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BAAAAAAAMM
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Discussion Starter #1
The first dirt RallyCross of the season went well in Pueblo, CO, but I never expected the day to end like it did.

I'm driving the rally car by myself following my co-driver in the service truck heading back to Colorado Springs after the RallyCross. I hadn't driven the car since Sept, after the COG Rally in Steamboat. Co-driver in the service truck and myself in the rally car passed a state patrol going under the speed limit just a mile or so outside of Pueblo. As we passed the state patrol pulled out from where he was sitting in the median right away and proceeded to pursue me.

Less then 30 seconds later after he pulled me over he came to the side of the car and told me my plates were expired. I hadn't driven the car in months so I just completely forgot and assumed everything was cool, however, the tags expired in October. The officer asked for my insurance, reg, and license. Although before heading to his car he whipped off the windshield and questioned me about my VIN number missing from the dash, who removed it and why.

My rally car is a 91 Honda Civic and because of the upper bar in the roll cage the top part of the dash, containing the VIN, was removed so I could fit the lower part of the dash in there. For anyone who has a car or has prepped a rally car they know this is common, if the dash isn't modified or partially removed its completely removed.. and the VIN goes with it.

To make this long story short I was arrested soon after for removing the VIN from the car and I'm facing a felony charge of 42-5-102 (2) : Stolen motor vehicle parts. Any person who, except as needed for legitimate repairs, intentionally removes, alters, or obliterates a motor vehicle identification number, manufacturer's number, or engine number or who knowingly possesses a motor vehicle or motor vehicle part containing a removed, altered, or obliterated vehicle identification number, manufacturer's number, or engine number commits a class 5 felony.

This is really just a whole lot to do about nothing the cop simply has something to prove. The changes done to rally cars fall within the 'legitimate repairs' and the fact is there are hundreds of rally cars out there like mine. More so I am unaware of anyone else dealing with an issue like this.

If you own a rally car, or work for a shop that has prepped one or more cars I'm asking for your help. I'm trying to gather as many statements from persons in the national rally community to help support my case and the fact I am in no wrong. If you have a few minutes please write and fax a letter stating that this is a standard practice when prepping a rally car, if the safety equipment prevents the dash from being fully or partially reinstalled it is modified to fit or completely left out of the vehicle. You do not need to make any statements saying you removed anything yourself, simply that this is a common thing that is done when a rally car is prepped. Please include your name, years in the rallying, how many cars you have prepped (if you work for a shop that has), your team name, and place it on company or team letterhead.

Thanks for your support!

Fax Number: (253) 295-8619

Brian
#419 '91 Honda Civic Si
www.bigredracing.net
 
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when is the court date?

Show up to court with pictures of your dash installation, and of all the other locations in the vehicle that the VIN remains.

If you can get a picture of a stock Civic to demonstrate how the cage work required the removal of the dash and/or VIN, that may be helpful as well.

Based on my brother's experiences with the court system in CO, I doubt they will do anything to you.

In fact, I would see about talking to the district attorney or whomever is handling the case for the state and suggest to them that it's a waste of taxpayer resources to even see it through.
 

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eating dust taking photos
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Brian,

E-mail the RMSolo guys, enough of them are probably lawyers and the like, they might have some more ideas about how to fight this.


This totally sucks though, first the cops jived you over abotu those missing/stolen seats even after you found the POS that stole the seats and even had them, now this.


Normally Stateys are cool guys but damn. Best of luck man.
 

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Brian, you should have a VIN tag in the driver's door jamb. It should be riveted on an older Honda. Neither the dash tag nor door tag are permanent fixtures because of the rivets. The VIN is stamped in the metal on the firewall, near the top under the hood. this is a permanent number. Providing you have the remainder of the proper numbers I would snap some pics, take the car and go to court.

With the increase of stolen stuff , especially Hondas, the kids here in Washington now have to carry reciepts for engine swaps. If the police see a B16 in an old Civic and no reciept they have impounded a few. Good luck, Gene
 

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>or who
>knowingly possesses a motor vehicle or motor vehicle part
>containing a removed, altered, or obliterated vehicle
>identification number, manufacturer's number, or engine number
>commits a class 5 felony.
>
>If you own a rally car, or work for a shop that has prepped
>one or more cars I'm asking for your help. I'm trying to
>gather as many statements from persons in the national rally
>community to help support my case and the fact I am in no
>wrong.

