Tampering  or Alter a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) in California - Penal Code 10802

Posted by Raoul Severo | Jul 02, 2020 | 0 Comments

What is a vehicle identification number (VIN)?

It refers to an identifying unique code for a particular automobile. The VIN serves as the car's id or fingerprint, and therefore two vehicles in operation cannot have the same VIN. A VIN has a unique identifier for the vehicle that is made of 17 characters (digits and capital letters). It displays the car's unique attributes, specifications and manufacturer. The VIN can be used to track registrations, recalls, claims, warranty, thefts and insurance coverage.

The California Penal Code 10802 states that any individual who deliberately tampers, disguises, alters, defaces, counterfeits, obliterates, destroys, falsifies, forges, or removes vehicle identification numbers, with the purpose to mislead or prevent the identification of motor vehicles or motor vehicle parts, in order to import, export, sale or distribute is is guilty of a public offense.


Punishments for Tampering  or Alter a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) 

Upon sentence, shall be punished by imprisonment according to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code for 16 months, or 2 or 3 years, or by a fine up to $25,000 USD, or by both the fine and jail time. Depending on the case can apply as well  1 year in the county jail, or by a fine up to $1,000 USD, or by both the fine and imprisonment.


  • Accidently alter the VIN
  • The VIN was previously altered by previous owner
  • False Accusation
  • Lack of evidence
  • Illegal search and seizure

The Law Office of Raoul Severo

If you or someone close to you are facing charges for Tampering  or Alter a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) in California or you are the victim of this offense, getting in touch with an experienced defense attorney is the best course of action. With more than 40 years of experience, the Law Office of Raoul Severo is at your disposal for a free of charge assessment of your case.

Last but not least, by reading this article you are entitled to use one of our coupon codes for criminal defense attorneys that will grant you a discount and a free assessment of your case. Just send us a message including the code: CriminalDefense_07-20

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