Odometer fraud and tampering in Nevada
State and federal law make it a crime to:
- Disconnect, reset or alter the odometer of any motor vehicle with the intent to change the shown mileage;1
- Change the number of miles on an odometer;
- Advertise, sell or transfer any motor vehicle with a tampered odometer or false mileage in order to intentionally defraud someone; or
- Conspire to do any of the foregoing.
Changing the miles on an odometer is a misdemeanor under Nevada law.2 Punishment for a Nevada misdemeanor can include:
- Up to $1,000 in fines, and/or
- Up to six months in jail.3
If, however, you knowingly sell a motor vehicle with an altered odometer for the purpose of defrauding someone, you are guilty of a Nevada category C felony. Penalties for odometer fraud in Nevada can include:
- 1-5 years in Nevada state prison, and/or
- A fine of up to $10,000.4
Changing an odometer in Nevada can also subject you to civil penalties if it harms another person. The person harmed can sue you for:
- The greater of three times your actual damages or $2,500, plus
- The other person's costs and reasonable attorney's fees.5
Federal odometer tampering and fraud laws
Federal law also prohibits odometer fraud and tampering. Federal odometer tampering laws are enforced by the United States Attorney General in federal district court. However, by law, the Nevada Department of Transportation is also required to enforce the provisions of federal laws against odometer tampering.6
Under federal law, it is a felony to:
- Advertise, sell, use, install, or have installed, a device that changes the odometer reading of a motor vehicle;
- Disconnect, reset, alter, or have any of the foregoing done to the odometer of a motor vehicle with the intent to change the mileage shown;
- Operate a motor vehicle on a street, road, or highway when you know that the odometer of the vehicle is disconnected or not operating in order to defraud someone; or
- Knowingly transfer ownership of a motor vehicle with an altered odometer or give a false statement to the transferee with respect to an odometer reading.7
Federal penalties for odometer tampering or odometer fraud can include:
- A civil penalty of up to $10,000 for each violation (to a maximum of $1,000,000 for a related series of violations); and
- Criminal penalties that can include:
- Up to 3 years in federal prison, and/or
- A fine of up to $250,000.8
You can also be sued for fraud by anyone personally harmed by your actions for an amount equal to:
- The greater of three times the person's actual damages or $10,000; plus
- Such person's court costs and reasonable attorney's fee.9
Defending odometer tampering or fraud charges
The best defense to Nevada odometer tampering or fraud charges depends on the facts of your case.
However, common Nevada odometer fraud defenses include (without limitation):
- You didn't know the odometer wasn't working properly;
- You were repairing the vehicle and forgot to reconnect the odometer;
- You weren't trying to defraud anyone; or
- The evidence was discovered during an illegal search and seizure.
Charged with odometer fraud in Las Vegas or Reno? Call us for help…
If you have been accused of federal or Nevada odometer tampering or odometer fraud, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation.
Our caring Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada criminal defense lawyers know it can be hard to prove fraudulent intent. We'll find the weakness in the prosecutor's case and use it to try to get your charges reduced or even dismissed – or, if necessary, to prove to a jury that you are not guilty at trial.
Simply fill out the form on this page or call us at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) to schedule your free consultation. An experienced Nevada fraud crimes attorney will get back to you promptly to discuss your case and begin planning the best defense to your Nevada or federal odometer fraud charges.
- NRS 484D.310.
- NRS 484D.335 (2).
- NRS 193.150.
- NRS 484D.335(1).
- NRS 484D.340.
- NRS 484D.330.
- 49 U.S. Code 32703 and 32705.
- 49 U.S. Code 32709.
- 49 U.S. Code 32710.