879-1681 (or toll free at (888) Wirth-Law) or submit the question form at the top right of this page.

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