Is It Legal To Sell A Car With No Title?

  • June 11, 2024
  • 4 min read

Legality of Buying and Selling Cars Without a Title
So, can you buy and sell cars without a title? Well, as we’ve been saying for years, in most states, it’s actually illegal to sell a car without a title or buy a car without a title. It’s illegal; there’s a law that says you can’t buy it. The title is a legal government document issued only by a government agency. You can’t buy one from a company, you can’t download one from the internet, you have to have that title from the government agency.

Consequences of Selling a Car Without a Title
So what happens if somebody’s selling a car without a title? Well, it might be illegal. Here’s an article from New Mexico where a person was arrested again for fraud for failing to turn over a car title. Sold a vehicle, took somebody’s money, didn’t give him a title, got arrested, and it’s the third time. There are a lot of scammers out there that are selling cars without titles. Now, does that mean everybody that sells a car on Craigslist with no titles is going to get arrested? Probably not. This was probably an extreme case, but it does show you how important it is to get a title when you buy a vehicle.

Risks Associated with Buying a Car Without a Title
Because there’s a chance that you could never get it, depending on the background of the vehicle, it could be stolen, there could be liens on it, it could be a salvage, could be parts only, there could be a probate case against it, there could be an owner dispute about the car. Just because you run a Carfax doesn’t eliminate those. A Carfax is just some online VIN check that doesn’t check everything; it doesn’t even check all liens. Most of the time, it catches if it’s stolen, but there could be dozens of other things about that car that could keep you from ever getting a title for it, even though Carfax doesn’t show it or any of the other VIN Checkers you find online.

Ensuring Safe Car Transactions
So really, the only safe way to buy a car and not be worried about it is to get a title handed to you when you give the money. But even then, you might want to verify that title because there are some unscrupulous sellers that will have a vehicle, get a duplicate title of the one that they have. So now they have two titles: the original and the duplicate. And what they’ll do is they’ll take the original and sell it to somebody or put a lien on it, and then they’ll give you the duplicate. So you want to double-check. The best thing to do is go to the DMV with the person, exchange money, exchange titles, put the title in your name, and have it be done with.

Legal Precautions
Because again, there are people that get arrested, like this person right here, for selling cars without titles. And the other thing you don’t want to run into is if you have a car without a title, you don’t want to also be prosecuted for selling it without a title if you can never get a title. Now if you sell it, you could be in big trouble too. Remember to get good legal advice before you make any decisions; you don’t want to take anybody’s word for it that’s not an attorney. But it’s very important to understand that a title isn’t just a random piece of paper; it’s a very important documentation for vehicle ownership.

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