WISCONSIN VEHICLE TITLE AND ANTI-THEFT
VEHICLE TITLE AND ANTI-THEFT LAW SUBCHAPTER III
ANTI-THEFT AND ANTI-FRAUD PROVISIONS
342.30 Identification numbers. (1c) In this section,
owner includes the lessee of a vehicle if
the vehicle is registered,
or required to be registered, by the lessee under ch.
(1g) No person may remove, alter or obliterate or intentionally
make it impossible to read, as required under sub. (2),
an identification number.
This subsection does not apply to the obliteration of
an identification number which occurs in the process of
crushing a vehicle or vehicle part for scrap.
Cross Reference: See also ch. Trans 155, Wis. adm. code.
(1m) When the department is satisfied as to the ownership
of a vehicle subject to registration which has not been
the manufacturer or on which the original number has been
removed, obliterated or altered or on which the original
has been replaced or on which a new identification number
is required under s. 342.06 (1) (f), the department shall
assign a new
identification number for each such vehicle.
(2) Except as provided in this subsection, an identification
number assigned by the department to a vehicle shall be
permanently affixed to a
location on the vehicle that is readily visible when observed
from outside the vehicle, as specified by the department
by rule. Identification numbers
assigned for cycles shall be stamped on the left side,
near the top of the engine casting just below the cylinder
barrel. Such stamping or affixing shall be
done under the supervision of a dealer, distributor or
manufacturer registered under s. 341.51 or under the supervision
of a peace officer. The person
supervising the stamping or affixing shall make a report
thereof to the department.
(2m) (a) A traffic officer or person authorized to enforce
nonmoving traffic violations may use reasonable means
to gain access to a vehicle if that vehicles identification
number cannot be read as required under sub. (2). (b)
Any person acting under par. (a) is immune from civil
and criminal liability for good faith actions taken within
the scope of that persons official duties.
(3) (a) Any person who violates sub. (1g) is guilty of
a Class H felony. (b) 1. Any owner of a vehicle for which
the department has issued a new identification number
who fails to have such number attached or stamped as required
by sub. (2) may be required to forfeit not more than $200.
2. Any owner of a vehicle for which the department has
issued a new identification number who with intent to
defraud fails to have such number attached or stamped
as required by sub. (2) may be required to forfeit not
more than $1,000.
(4) (a) If a law enforcement agency finds a vehicle or
part of a vehicle on which the identification number has
been removed, altered or obliterated or made impossible
to read, the law enforcement agency may seize the vehicle
or part of a vehicle. If the identification number cannot
be identified, the seized vehicle or vehicle part is presumed
to be contraband. Except as provided in par. (d), if the
identification number can be identified, the agency may
return the vehicle to the owner. Except as provided in
par. (b), the district attorney shall institute forfeiture
proceedings under s. 973.076 regarding any vehicle or
vehicle part that is seized under this paragraph and not
returned to the owner. (b) If the district attorney brings
a criminal action arising out of the seizure under par.
(a), the district attorney shall not institute forfeiture
proceedings under s. 973.076 before there is a final determination
in the criminal action. (c) Paragraph (a) does not apply
to the obliteration of an identification number that occurs
in the process of crushing a vehicle or vehicle part for
scrap. (d) If the identification number of a motorcycle
or part of a motorcycle seized under par. (a) can be identified
and if no forfeiture proceeding is commenced under s.
973.076 within 30 days after the seizure of the property,
the custodian of the seized property shall immediately
return the seized property to the owner named in the certificate
of title or registration. If a motorcycle or part of a
motorcycle is not returned to the owner named in the certificate
of title or registration as required in this paragraph,
and if the owner of the property commences a replevin
action to recover possession of the property, and if the
judge finds that the custodian of the property unreasonably
retained the property after 30 days after the seizure,
the court shall award the owner the costs and reasonable
attorney fees incurred in the replevin action.