A "chop shop" is a place, usually a garage, where stolen cars are taken apart so the parts can be sold separately. In California, the chop shop laws can be found in sections 10801-10803 of the Vehicle Code. Owning a chop shop, working on the cars there, or buying or selling car parts or vehicles that have been altered to prevent their identification can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. Conviction can result in imprisonment in the county jail for one year or up to three years in state prison, as well as many thousands of dollars in fines and restitution.
Most chop shop cases are prosecuted under these California laws:
- Receiving Stolen Property - Penal Code section 496;
- Owning or operating a chop shop – Vehicle Code section 10801;
- Altering Vehicle Identification Numbers - Vehicle Code section 10802;
- Chop Shop: Buyers and Sellers - Vehicle Code section 10803.
If you or someone you know is being investigated or charged with a chop shop operation, contact an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to learn about your rights, defenses, and legal options.