Car licensing question

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I gave an old clunker car to a friend / neighbor who is down and out. I simply signed and dated the title, putting his name and address on it in the appropriate spaces.
I left my plates on it so he wouldn't be pulled over on the way to the courthouse to transfer the title. A while later he said he hadn't transferred the title into his name, because he had a warrant out for him due to unpaid fines, and he was afraid if a cop called his plates in, he'd get pulled over and put in jail. Hence he wants to continue to drive with my plates on it until he can find someone else who will let him put the car in their name. If it weren't for the plates thing, I wouldn't feel I had any liability in the event of an accident -- since I signed off on the title, and dated it, etc. as stated above. But I think that since I didn't take my plates off of it, I would in fact be responsible if he has an accident resulting in damage / injury to someone else. He said if that actually happened (and he's being "extra careful" you know) -- I could just say we forgot to take them off at the time, and I couldn't get back with him afterward to get them... and hence I wouldn't really be in trouble. I had taken my insurance off the car the day after I gave it to him. This is a close friend of 30+ years but he's one of those "fly under the radar types" (hence the unpaid fines and the situation he's in now.) I got concerned today and put my previous liability insurance back on it, just in case something happened, in which case I'd be covered if it was determined to still technically be my car -- even though I'd signed away the title. But having done that may further suggest my culpability in the event of an accident. Note that I am already aware of the fact that this whole thing is a bad idea, and I request that nobody beats me up too badly in this forum with their replies. The guy in question here is basically homeless, staying with friends here and there, whilst he tries to find work (which is VERY hard to find around here -- rural area). So basically, I gave him some wheels, and paid to have his cell phone turned on so he could then find and perform work and get back on his feet. I know he'd be in trouble if he gets caught driving like that, since it's a huge no-no to drive a car with the incorrect plates on it, but what are the legal ramifications for me? The more responses I get to this, the better, and the more intellegent and concise they are -- even better yet. Then I can show them to him and offer it as proof that it's a horrible idea. Obviously, I can't ask the cops, etc about it (they'd want to know more), and the people at the Motor Vehicle Registration place may not have a difinitive answer, and I don't want to consult a lawyer. Actually it's such a stupid dilemma that I don't want to ask anyone except in an anonymous discussion room where people can ask as crazy a question as they want..TIA
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Very simple. You still own the car. It is still registered to you. If the police wee to run the plates or the VIN, your name is going to pop up. He is, essentially, driving YOUR uninsured vehicle.
Either get the car off the road or put the insurance back on the car. The people that sue you will not care that you wee trying to be a nice guy. You have liability since it is still your car according to the DMV
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On Fri, 11 Jun 2010 05:54:08 -0400, "Ed Pawlowski"

Don't think the insurance route will work because you're essentially defrauding the ins company. Ask the agent if you can insure the car with a guy with an arrest warrant on him driving it. Guess what he'll say? And if you don't reveal that it's fraud. I'd report the car stolen and explain to the police what happened. Tell you friend first to give him the option of doing the title transfer, else you'll report it stolen. BTW, I had to go do a deposition in front of the State's Attorney for a neighbor I translated for when she sold her old car. The guy who bought it turned out to be an illegal Mexican and that same day he smashed it into a Caddy driven by an old lady, totaled both cars and hurt the old lady pretty bad. He was arrested at the scene drunk, but skipped bond and fled to Mexico. Everybody and their brother came after my neighbor. Without my deposition she would have been toast. I took the State's Attorney advice to heart and after that always demand a title notarized transfer whether buying or selling. Otherwise the car is owned by whoever's name is recorded by the state as being on the title. Here that means a trip to a currency exchange where the buyer pays the fees, and the exchange notarizes and sends the paperwork to the state. Those exchanges are all around here near Chicago. The fee is $30 and worth it to me. The guy I bought my Grand Am from didn't want to go the exchange and trusted me - I did the transfer within an hour - but about 3 others took the trip with me when I told them it was best for them. Gave a car to my brother and made him go with me to the exchange to do the transfer. No sense worrying when you can do it right. I like my house. Maybe your bank notary could legalize the transfer too, but I never looked into it.
--Vic
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On Fri, 11 Jun 2010 01:05:01 -0700, dog snipped-for-privacy@msn.com (dog arms) wrote:

BIG mistake. Never, ever do that. You are liable.

