Both the federal government and the State of Florida have put laws in place that work to protect consumers from odometer fraud. Florida Statutes 319.35 makes it a third-degree felony to “knowingly tamper with, adjust, alter, set back, disconnect or fail to connect” an odometer of a motor vehicle so as to show a lower number of miles than the motor vehicle has actually been driven. A conviction for odometer fraud carries up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Here’s how odometer fraud hurts people as used car buyers:
- Payment of increased sales tax as a result of the inflated price.
- Higher insurance premiums as a result of lower mileage.
- More frequent maintenance and repair costs.
- Reduced vehicle safety for the driver and passengers.
The Prosecution Has the Burden of Proving You Guilty
Tampa is one of the hotbeds of Florida odometer fraud. Our experienced and effective Tampa criminal defense attorneys know the issues that prosecutors face when they try to prove tampering with a vehicle’s odometer. Remember that you’re presumed innocent. The prosecution has the burden of proving you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Over the years, we’ve been able to raise countless reasonable doubts on behalf of our clients.
Don’t Give a Statement or Confession
Even innocent victims of odometer fraud can have allegations of odometer fraud raised against them when they go to sell that same vehicle a year or two later. Both buyers and sellers must be very careful. If you’re arrested for odometer fraud, the worst thing that you could do would be to give the police any type of a statement or confession. The prosecution will use it to try and prove you guilty.
Protect your rights by invoking them. You have the right to remain silent, so exercise it by not giving the police any information that they’re seeking other than your identity, birth date, and address. You also have the right to an attorney. Exercise that right immediately by calling us after any arrest for odometer tampering in or around Tampa. We know what we’re doing, and we can take it from there.