Felony Offenses in the Texas Penal Code

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Texas Penal Code, Section 32.34 - Fraudulent Transfer of a Motor Vehicle

CHAPTER 32. FRAUD

§ 32.34. FRAUDULENT TRANSFER OF A MOTOR VEHICLE.
        (a)  In this section:
                (1) "Lease" means the grant of use and possession of a motor vehicle for consideration, whether or not the grant includes an option to buy the vehicle.
                (2)  "Motor vehicle" means a device in, on, or by which a person or property is or may be transported or drawn on a highway, except a device used exclusively on stationary rails or tracks.
                (3)  "Security interest" means an interest in personal property or fixtures that secures payment or performance of an
obligation.
                (4)  "Third party" means a person other than the actor or the owner of the vehicle.
                (5)  "Transfer" means to transfer possession, whether or not another right is also transferred, by means of a sale, lease, sublease, lease assignment, or other property transfer.
        (b)  A person commits an offense if the person acquires, accepts possession of, or exercises control over the motor vehicle of another under a written or oral agreement to arrange for the transfer of the vehicle to a third party and:
                (1)  knowing the vehicle is subject to a security interest, lease, or lien, the person transfers the vehicle to a third party without first obtaining written authorization from the vehicle's secured creditor, lessor, or lienholder;
                (2)  intending to defraud or harm the vehicle's owner, the person transfers the vehicle to a third party;
                (3)  intending to defraud or harm the vehicle's owner, the person disposes of the vehicle in a manner other than by transfer to a third party;  or
                (4)  the person does not disclose the location of the vehicle on the request of the vehicle's owner, secured creditor, lessor, or lienholder.
        (c)  For the purposes of Subsection (b)(2), the actor is presumed to have intended to defraud or harm the motor vehicle's owner if the actor does not take reasonable steps to determine whether or not the third party is financially able to pay for the vehicle.
        (d)  It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (b)(1) that the entire indebtedness secured by or owed under the security interest, lease, or lien is paid or satisfied in full not later than the 30th day after the date that the transfer was made.
        (e)  It is not a defense to prosecution under Subsection (b)(1) that the motor vehicle's owner has violated a contract creating a security interest, lease, or lien in the motor vehicle.
        (f)  An offense under Subsection (b)(1), (b)(2), or (b)(3) is:
                (1)  a state jail felony if the value of the motor vehicle is less than $20,000; or
                (2)  a felony of the third degree if the value of the motor vehicle is $20,000 or more.
        (g)  An offense under Subsection (b)(4) is a Class A misdemeanor.

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