You are now screwed if he gets pulled over.

Get your plates back NOW. Just take them, don't ask, don't tell... If he objects, call the police.

You may still be liable, you should have marched him to the DMV and done the transfer right there and then. And/or required him to process the title, get plates (or a transit plate) before he moved the car.

There is possibly a criminal aspect to this too...

If it happened, (and no, he's not "extra careful", since he's wanted by the law, and lied to you...) the law is likely to assume you were a willing participant.

You're screwed if anything happens. And if your state has manditory insurance, you are double screwed.

uh, what can one say?

I recommend you do the following.
1. Get your plates back. Get the title transfered, or take the car back.
2. If you can't do #1 above, report the plates stolen, immediately.
You are right, it is a really stupid dilemma. And it is much better to talk to the cops now, than later when he gets stopped. And judging from his total lack of judgement, that will happen, likely sooner than later.
Oh, you say: "But he's a friend..." Well, my answer is that friends don't put their friends in prediciments the way this guy has done to you.
You are at major risk here, act quickly or you could not only loose everything, but end up charged with a crime (mis-use of plates, failure to maintain insurance, and a few others come to mind.)
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If you have an extra set of keys, RUN do not walk and TAKE BACK your car, as soon as possible. What you did was NOT legal!
Regardless of what you hear in this NG YOU are still the legal owner of that uninsured vehicle and LIABLE for any damage caused by THE car, no mater whom is driving at the time.
Titles MUST be transferred before a licensed transfer agent of your state, to be sure the signatories are who they claim to be. Signing a title as you did voided that title! You will need to apply to the state for a duplicate title so you can transfer it legally.
Notify you insurance agent to reinsure your vehicle until you can properly and legally transfer ownership. You are the one in trouble if he gets caught driving and has an accident

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Mike Hunter wrote:

Depends on the way the state laws are written regarding title transfer.
In this case the title transfer is OK BUT the plates and registration are not.

Not in all states. NY says you just sign over the title and they own the car. They then have 30 days to apply for a title in their name (unless you are junking the car, in which case the title gets filled out in a different spot) YOU are required to remove the registration tag from the glass, the inspection sticker and the plates. Turn in the plates or transfer them to another vehicle you own.

Both of them will face major problems if something happens. Accident or even a traffic stop.

--
Steve W.
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I do not know of any Title state that allows an individual to transfer a title, but you are free to believe whatever you choose.
Like I said in my post, regardless of what one hears in this NG, he is still the legal owner of that uninsured vehicle and LIABLE for any damage caused by THE car, no mater whom is driving at the time.
The fact is the owner of a vehicle is libel from what ever losses occur as a result of an accident, regardless of what you chose to believe. I had one of my companies trucks stolen, the thief was involved in a multi-vehicle accident and my privately owned (LLC) company was responsible for the loss. Thank goodness I had a large coverage policy.
If what you believe was true, one could easily copy the Vin # through the windshield, apply for a duplicate title and sell your car to some unwitting buyer.

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Mike Hunter wrote:

In NY it is simple. I sell you a car. I fill in the section on the rear of the title with your name, address and sign that I am the legal owner and have the right to sell you the car. Fill in the odometer reading.
You then have 30 days to visit the DMV and file for a new title in your name. At that time you can also register the vehicle and get plates if you wish.
If the vehicle is being junked you fill out the same information except you sign the section stating that the vehicle is being scrapped and taken off the road.

Yep. The listed owner is responsible. However if I am driving your car and have your permission AND I have a vehicle with my own insurance, they will usually go after my insurance for the total loss.

Stolen vehicles can be interesting.

