Can You Go to Jail for Selling a Car Without a Title?

Can you go to jail for selling a car without a title? You may feel overwhelmed if you are in the market to sell your automobile but cannot locate the title. Is the title necessary to sell an automobile? The good news is that you can still sell your automobile and get your title back even if you have misplaced it.


Do You Need a DMV Title to Sell a Car?

a close-up of a license plate, keys and DMV title

Can you go to jail for selling a car without a title? If you can provide proof of ownership, selling an automobile without a title is possible. Cars cannot be sold in most states unless the buyer can provide ownership documentation. Still, losing track of your vehicle’s title is something that many people experience.

Requesting a duplicate title from your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is the most straightforward approach. You might sometimes not even require the title to sell your vehicle. We will explore all of your possibilities in greater detail later on.


Can You Trade a Car Without the DMV Title?

Can you go to jail for selling a car without a title? No title is necessary to trade your old vehicle in one of the twenty-four states participating in the Electronic Lien and Titling (ELT) Program. To verify and transfer ownership, dealerships can access the entire ELT system. Trading in a vehicle through a dealership in a state qualified for the ELT is much more convenient than selling it privately.

A title in private party sales must accompany the transfer of ownership. Depending on your local DMV, requesting a duplicate title could take a few weeks or more, so it’s best to plan.

Changing your title is simple but could add time to the process. This five-step process will show you how to sell your car and get a duplicate title.


First Things First: Determine If Your Car Is Exempt

Can you go to jail for selling a car without a title? Your vehicle may qualify for an exemption if it is 15–25 years old or is deemed a collectible. The state will not give a title for the car. Thus, a bill of sale is the only proof that can be used to register it.

If you start the retitling process and officially transfer ownership to the new buyer, they will receive a temporary permit; however, your state may also authorize you to sell your car without a title. The buyer would be responsible for finishing the retitling process, which might speed up the sale. It is advisable to familiarize yourself with the sales exempt requirements in your jurisdiction, as titling regulations differ from state to state.


Find Out How to Get a New Vehicle Title

Can you go to jail for selling a car without a title? Getting a duplicate title from the State Department of Motor Vehicles is usually the way to go. Visiting a DMV office may be unnecessary in states where an ELT program is available. Take the California DMV as an example; they have an online system that you can use to transfer ownership, and they even have quick title processing available for a cost.

Can you go to jail for selling a car without a title? Depending on the situation, these are some things you can do in the absence of the title:

This property is subject to a lien: Notify your lender that you intend to sell your car by contacting them directly. They will provide the necessary steps to sell your lien-ridden vehicle and release the title.

If there is damage or loss to the title, Fill out a Duplicate Title Application and send it to your local DMV. You can get all the information you need to finish this process from the DMV.

Someone stole the car: While requesting a duplicate title from the DMV, provide your bill of sale as evidence of ownership.

By the way, you just relocated: Research the titling regulations of your new home state. You might be able to finish the whole thing online if both states provide an ELT program. A visit to the DMV might be necessary if that is not the case.


Deal With the Required Paperwork

To apply for a replacement title successfully, you must first acquire the necessary documents:

  •       The year, model, and manufacturer of your car
  •       That number that identifies a vehicle
  •       The details of the transaction, as well as the financing for the car
  •       Verification of residency and present address
  •       Driver’s license


Get a New DMV Title

Can you go to jail for selling a car without a title? If you wish to alter the status of the title, you must request a new title. It would help if you were prepared to request a transfer of ownership by having the required documentation on hand.

The original bill of sale showing your ownership as the buyer and the new bill of sale showing you as the seller are both required when applying for a new title. To verify the sale of an abandoned vehicle, the DMV will try to find the previous owner’s information if you can apply for the title.


Get a Bill of Sale

Can you go to jail for selling a car without a title? The most crucial document required for transferring ownership is a bill of sale. You can find a sample bill of sale at the Secretary of State’s website or your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. There should be an official template online if your state doesn’t have one.

Both the vehicle title and the bill of sale contain identical information. Ensure that you incorporate:

  •       Notarized signature
  •       The car’s year, model, and manufacturer
  •       How far the car has been driven recently
  •       The VIN
  •       Where you can be reached
  •       Details about the purchaser

Can you go to jail for selling a car without a title? A duplicate of the vehicle’s registration in your state, along with the bill of sale and a notice of sale, may be required for the new owner to transfer the title when selling to someone from out of state. Contact your local DMV if you need clarification on what documents are required.


A Bill of Sale Without Title

Can you go to jail for selling a car without a title? A notarized bill of sale must register a title-exempt vehicle in the buyer’s name. Notarization is often not required for titled automobiles, yet you should include this in your paperwork regardless of whether or not your state requires it. This is the case for automobiles that do not require a title. Notarizing the bill of sale is necessary to guarantee that the buyer can register your vehicle if it is deemed a collector or older than 15 years.


Are you struggling with selling a junk car that doesn’t have a DMV title anymore? Let Junkyard Dog Online take care of the details for you. Call us today!



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