Car rebirthing is the process of stealing a car and then giving it a new identity. Car rebirthers give a rebirthed car a new identity by changing its Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), chassis number, and other identifying features. They generally do this to sell the stolen car for profit.
Moreover, car rebirthing is a serious problem because it can have a number of negative consequences. For the victims of car theft, it can be a very stressful and expensive experience. Vehicle theft can also be dangerous, as parties often use stolen vehicles for other crimes.
For car buyers, buying a rebirthed car can be a financial disaster. The car may have hidden damage, or it may be encumbered with finance or lease payments. In some cases, the car may even be seized by the police, leaving the buyer with nothing.
What Does the Crimes Act 1900 Say?
Section 154G of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) outlines the offence of facilitating organised car, boat or trailer rebirthing activities. This offence is punishable by a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment.
A person commits this offence if they knowingly facilitate a car, boat or trailer rebirthing activity on an organised basis. Furthermore, a boat, trailer, or car rebirthing activity involves one or more of the following:
- Stealing or receiving a stolen car, boat or trailer
- Interfering with a car, boat or trailer to conceal the fact that it is stolen
- Affixing stolen parts to a car, boat or trailer
- Interfering with a unique identifier on a car, boat or trailer to disguise or misrepresent its identity
- Registering a stolen car, boat or trailer, or a car, boat or trailer with stolen parts affixed to it
- Supplying or offering to supply a stolen car, boat or trailer
A person facilitates a car, boat or trailer rebirthing activity if they:
- Take any step in the activity
- Provide or arrange finance for any step in the activity; or
- Provide the premises in which any step in the activity is taken.
If multiple participants plan and structure the rebirthing activity of a car, boat or trailer for profit or gain, they are “organising” the activity.
Telltale Signs of Car Rebirthing
There are a number of signs that someone may have attempted to rebirth a car, including:
- If it seems like someone has tampered with the VIN number or chassis number. This could include signs of grinding, scratching, or over-stamping.
- The car may have different paint on different panels. This could be a sign that someone has repaired the car after damage in an accident.
- The car may have mismatched parts. This could be a sign that someone has assembled from parts from different cars.
- The car may have a history of being written off.
Do you notice any of these car rebirthing signs? If yes, then it is important to have the car inspected by a qualified mechanic before you buy it.
How to Avoid Buying Rebirthed Cars?
Buying a rebirthed car can be a nightmare for unsuspecting buyers. Criminals who engage in car rebirthing take stolen cars, change their identities, and sell them to unsuspecting buyers. To avoid buying a rebirthed car, here are some tips:
1. Check the car’s VIN: The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is a unique code that identifies a car. Check the car’s VIN against official records to ensure that it has not been stolen or rebirthed. You can check the VIN with appropriate government agencies or your state bureau of motor vehicles.
2. Conduct a title search: Conduct a title search of the motor vehicle to ensure that it has not been involved in any accidents or major repairs. Click here if you want to do a vehicle registration check in NSW. Analyse the ownership pattern for any new or late-model vehicle with no lien holder (i.e., no outstanding car loans – the seller tells you the car is “paid off”).
3. Have a certified mechanic inspect the vehicle: Have a certified mechanic inspect the vehicle prior to purchasing it. They can check for any signs of tampering or damage that may indicate that someone has attempted to rebirth the car.
4. Avoid buying from unknown sellers: Be careful about purchasing a used vehicle from someone you don’t know. These bogus sellers may be running an online ad and using a second or fake cell phone number. Additionally, proceed with caution when buying from a private seller or a dealership. If something feels off, look elsewhere. There are plenty of used cars on the market.
5. Trust your instincts: In some cases, car price are too good to be true or the seller is overly eager to sell you the car. These car rebirthing sellers may also urge you to skip steps in the car-buying process to cover up the car theft incident. If these sound all too familiar, trust your instincts. Between other sellers and used car dealerships, there are plenty of legitimate vehicle options out there.
FAQs About Car Rebirthing
Q: What is a car rebirthing?
A: Car rebirthing is a criminal activity in which parties give a stolen vehicle a new identity and then sell it to unsuspecting buyers.
Q: What are the penalties for a car rebirthing offence in Australia?
A: The penalty for this crime is 14 years of imprisonment
Q: How can I protect myself from car rebirthing?
A: Consumers can protect themselves from car rebirthing by conducting thorough checks before purchasing a used car. An expert mechanic can help with these thorough checks.
Q: What if I bought a rebirthed car in Australia and found out after making the payment? Can I seek legal advice?
A: If you have bought a rebirthed car in Australia and found out after making the payment, you can seek legal advice. The penalties for car rebirthing can be severe, with offenders facing fines and imprisonment. Moreover, criminal lawyers can work with expert mechanics and other government institutions to fight for your rights.
How Can JB Solicitors Help With Car Rebirthing Offences?
There are a number of reasons why it is important to seek legal advice about car rebirthing. Firstly, car rebirthing is a serious crime, and the penalties can be severe. If you are successful in pressing charges against the seller, they could face a prison sentence for vehicle rebirthing activities.
Secondly, it is important to ensure that you prepare and present your case properly in court. A criminal lawyer can help you gather the necessary evidence and build a strong argument. Thirdly, a criminal lawyer can help you protect your own interests. Moreover, if the court finds the seller guilty, you may receive compensation for any losses that you have suffered.
JB Solicitors can help you negotiate with the seller’s insurance company or pursue a civil claim in court. Are you considering pressing charges against the seller of a rebirthed car you recently bought?
Lastly, contact our criminal lawyers today and schedule a consultation.