To me, it seems as though the Colorado law is pretty cut and dry. If you remove the VIN or own a car with a removed VIN, then you are commiting a felony.

The fact that other people do it for good reason doesn't mean anything. I agree that the law is harsh, but I understand why it was written. I think your best bet is to talk to the prosecutors/police/judge, beg for leniancy (I'm sure you'll get it if you can prove ownership, etc.), and then try and figure out how to get your VIN back onto the dashboard. Do you still have it?
 

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I am not here anymore
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>To me, it seems as though the Colorado law is pretty cut and
>dry. If you remove the VIN or own a car with a removed VIN,
>then you are commiting a felony.

Well, it could be argued that parts removed as part of installation of the cage constitute legitimate repairs. He needs someone more familiar with the state laws to determine this for sure.

>The fact that other people do it for good reason doesn't mean
>anything. I agree that the law is harsh, but I understand why
>it was written. I think your best bet is to talk to the
>prosecutors/police/judge, beg for leniancy (I'm sure you'll
>get it if you can prove ownership, etc.), and then try and
>figure out how to get your VIN back onto the dashboard. Do
>you still have it?

Remember that, unless it is based on knowledge of Colorado law, any advice that offered here is pure conjecture.

Having said that, I agree that you should talk to the prosecutor/police, offering proof that you own the car, proof that it is used in competition and proof that the VIN plate was removed in the process of the installation of the rollcage. If you still have the VIN plate, offer to mitigate by installing the plate somewhere else visible from the lower left corner of the windscreen.

alan
 

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I wouldn't talk to a DA, they're not one your side. Just my experience. I would get a lawyer. Have the lawyer speak with or write a letter to the DA. DA's won't respect you.
 

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Well to avoid this problem we either glue or rivet the vin back into the dash and leave all the other Vins on the car, Some cars ahve the Vin stamped into the firewall but most just have the chassis code not the entire vin as this would be very expensive to do it for each car and if you have to replace the firewall then it would make it hard. All of that being said I think your best chance would be to explain why ou did what you did and give photo evidence of everything as well as all the remaining matching Vin plates on the car!
 

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don't cut
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>I wouldn't talk to a DA, they're not one your side. Just my
>experience. I would get a lawyer. Have the lawyer speak with
>or write a letter to the DA. DA's won't respect you.

In Wisconsin I've had very good luck talking to the DA directly. These guys are usually busy enough, they don't want to bother with crap. In one case I wrote a very detailed letter explaining everything, but the DA was a hardass and wouldn't let it go...until his boss saw it on his desk, realized the case was a loser, and made him drop it. It certainly doesn't hurt to try.

Also, I've showed law enforcement officers the firewall VIN before, and they accepted it without question. I can see the reasoning for the dash VIN law (so that the law can quickly ID possible stolen cars), but these kind of offenses are usually used as tack ons to existing and bigger offenses. As long as you are forthwright and respectful, and I can't imagine they will stick you with it.

This has a potential effect on the rest of the rally community, so be sure to keep us all informed. We need a clarification of the law so that there isn't a mass raid during Parc Expose at Cog this year!

Good Luck,

Dennis Martin
[email protected]
920-432-4845
 

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Four tree two remember Andrew
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Brian:

Please contact me off list at wvonkessler - at - comcast dot net.

Wilson von Kessler
 

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eating dust taking photos
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While it may or may not help Brian out you can believe that something will be done to get this cleared up.


Heck I'll contact resources with the State Patrol and work with the counties or Pikes Peak (bigger concern as its looms closer, but smaller concern because of the hill climbs relationship) and figure it out if need be.
 

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BAAAAAAAMM
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Discussion Starter #13
The attorneys I have been in contact with have recommended my current course of action, to get companies that prep these cars to state this is a standard course of action. As well most of them really think this is a waste of time on Colorado's part and laughed when hearing this is really the only charge. Simply one State Patrol Officer going too far off one side of the law. They investigated the car for theft, although after looking at the firewall and on the doorsill I'm sure they'll conclude it is not stolen, I have owned the car for 6 years.

