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  1. #1
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    False License Plate Tags

    Hi,

    This is my first post, and the reason I joined the forum. However, after reading posts for a couple of days I'll probably stick around. I like what I've read and can probably learn a few things.

    I understand that using false license plate tags (the colored ones with the year on them) is a felony. What type of felony is it and what is the generally mandated sentence for such a crime?

    If you, as a police officer, stop a car and discover that the tag is false - stolen or perhaps counterfeit - will you generally impound the vehicle and arrest the driver, or might you cut the operator some slack? Under what circumstances would you do either?

    Thanks ... this has been on my mind for a while after seeing an officer examining a tag on a stopped vehicle.

    Kind regards,

    Shel
    Last edited by shel; 01-26-2009 at 10:13 AM. Reason: Grammar

  2. #2
    Blizzination
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    Shel,

    4463(a)(2) CVC is a felony section in California. A felony is a crime which is punishable by at least a $1000 fine, and at least one year in state prision.

    This section states in part:

    (a) A person who, with intent to prejudice, damage, or defraud, commits any of the following acts is guilty of a felony and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by imprisonment in the
    state prison for 16 months or two or three years, or by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year:
    (2) Utters, publishes, passes, or attempts to pass, as true and genuine, a false, altered, forged, or counterfeited matter listed in paragraph (1) knowing it to be false, altered, forged, or
    counterfeited.

    It can also be a misdemeanor violation of 496 PC; Possession of stolen property.

    It's really up to the officer how it is handled. It's also up to the District Attorney. The vehicle is typically stored for 22651(o) CVC; registration expired over six months. However the registered owner can obtain the vehicle as soon as the registration is paid up.

    Other types the driver isn't arrested, as the vehicle isn't registered to them. While that doesn't mean they didn't know the false tabs were on the vehicle, it's alot more difficult to prove unless they admit it.

    More often than not, the officer will cited them for 4000(a) CVC; expired registration and store the vehicle with the above mentioned storage authority.

    Hope that answers your question.

    -Blizz

  3. #3
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    In my experience it's next to impossible to get these cases filed as a felony. For that to happen it's imperative that you:
    1) Handle all evidence (the license plate, registration tab, falsified documents, etc...) as you would for any other felony investigation. That means photographing the item(s) properly, handling only with gloves and making every attempt to obtain latent fingerprints.
    2) Obtain admissible statements from your defendant, preferably pre-arrest statements. If you do arrest the guy, make sure you're interview/interrogation is recorded and you've got a clean admonishment of constitutional rights. An implied waiver is alright, but an explicit one is better.
    3) Serious felony prior convictions. Without these, the case will be filed as a misdemeanor only. Don't let it upset you. That's why there's a misdemeanor section to cover these violations too. Even if the case is only filed as misdemeanor, the practice you get working cases like this will help during future investigative endeavors.
    "I'm not fluent in the language of violence, but I know enough to get around in places where it's spoken."

  4. #4
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    Thanks guys. Any other comments?
    Kind regards,

    Shel

  5. #5
    Blizzination
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    Quote Originally Posted by pulicords View Post
    In my experience it's next to impossible to get these cases filed as a felony.
    +1.

    Uh-huh...What happened with it? Pled down to 4000(a)....nice.

  6. #6
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    To clarify, pursuant CVC 22651(o)(1)(B), the offending vehicle can be impounded if it's displaying false tabs, even if it is not expired in excess of six months.

    CVC 22651. A peace officer, as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2 of the Penal Code, or a regularly employed and salaried employee, who is engaged in directing traffic or enforcing parking laws and regulations, of a city, county, or jurisdiction of a state agency in which a vehicle is located, may remove a vehicle located within the territorial limits in which the officer or employee may act, under the following circumstances:

    (o) (1) When a vehicle is found or operated upon a highway, public land, or an offstreet parking facility under the following circumstances:

    (A) With a registration expiration date in excess of six months before the date it is found or operated on the highway, public lands, or the offstreet parking facility.

    (B) Displaying in, or upon, the vehicle, a registration card, identification card, temporary receipt, license plate, special plate, registration sticker, device issued pursuant to Section 4853, or permit that was not issued for that vehicle, or is not otherwise lawfully used on that vehicle under this code.

    (C) Displaying in, or upon, the vehicle, an altered, forged, counterfeit, or falsified registration card, identification card, temporary receipt, license plate, special plate, registration sticker, device issued pursuant to Section 4853, or permit.
    I haven't used any of the new subsections, but they were enacted in January '08.

  7. #7
    Blizzination
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    Mmmmm... I forgot about that one!

    Thanks for the reminder!! I'll see if I can use this this week...

  8. #8
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    Great tool for the idiots that put false tabs or an expired temp reg just because their registration is expired by a month. Ive impounded a few of them for that....... great look on the persons face when they find out they turned a fix it ticket into an impound

  9. #9
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    We get this all the time in the DC area. Fake cardboard temp. tags, fake registration tabs, etc.. We generally cite or arrest the operator, and impound the vehicle..... Why on earth would we cut you a break ?...

    I have to get my cars registered, and insured, etc. Why slack ?... Most of these cars are in horrible mechanical shape and should not be on the road.

