What are some federal motor vehicle crimes?
Federal motor vehicle offenses include theft or attempted theft of a motor vehicle, transporting or receiving stolen vehicles or parts, insurance fraud, carjackings, grand theft auto, and grand larceny. Vehicles that are considered motor vehicles involve those vehicles that are self-propelled and do not require the use of a rail system, and eliminates those vehicle that can only be used on the water, or that would not normally be used on a public throughway.
What constitutes a federal motor vehicle crime
For a crime to qualify for Federal status, certain criteria must be met. The crime must involve one or more of the following situations to qualify as a Federal crime, and must involve the use of a motor vehicle to be considered a Federal motor vehicle
- Immigration law violations
- Controlled substance violations
- Bank larceny or robbery
- Gun law violations
- Postal offenses
- Mail or wire fraud, computer crimes
- Child pornography or kidnapping
- Crimes that occur on Federal lands or property
- Crimes that are interstate in nature
Federal crimes involving motor vehicles history
Since 1919 the Federal Government has been passing laws designed to protect the consumer from the threats of car thieves and fraudulent motor vehicle activity. The first laws enacted helped local law enforcement deal with the jurisdictional issues of stolen vehicles being transported across state lines. In 1969 the government got involved again to institute the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the use of VIN numbers on all vehicles.
This tenet was taken further in 1984 when Congress enacted the Motor Vehicle Theft Law Enforcement Act as a way to reduce the number of cars stolen by stating that 12 major parts, in addition to the engine and transmission, were required to carry the VIN number from the manufacturer. This was an attempt to minimize the advantages many professional ‘chop shops’ had when receiving stolen vehicles and cutting them up for parts. Once the vehicles were dismantled, there was no way to determine where the parts came from. This act also included criminal penalties for the removal of VIN numbers, and interstate trafficking in stolen vehicles and parts under RICO (federal racketeering statutes), and finally included the counterfeit or forgery of motor vehicle title certificates as a federal offense.
In 1992 the Anti-Car Theft Act of 1992 brought armed carjacking into the federal sphere, making it a federal crime to own, maintain, operate, or control a chop shop. This added dealing in stolen marked parts to the federal crimes roster, and expanded the original Act to include passenger vans and utility vehicles.
Motor vehicle crimes found in federal court
Motor vehicle theft encompasses the physical act of stealing a car, either by breaking and entering, towing the car, stealing the keys, by force as in a carjacking or under fraudulent means such as paying for a rental car or new vehicle purchase with a fraudulent check or counterfeit money.
Other federal motor vehicle crimes include transporting a stolen vehicle, receiving a stolen vehicle, removing vehicle identification numbers, conspiracies, hauling contraband weapons or illegal drugs across state lines, and various white-collar crimes. Most vehicle crimes are tried at the state level, with the Federal Government electing to prosecute a mere 3% of all crimes involving vehicles that meet the criteria for prosecution.
As a former prosecutor with the US Army JAG Corps and the US Attorney’s Office, Attorney Calcagni is well versed in the prosecution and defense of all types of federal criminal cases. This experience is invaluable in his ability to defend accused individuals on trial for federal crimes.
If you or a loved one have been charged with a federal motor vehicle crime, call Federal Defense Attorney John L. Calcagni, III at (401) 351-5100 today for a free consultation.