The first court date is on Monday the 21st, I am planning to fax the DA the statements I gather from car prep shops by tomorrow and also gather as much other support as I can. Beyond that I will wait to speak with the DA until I hear the formal charges and, if need be, hire a lawyer to do the rest if it comes to that.

Brian
 

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Ok, so lets say (hypothetically) that I bought a car on ebay, and that the guy I bought it from said it was "salvage only", and that the insurance company had removed the VIN. The VIN was on seven more places on the car, and I checked with CarFax, and it said the car was clean, so I bought it.

So I am now in possesion of this hypothetical car, so I am now commiting a hypothetical felony?? Did the insurance company also commit a felony by removing it in the first place? If I send it to the junkyard is the junkyard owner now commiting a felony by possessing it? Where does it end? How do I solve it? I assume it is not stolen, and it is a perfectly decent little hypothetical car. I certainly can't find a VIN tag for it. Can one get a new VIN tag from the factory?
 

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>
>
>Can one get a new VIN tag from the factory?

I don't know but in michigan you can get a new(reconstruted) vin number and they print it on an embossed, metalic sticker and slap it over the old one.
Perhaps that is something looking into, whether or not the secretary of state and/or police station can print off the existing or a new one and putting it in a decent spot for poky law officers to see.

-matt
 

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>Ok, so lets say (hypothetically) that I bought a car on ebay,
>and that the guy I bought it from said it was "salvage only",
>and that the insurance company had removed the VIN. The VIN
>was on seven more places on the car, and I checked with
>CarFax, and it said the car was clean, so I bought it.
>
>So I am now in possesion of this hypothetical car, so I am now
>commiting a hypothetical felony?? Did the insurance company
>also commit a felony by removing it in the first place? If I
>send it to the junkyard is the junkyard owner now commiting a
>felony by possessing it? Where does it end? How do I solve
>it? I assume it is not stolen, and it is a perfectly decent
>little hypothetical car. I certainly can't find a VIN tag for
>it. Can one get a new VIN tag from the factory?

As far as I know, the insurance co. should not remove the VIN tag, even if it has a "salvage" title. I believe the only instance where a VIN can be removed is if it is a "scrap" title car...and then I haven't seen them necessarily take the VIN. My guess is that your hypothetical car salesman took the hypothetical VIN plate and has a hypothetical duplicate title for the car, which is very easy to get...and plans on using it on another hypothetical car...speaking hypothetically.

Salvage titled cars can not be driven on the road (at least in MI) until they are inspected by a cop and he fills out a REBUILT title application for you. Once inspected and passed, you can get a "rebuilt" title from the Sec. of State (who acts as our DMV). Same VIN. You just get a different color title depending on whether its a clear, salvage, rebuilt, or scrap title.

Some insurance companies frown on insuring rebuilt cars, from what I understand.
 

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Next time...Use a trailer!

Also, you need a lawyer. While it is not clear if you are actually charged with a felony, calls for help or advice on the internet is not going to help much.

Do not try and represent yourself. (If it is a felony, you will not have a choice about a lawyer--the court should not allow anything to proceed before ascertaining you have representation, unless things are real bizarre in Colorado)
 

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>I'm sure they'll conclude it is not stolen.....

Don't be sure of anything.

One of my RX-7s (not a rally car) had a sun baked, cracked defroster vent. The factory rivets the VIN tag to the ***PLASTIC*** defroster vent (NO the VIN does NOT attach to metal).

Like a dumb a$$ I pointed out to the inspector that the VIN plate was loose when the vehicle went though pre-registration inspection in Connecticut. Well, things got ugly. What was supposed to take an hour and cost about $150 (registration, inspection, etc) ended up in two flatbed towings, a whole day, over $600, and them taking my VIN plate and replacing it with a Connecticut replacement VIN sticker on my door frame.

After several years I had the time to pursue it, have MAZDA make a new VIN, etc. But I'm still out $600.

More of your tax dollars being wasted by our governments.
 
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