  10. #10
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    So, upon discovering fake tags, who might write it up as just a simple registration violation, 4000(a) CVC, and under what circumstances would you do that? Would you impound the vehicle or not, and if not, under what circumstance would you release the vehicle?
    Last edited by shel; 01-26-2009 at 05:25 PM. Reason: Added a thought
    Kind regards,

    Shel

  11. #11
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    "To clarify, pursuant CVC 22651(o)(1)(B), the offending vehicle can be impounded if it's displaying false tabs, even if it is not expired in excess of six months."

    when you call it in, is it all just under the "o" tow? or is it a completely new section, (0)(1)(B)?

  12. #12
    State Trooper
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    if you have to say what you're towing it for when you call a tow i'd just say (o) and put the whole section on the 180.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by the batman View Post
    "To clarify, pursuant CVC 22651(o)(1)(B), the offending vehicle can be impounded if it's displaying false tabs, even if it is not expired in excess of six months."

    when you call it in, is it all just under the "o" tow? or is it a completely new section, (0)(1)(B)?
    It's an O1B tow. We use it all the time.

    If you can get the driver to admit that they put the tab on you can try for the felony section but it's rare that it will fly. I just use the 4462.5 section and give them a misd cite.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackavar View Post
    I had a guy for driving with a PNO the other day and was trying desperately to find an authority to tow under. Anyone know?
    More then likely the "O" would work if the last time it was registered for street use was over six months ago. Other then that you just have to give him a 4000A1 cite.

  15. #15
    An Obvious problem
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    Always tow the car. If the tab is forged I hook for the felony, if it's a legitimate tab but not for that vehicle handle as a misdemeanor. I would never cite for just the 4000(a).
    Today's Quote:

    "The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."
    Albert Einstein

  16. #16
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    Attitude is EVERYTHING. And don't LIE!

    The R/O knows darn well that they are not displaying a valid reg, so I generally cite for 4462(b) CVC, a non-correctable section for the display of the tabs AND 4000(a)(1) CVC to make sure they register the car (both infractions). If it isn't the R/O driving, then I will peal off the offending sticker and cite the owner via an "Owner's Responsibility" cite.

    If I get the slightest bit of attitude, I own the car under 22651(o) as mentioned in prior posts above and also write a report for 4462.5 CVC (misdemeanor) for false reg with intent to avoid proper reg fees.

    If they keep it up, I will arrest for 4463(a)(2) CVC ("wobbler" F/M). Keep it up, and I will track the tab number through the DMV and contact the actual person it was issued to. I did this once - and found that the person lived local. Drove by the house, contacted the guy who had reported his rear license plate stolen the day prior. I add-charged the driver with 496(a) PC for possession of stolen property (actually got a misdemeanor filing on that one - the suspect had priors).

    I have not gotten a felony filing, but have been successful in getting a misdemeanor filing about 90% of the time. Generally I remove the plate from the vehicle and book it into evidence after photographing it on the vehicle. I've only gone the whole 9 yards on folks about 12 or 13 times, generally they learn by the time the tow-truck arrives and things don't have to get too crazy

    Lately I've been finding about 1 to 2 cars a week that have false evidence of registration - I have a feeling there will be more of these as the economy gets worse...
    Last edited by andy5746; 01-28-2009 at 12:16 AM.
    LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO DRINK CHEAP BEER!

  17. #17
    Blizzination
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    I too cite for 4000(a) unless they admit to having false or stolen tabs. If they admit to stolen I'll add the 496.

    Again, I concur with most of the other posts here that it's a pain trying to get the DA to go with a good file on the 4462. Even if you put in all the work. I do know there's a direct number to DMV where you can call to provide them with the tab # and they'll give you the R/O info.

    Thanks again for the impound reminder...I dealt with this the other day and just did a storage for O. Dummy me!

  18. #18
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    Question

    I have a question

    How is it that so many cars do not have plates?

    I saw a black car with extreme tented window all over, with no plates in Hollywood California.

    My first thought was how a police officer is going to call in that car when they pull over. If they harm that officer there’s no real way to id the car unless they get to the car before away from the area.

    Also how do you tell if out of state plates are good or not. I still have Texas plates because I’m waiting on paper work, so my plates don’t have a sticker; the sticker is on the front window. In Michigan it is on the plates. I can tell when a Michigan plate is good or not lived there long enough.

    Just thought I would ask.


    Bleesed Be,
    Leigh Anne

    With Hacate justice will come.

  19. #19
    Blizzination
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    You can run out of state plates through NCIC, will include registration information. Other states have weird plates, I know some vehicles in Texas have registration stickers. Have no idea about any of that, never been trained on it. Don't believe it's even enforceable in CA.

  20. #20
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    I did a ride-along last night, and the officer I was with stopped a car with no plates. He ran the VIN. It was recently purchased by the driver, and all was in order.
    In backgrounds ...

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blizzination View Post
    You can run out of state plates through NCIC, will include registration information. Other states have weird plates, I know some vehicles in Texas have registration stickers. Have no idea about any of that, never been trained on it. Don't believe it's even enforceable in CA.

    You can enforce it the CA requirement of registration for any vehicle. It's handled the same way with the same sections. Over 6 months overdue in Texas? 22651 O storage. Every vehicle on our roads needs to be registered.

  22. #22
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    22651(o)(1) doesn't specify which state the vehicle has to be registered in, just that it has to be registered. I've used that section on out of state vehicles before with no problems.

    We have to have a sergeant approve every impound at my agency, so sometimes different bosses will interpret things differently. What works with one may not be C4 with another.

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