Offence to Alter, Deface or Place Number on Engine of Motor Vehicle

– section 73 of Road Safety Act 1986
Car EngineThis charge is generally laid in situations where a person defaces or changes the number on a car engine.

All cars in Australia after 1989 manufactured or sold are labelled with a universal number known as a VIN or vehicle identification number. This is a 17 number universal system employed by car manufacturers. The number has encoded information about the origins of the vehicle. It is designed to make modification and resale of stolen vehicles more difficult.

There is a separate charge for performing this act fraudulently (section 72). Therefore a person can be charged for this offence without an intention to deceive.

Examples of Offence to Alter, Deface or Place Number on Engine of Motor Vehicle
  • Changing one of the VIN numbers
  • Scratching one of the VIN numbers to make it less visible.
  • Recreating a VIN number and re-selling the car.
Questions in cases like this
  • Do you have any reason to have changed a number on a car engine?
  • Do you have a history of similar activity?
  • Can you verify the details around the sale of the car in question and relevant paperwork?
What are some of the possible defences to Offence to Alter, Deface or Place Number on Engine of Motor Vehicle?

Defences to this charge can include a factual dispute, the concept of beyond reasonable doubt, or a lack of intent.

You should ring us and discuss your case if you have been charged. Deciding on whether to plead guilty or not has consequences for you and should be made after proper discussion with a criminal lawyer.

Maximum penalty and court that deals with this charge

ImprisonmentThis offence has a penalty of 10 penalty units or imprisonment for 2 months. It is a sort of charge that is regularly heard in the Magistrates’ Court.

Ten (10) penalty units is currently equal to 1,611.90 at the time of print.

What is the legal definition of Offence to Alter, Deface or Place Number on Engine of Motor Vehicle?

Offence to alter, deface or place number on engine of motor vehicle

A person is guilty of an offence if that person—

  1. without the permission in writing of the Corporation alters or defaces any number on the engine of a motor vehicle purporting to be the number of that engine; or
  2. places on the engine of a motor vehicle any number purporting to be the number of that engine without previously forwarding to the Corporation a notice in writing stating that a number is to be placed on that engine and containing particulars of the number and the registered number of the motor vehicle.

Penalty: 10 penalty units or imprisonment for 2 months.1

Legislation

The legislation for this offence can be found on section 73 of Road Safety Act 1986.

Elements of the offence

In essence to prove this charge the Police must show the person altered or defaced any number on the engine of a motor vehicle without the written permission of VicRoads, or that the accused placed a number on the engine of a motor vehicle, without first notifying VicRoads in writing.

Case studies related to the Offence to Alter, Deface or Place Number on Engine of Motor Vehicle

Call Doogue + George



[1] Road Safety Act 1986 (VIC) s73