Not without having the rest of the owners information to apply for the title. You have to have more than just the VIN.
http://www.nysdmv.com/title/default.html
--
Steve W.
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That may be your opinion, but I was Group Sales Manager for a multi-franchised new car retail business that operated in NY state, as well as six other east cost title states. In NY, as with every other title state, the signatories signatures MUST be notarized for the Title to be legally transferred. Signing and handing off a Title voids the Title.
Think about, If what you believe to be true was true, anyone could fill in the section on the rear of YOUR stolen title with your name, address and sign it and sell YOUR vehicle. We would not even cut a key for someone with just a VIN#, let alone accept a car in trade unless the people trading a car could prove they were actually the owner signing the title for the car they were trading.
In most Title states, the have minimum insurance laws, one must show proof of insurance before we could transfer a Title to a new owner. In PA and NJ a copy of the of the owners drivers license must be attached to the MV transfer form. If the new owned is not currently a licensed driver, a copy of the person driving the car off the lot must be attached
As to getting YOUR information have your ever head of Google? ;)

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On 6/12/2010 11:41 AM, Mike Hunter wrote:

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Ya right.

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Mike Hunter wrote:

Maybe you should read the actual LAWS in NY. The way I described it is how it has been done in NY since titles started in 1973.
Dealers have a few extra steps because they have to file the certificate of origin and their dealer info along with the sales tax paperwork before they can sell you the vehicle.
Has nothing to do with "what I believe" or what "my opinion" is.
How about this straight from the NY DMV instructions-
http://www.nysdmv.com/regtransfer.htm#sell
Transfer the Ownership of Your Vehicle:
The proof of ownership for a new vehicle is the Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin (MCO) or the Manufacturer's Statement of Origin (MSO) and form MV-50 (Dealer's Bill of Sale). The proof of ownership for a used vehicle purchased from a dealer is the title certificate that the previous owner signed to transfer the ownership to the dealer and a form MV-50 that the dealer signs to transfer ownership to you. Out-of-state dealers use a different bill of sale form.
If you buy a vehicle, a boat, an ATV, or a snowmobile from another person who is not a DMV-licensed automobile dealer or receive it as a gift, make sure that you receive acceptable proof of ownership.
Bill of Sale: Proof of ownership normally includes a bill of sale. The DMV does not provide a form for a bill of sale. The SELLER and the BUYER complete the bill of sale. If the vehicle is transferred as a gift, indicate this on the bill of sale and indicate that the purchase price is $0. You must also indicate the vehicle is a gift on form DTF-802 (Statement of Transaction {Sales Tax Form}). An acceptable bill of sale includes all of this information:
* the year and make of the vehicle, boat or ATV, * the vehicle identification number (VIN) or the hull identification number (HIN), * the date of the sale, * the purchase price of the vehicle or the boat, and * the names and signatures of the bBUYER and the SELLER.
The buyer and seller can make photocopies of the bill of sale to keep in their records. The new owner must give the original bill of sale to the DMV with the other acceptable proofs of ownership required. A bill of sale is not an acceptable proof of ownership without other proofs. Acceptable Proofs of Ownership
Cars, Trucks and Motorcycles - model year 1973 or newer
The acceptable proof of ownership is a title certificate from any state and a bill of sale. The person whose name appears on the proof of ownership must sign the transfer section of the proof of ownership.
If the seller has a title certificate that was transferred to the seller by another person, the seller cannot use that title certificate to transfer the ownership to you. The seller must apply for a title certificate only and transfer the new title certificate to you.
Your name must appear on the title certificate as the buyer.
Make sure that the information listed on the title certificate is not altered, erased or changed. If any information is altered, erased or changed, the current owner must get a duplicate title certificate and use the duplicate to transfer the ownership to you.
Think about, If what you believe to be true was true, anyone could fill in the section on the rear of YOUR stolen title with your name, address and sign it and sell YOUR vehicle. We would not even cut a key for someone with just a VIN#, let alone accept a car in trade unless the people trading a car could prove they were actually the owner signing the title for the car they were trading.
As far as a theft of the title if they have access to the title then you screwed up. It is the ONLY proof in NY that is accepted as proof of ownership (unless it's a pre-title vehicle in which case the registration serves that purpose).
They will also need to forge the signatures on the bill of sale and the title, and if the vehicle has a lien against it they will have a LOT of fun.

