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A Tale of Two Trailers

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What is the name of your state? California
I would like to address this question to anyone who would like to comment, lawyer or not. I own two utility trailers. One, I had never followed through registering, because I found out it was going to cost too much to get it current, so I kept it parked. I have used my other trailer, which a few weeks ago was stolen. It happened, that at the time of the theft, I had the license plate for it. Also, I never reported it, because of the unlikelyhood of retrieving a trailer that I don't even have a picture of, and doesn't even have the license plate (which would be taken off anyway.) Now here's my dilemma. I can either pay the back registration fees, which is much more than the trailer is even worth, or I can 'borrow' the registration and license plate of the stolen trailer. Which would you do, and how serious is an offense of doing such a thing???


"Borrowing" the registration and plate for the stolen trailer is illegal. Don't you think it's a bit out of line for you to ask those here to recommend that you commit an illegal act?

Be legal and register the trailer legitimately. If you get caught, you would be subject to penalties and still would have to register the trailer. It will cost you more in the long run.


I didn't ask anyone to recommend a single thing. I asked, 'what would you (each respondent) do,' and how serious an offense is it. Thanks for letting me know what you would do. -joe-


Senior Member
joecitizen said:
I didn't ask anyone to recommend a single thing. I asked, 'what would you (each respondent) do,' and how serious an offense is it. Thanks for letting me know what you would do. -joe-

My response:

So, you need to be "told what to do" by someone else?



Why would you be required to pay "back registration"? As long as you are storing the trailer on private land I don't believe there is any requirement to have it registered until you use it.

Registration Required

4000. (1) No person shall drive, move, or leave standing upon a highway, or in an offstreet public parking facility, any motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, pole or pipe dolly, or logging dolly, unless it is registered and the appropriate fees have been paid under this code or registered under the permanent trailer identification program, except that an off-highway motor vehicle which displays an identification plate or device issued by the department pursuant to Section 38010 may be driven, moved, or left standing in an offstreet public parking facility without being registered or paying registration fees.

(2) For purposes of this subdivision, "offstreet public parking facility" means either of the following:

(A) Any publicly owned parking facility.

(B) Any privately owned parking facility for which no fee for the privilege to park is charged and which is held open for the common public use of retail customers.

(3) This subdivision does not apply to any motor vehicle stored in a privately owned offstreet parking facility by, or with the express permission of, the owner of the privately owned offstreet parking facility.


I don't beleive I'd try it, Joecitizen. The trailer still in your possesion either has differing "vin" # as that shown on the registration or has none at all, which in my state (OR) means a trip to the DMV for official "vin"numbers. I've been through that process with a homebuilt trailer of my own. Not hard, except in your case, hoping that the new DMV # happens to match the one on the regisration you still possess (not very likely:confused: ).
At any rate, you'll be towing a trailer which doesn't match the registration you're carrying. Along with tickets, fines and having to pay any relevant fees, it seems you'd be placing yourself in position for possible arrest for possesion of a stolen trailer and probable confiscation of that trailer until you can prove ownership. This, for me, would ruin any excursion requiring that I have a trailer in tow.
In short, I'd bite the bullet and pay the reg fees.
I'm no lawyer, but as you requested, that's what I'd do, and why.
Lotsa luck

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