Laws Against Chop Shops in California
When someone steals a car, they usually have to conceal it in some way, so that the owner of the vehicle and/or the police do not find it. In some cases, the person who stole the car did it in order to sell the car as a whole or a part of it. There are places that operate solely for the purpose of taking apart cars so that they can be sold again or hidden. Such a place is called a chop shop. Operating a chop shop is illegal in California and below is a brief overview of the crime.
The Elements of the Crime
According to California Vehicle Code 10801 VC, it is against the law to operate a chop shop. The law has an extensive definition of a chop shop, but in general it concerns the disassembling and/or storing of an illegally possessed car for the purpose of selling it or hiding it. The elements of the crime closely follow the definition. To meet the burden of proof, the prosecution must meet the following. The defendant operated a business with the intention of it being a chop shop. The defendant must have known that the car was brought to the chop shop through some form of illegal activity. Third, the defendant must have also had the knowledge that working on the car was for the purpose of selling or hiding it.
Penalties for Operating a Chop Shop
If following the proceedings of a criminal case the prosecutor has enough evidence for a conviction, the defendant faces either a misdemeanor or a felony. The difference between the two comes down to the context of the chop shop operation and the defendant’s own criminal background. A defendant can face penalties of between one to four years in jail and the possible payment of fines.