Proof of insurance is only needed to register a vehicle for operation on the roads. For a title only no proof is needed. I have 4 vehicles sitting in the back shop that are only titled to me. They are waiting for some major restoration before they will ever be registered.
I've only been buying and selling cars in NY for about 35 years and if you add up the bikes, ATVs, cars, trucks, boats through the years it totals probably 500 vehicles.
Had to have a notary ONE time. That was in the instance of a vehicle that the owners had passed away with no listed beneficiary. Took a while and a bunch of paperwork.
--
Steve W.

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500? We did that many in a day among all of our franchises.
All you needed was a death certificate and a POI. The fact remains the signatories signatures MUST be notarized in NY, period.

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Mike Hunter wrote:

Must be nice to have a failure of understanding like you have. A Notary is not and has NEVER been required in NY state for a title transfer unless there are VERY unusual circumstances. The normal procedure is to sign the transfer section on the back of the title, fill in the odometer statement and the owner is done.
And FYI unless you are a member of the family you cannot get a copy of a death certificate in NY.
Since you obviously cannot read the NY instructions and refuse to believe what NY has written on the back of EVERY title it issues in the state which says NOTHING about a notary, I'll let you live in your delusional world.
--
Steve W.

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Seems you are the one having a problem. You are correct. the signatures do not need to be notarized IF THE OWNER goes to the MVD, proves he is the owner and does the transfer, but in as in the case presented, that was not the case, he simply signed the title and handed it off to the buyer. That simple is NOT legal in ANY Title state, no mater what you believe you read or what you want to believe, for the reasons I previously posted.

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Mike Hunter wrote:

No YOU are wrong. There is NO requirement that the current owner go to the DMV. NONE.
All the current owner has to do is fill out the back of their title. On it you sign your name as the owner, fill in the odometer statement and date. Fill out a bill of sale form and collect your money. Remove the tags and inspection sticker as well as your registration and your done.
The new owner then goes to the DMV, files an application for title/registration in their name. Shows proof of identity and pays any sales tax needed. If they are also going to register it then they show proof of insurance and pay for the plates. DMV will give them a temp registration, 10 day tag for inspection and say have a nice day.
New owner comes back, puts on plates, sticks ten day and temp reg tag in the window and drives home.
OR if they are going out of state and are not registering it in NY they get a temp tag and stick it in the back window.
Regardless that is all you do for a private sale. Nothing else needed.
--
Steve W.

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This is the last time I will try to educate you on this subject. I did not say he HAD to go, I said IF he goes go the to the DMV, the signature does not need to be notarized, because he can probe that to the DMV agent.
Guys like you are the reason I said "regardless of what you hear in this NG, go get YOUR car, what you did was not legal." I can only hope the guy that made the original post and took the advice that I, and at least three others gave him, and took back his car or at least is plate(S) before that Jaboany he gave the title to, got into an accident with HIS uninsured car.
Think about what you posted Steve, it does not stand up to reason.. How does the BMV know the person that signed the back of the title, was in fact the owner if the signature is not notarized?

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Mike Hunter wrote:

The signature(s) do not have to be notarized EITHER WAY... NEVER.
The NEW OWNER is the ONLY one who has to visit the DMV.

He should have removed the plates and the registration sticker and inspection sticker. Then signed over the title.

Maybe because the owners name, address and all the rest is ON FILE, Along with the signature on their drivers license. If you take the title in and the signature matches the name and what was on file when you applied for the original title you are all set.

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On 06/12/2010 07:14 PM, Steve W. wrote:

People still read "Mike's" posts? Delusional describes just about everything he's ever posted and claimed. Just move on, nothing (new) to see here.
nate
--
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
http://members.cox.net/njnagel
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Nate Nagel wrote:

What amazes me is how he cannot read simple instructions. NY DMV has them on every title and on the web site and ALL of them show he is wrong. I guess he just can't admit being wrong. Oh well.
--
Steve W.

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