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Jim Reilly
Jim Reilly, Crim Defense Atty
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 1805
Experience:  CA Atty since 1976, primarily criminal law. 150+ jury trials.
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For RunTam38 Are there possible to get the car back on the

Customer Question

For RunTam38
Are there possible to get the car back on the way of criminal prosecution, because the elements are clear fill a statment by DA?
Regards Leopold
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Jim Reilly replied 8 years ago.
Ah, Leopold, I see that you posted this as a separate question, which is also fine. I will repeat here the answer I posted in the other thread and you can accept, if you choose to do so, either here or there:

It really doesn't matter whether or not the DA accepts what I have said. While he has complete control of the criminal process, he has nothing to say about any resulting criminal case and the title laws are independent of the criminal proceedings.

As for getting the car back through the criminal process, there is no guarantee that will work. If the defendant is convicted, the court can order restitution, but cannot specifically order than he return the car if he no longer has possession of it. The court can order him to repay you the purchase price of the car, but that's all.

Actual recovery of the car can only be ordered by a civil court which has jurisdiction over the vehicle. That would mean suing Expo Motors rather than the seller (though you could and should sue both in civil court, just in case you have to rely on monetary damages).

In the case I mentioned to you above, my client's car was stolen in the mid-1980's by an individual he had consigned it to for sale in the US. The theft took place in Florida, the vehicle was transported to and sold in California with false papers. We sued both the person who stole it and the person then in possession, but could not locate the seller. The judgment was against the person in possession, who was ordered to turn the car over to my client. It was a classic -- Aston Martin DB4.

You haven't mentioned what kind of car you're talking about here or how much you paid for it. But, if you want the actual vehicle rather than just return of your purchase price, the only way you can be sure of getting it is to file a civil case.