Los Angeles DMV Fraud Attorneys
The California Department of Motor Vehicles has the power to issue drivers’ licenses, but the agency also has the power to ensure licenses and ID cards are used by authorized persons for legitimate purposes. In addition to drivers’ licenses, the DMV issues vehicle registration certificates and stickers, vehicle license plates, and regulates smog test certificates. Committing fraud against the DMV is a criminal offense that may be punished with a jail term and heavy fines.
If you have been charged with DMV fraud, reach out to our team at Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP. Our Los Angeles DMV fraud attorneys can begin investigating your case immediately to build a strong defense on your behalf. We understand you are in a difficult situation and are prepared to take on your case. Call us today at (213) 688-0460 to schedule a free consultation.
DMV fraud may involve drivers’ licenses, state IDs, or vehicle registrations. Oftentimes, these white-collar crimes may occur due to an applicant’s simple mistake, clerical error, or mistaken identity, but they all come with hefty fines and sentences. In order to launch a strong defense, you must fully understand what makes these charges unique.
Driver’s License Fraud
Defrauding the DMV using a driver’s license can involve:
- Fraudulently applying for or obtaining a driver’s license or ID with false or misleading information.
- Fraudulently obtaining a driver’s license by circumventing testing and examination.
- Using a driver’s license or ID card issued to another person for personal gain or benefit.
- Allowing another person to use a driver’s license or ID card for false identification.
- Unlawfully altering a driver’s license or ID card.
- Filing a fraudulent document to establish enrollment in or completion of an alcohol education program.
A person committing DMV fraud involving a driver’s license may change the birth date, name, physical description, or expiration date. The photograph may also be altered.
Vehicle Registration Fraud
California law prohibits fraud involving vehicle registration. This may include:
- Falsifying, counterfeiting, forging, or altering vehicle registration materials.
- Possessing or displaying counterfeit, forged, revoked, canceled, or blank vehicle registration materials with fraudulent intent.
- Passing or attempting to pass as genuine and true counterfeit, false, or altered vehicle registration materials.
Examples of this type of fraud include stealing a registration sticker from another car and displaying it on your own, submitting fake smog test certificates to the DMV, and selling forged vehicle registration certificates on the black market.
Driver’s License DMV Fraud Penalties
DMV fraud involving a driver’s license may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony at the discretion of the prosecutor, depending on the defendant’s criminal history and the facts of the case. When it is charged as a misdemeanor, penalties upon conviction may include a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in county jail. When charged as a felony, DMV fraud involving a driver’s license is punishable by 16 months, two years, or three years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Vehicle Registration DMV Fraud Penalties
In California, vehicle registration fraud is also a “wobbler,” meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Penalties for misdemeanor vehicle registration fraud include a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year of jail time. Felony vehicle registration fraud carries maximum penalties of 16 months, two years, or three years of incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000.
Your lawyer can employ legal defenses to fight against your DMV fraud charges. These defenses may include assertions that:
- You lacked fraudulent intent: Under the law, you are not guilty of a “specific intent crime” if you did not intend to commit the crime under the state of mind required by California statute.
- The police engaged in misconduct: Police misconduct in such cases could involve violations of search and seizure rules or planting illegal evidence. A successful motion to suppress evidence can result in your charges being dismissed or significantly reduced.
- There is insufficient evidence to convict you: In a criminal case, the prosecution has the burden to prove your alleged unlawful actions beyond a reasonable doubt.
Our Los Angeles white-collar crime defense attorneys at Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP have a history of success resolving criminal matters for our clients. Call us at (213) 688-0460 to schedule a free consultation if you have been charged with DMV fraud.
Recent Case Results
- Complete Dismissal of Molestation Charges
Attorney Mark Werksman’s 29 year old client was falsely accused of molesting two neighborhood children and was subsequently charged with felony child molestation, with a significant prison sentence hanging over his head should he be convicted. Instead, at the preliminary hearing Werksman was able to convince the court to grant his client a complete dismissal of any charges.
- Decision Set Aside
Client, a college student in a faulty Title IX case, was awarded $130,000 in attorney fees.
- Probation with No Jail Time for Drug Money Laundering Charge
Wilmington man accused in New York federal court of laundering drug money through the sale of laptop computers. Mark was able to get the case transferred to federal court in Los Angeles, where he convinced the United States Attorney to reduce the charges. His client was sentenced to probation with no jail time on a misdemeanor conviction.