Sec 4463 of the California Vehicle Code criminalizes the act of forgery, alteration or falsification of a vehicle registration, license plate or sticker a criminal offense. These offenses fall under the general criminal term of fraud, which is defined as the deliberate deception in order to secure an unfair or unlawful gain.

The specific acts considered as a crime are as follows:

• Altering, forging, counterfeiting or falsifying a vehicle registration card or registration stickers;
• Fraudulently displaying, causing or permitting to be displayed or possessing a blank, incomplete, cancelled, suspended, revoked, altered, forged, counterfeit or false vehicle registration card or registration stickers;
• Publishing, passing or attempting to pass as true and genuine a false, altered, forged or counterfeited vehicle registration card or sticker;

This crime is considered a “wobbler” or a criminal offense that can be prosecuted either as a misdemeanor or a felony offense. In order to determine the degree of the crime to be prosecuted, the prosecutor would review the factual circumstances of the case and the criminal history of the accused.

If the accused is convicted of misdemeanor vehicle registration fraud, the imposable penalty would be one (1) year in county prison and payment of a fine of up to $1,000. If the accused is convicted of felony vehicle registration fraud, the imposable penalty would be between sixteen (16) to thirty six (36) months in state prison and payment of a fine of $10,000.

The other penalties include action from Department of Motor Vehicle such as refuse to issue or renew a driver’s license to you or revoke the current driver’s license. Other acts include refusal to issue, renew or transfer registration of a vehicle which value was understated in an application or unlawful use of registration certificate.

There are other offenses covered in this offense, which includes the following:

• Sec 4463(b) and (c) of the California Vehicle Code or the forging, counterfeiting or falsification of a disabled person placard for personal use or passing or attempting to pass as true and genuine a false, forged or counterfeited disabled person placard knowing it to be false, forged or counterfeited or acquire, possess, sell or offer to sell as genuine a counterfeit disabled placard. In this misdemeanor crime, the prison time would be six (6) months in a county jail and payment of a fine between $500 and $1,0o0;
• Sec 4461 of the California Vehicle Code would be the illegal use of handicap placards through the lending out a placard to a third party or improperly using a disabled person’s placard;
• Sec 20 of the California Vehicle Code of making false statements or knowingly conceal any material fact in a registration document filed with the DMV carries with it a misdemeanor prosecution having penalties of up to six (6) months in jail and a fine of $1,000;
• Sec 31 of the California Vehicle Code or providing false information to a peace officer, such as counterfeit documents would be prosecuted as a misdemeanor offense with a punishment of up to six (6) months in jail with a fine of $1,000;
• Sec 472 of the California Penal Code or forgery or counterfeiting of seals or possession and concealment of a forged seal and the imposable penalty would be the same as Sec 4463 of the California Vehicle Code;

The crime of vehicle registration fraud is a serious matter in California. Should you be or know anyone facing any of these charges, do reach out to the lawyers at the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis for a free consultation today.