Operating a Chop Shop

chop shop criminal attorney

Chop shops are often seen as staples in the community as individuals commonly turn to them in their times of need. Whether you have a broken down car that you’re looking to salvage or you’re a mechanic looking for a part you can’t find in stores, it’s likely you can benefit from visiting a local chop shop. However, chop shops have a vile nature and are inherently illegal in all of their operations. If you or someone you know is facing criminal prosecution for being a part of, owning, or operating a chop, act swiftly in securing legal representation who can help dispell the unfavorable claims.

The Orlando criminal defense lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm are here to provide the legal representation needed to help have charges lessened or even dismissed altogether. These charges are often brought about as a result of speculation and few hard facts convincing enough to get a conviction. Our team of attorneys will work diligently on your behalf to craft a defense catered to the charges you face to put you in the best position for a favorable court ruling. Reach out to us today to learn more about the full extent of your legal defense options.

What is Considered a “Chop Shop” in Florida

A “chop shop” is an illegal business that takes stolen cars, dismembers them, and sells the individual parts or reassembles the vehicle as a way to disguise the theft. Florida Statute § 812.16 specifies that the one or more persons operating the chop shop must be dealing with two or more stolen vehicles and their “major component parts.”

It’s vital to note that not all car parts are legally recognized as major component parts. Some examples of these include:

  • Bumpers
  • Hoods
  • Engines
  • Grills
  • Transmissions
  • Doors
  • Tires and Tire Wheels
  • Rear-Clip Assembly
  • T-Tops
  • Frame and Frame Assembly

The prosecution must prove that major component parts were dealt with at the alleged chop shop (among other factors) for charges to stick. Absent this specific detail, charges may be lessened or dropped altogether.

Florida Penalties for Operating a Chop Shop

Anyone who knowingly conducts, owns, or operates a chop shop in Florida is guilty of a third-degree felony punishable by:

  • Up to 5 years in prison; or
  • Up to 5 years probation; and
  • Up to $5,000 in fines

These same penalties extend to anyone who aids and abets a conductor, owner, or operator of a chop shop, but that isn’t all. The state will also require the convicted individual to pay restitution to the owners of the stolen vehicles or their insurance companies in addition to their criminal sentence and fines. Avoid the chance of these penalties affecting you by securing legal representation from a knowledgeable attorney.

Attorneys Defending Chop Shop Operation Charges

Don’t assume that operating a chop shop charges are only handed down to criminal organizations or crooked individuals. An owner of a legitimate garage or auto body shop can be convicted of operating a chop shop if it is found that two or more vehicles or major component parts resided in his shop. This remains true if this occurred absent of your knowledge. Bring your case to The Umansky Law Firm and get the legal representation you deserve.

The Orlando criminal defense lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm have over 100 years of combined experience and a cast consisting of former state and local prosecutors. We are Board Certified Criminal Trial Lawyers who can evaluate your case, make you aware of your legal options, and serve as your representation throughout all legal proceedings. Contact us today at 407-208-3838 for a free case evaluation.