Auto -Title ownership and criminal issues I purchased an auto about 25 years ago.

Auto -Title ownership and criminal issues
I purchased an auto about 25 years ago. With access to the internet of today, I am told it is likely the vin was replaced on a stolen car. I have had the car registered in my name for the past 25 years to what is the vin on the bill of sale. My question is have all the statue of limitations run both in ownership to this auto and any criminal acts. In no way or form did I suspect I was buying or receiving stolen property nor am I able to confirm that at this point. What should I do to clear the title to this auto. Thank you.

One thought on “Auto -Title ownership and criminal issues I purchased an auto about 25 years ago.

  1. Re: Auto -Title ownership and criminal issues
    The California statute of limitations on actions for return of stolen property was three years. In 1983, the California legislature amended this statute to impose a “discovery” exception, tolling the statute until the owner of the stolen property had knowledge of its whereabouts. The exception applies only to property of historical, interpretive, scientific or artistic significance.
    California law has never really recognized an adverse possession concept in personal property law, and that consequently it might be possible for someone to be subject to criminal prosecution for dealing in or failing to return stolen personal property even when the civil statute of limitations for actions compelling its return had expired. The court indicated that it would not attempt to resolve that confusion here. In fact, at least according to Witkin – a generally acknowledged authority – California law does recognize that title to personal property will pass to the possessor following the running of the three year limitations period. Under your factual circumstances so far, your best bet might be to formally consult with an attorney and/or run trace reports on the VIN number at issue in order to hopefully “quiet title” for the vehicle at issue in your name once and for all legally. If you would like further assistance, contact us today.

    H.M. Torrey
    The Law Offices of H.M. Torrey
    800 West El Camino Real, Suite 180
    Mountain View, CA 94040

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