Selling cars without a retail motor vehicle dealer’s license in Colorado is a criminal offense. Sometimes unlicensed individuals selling cars are known as “curbstoners”. The definition of a motor vehicle dealer in Colorado includes simply offering for sale or lease more than 3 (i.e. 4 or more) new or used motor vehicles at the same address or phone number in any one calendar year. It also includes actually selling or leasing 3 or more new or used motor vehicles in a calendar year. An owner of real property may also be charged with a criminal offense of acting as an unlicensed dealer if she permits more than 3 (i.e. 4 or more) motor vehicles to be offered for sale or lease on her property in a calendar year.
These cases are typically investigated by the Colorado Department of Revenue, Specialized Business Group-Auto, Criminal Investigators and then referred to the respective county’s district attorney’s office.
Pursuant to CRS 44-20-124 it is illegal for someone to act as a motor vehicle dealer, manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler, manufacturer representative, business disposer, motor vehicle salesperson, used motor vehicle dealer, buyer agent, wholesale motor vehicle auction dealer, unless the person has the correct license for such activities. There are some exceptions as follows: 1) business owners selling a vehicle owned for more than 1 year, the vehicle was used exclusively in the business, titled in the business name, all vehicle taxes have been paid, and the total of vehicles sold by the business over a 2 year period does not exceed 20 vehicles; 2) manufacturers of utility trailers that weigh less than 2000 pounds and who do not manufacture any other type of motor vehicle; and 3) a person other than a manufacturer operating a motor vehicle dealer pursuant to CRS 44-20-126, who is a licensed dealer selling their own manufactured motor vehicles.
The criminal charges for motor vehicle dealer violations are typically class 2 misdemeanors. However, any person who is acting as a manufacturer, distributor, or manufacturer representative without a license commits a petty offense (effective March 1, 2022). The penalty for someone who is acting as a motor vehicle dealer, wholesaler, buyer agent, wholesale motor vehicle auction dealer, business disposer, motor vehicle salesperson, used motor vehicle dealer, commits a petty offense (effective March 1, 2022).
Attorney Monte Robbins has experience representing individuals who are charged with criminal offenses of selling motor vehicles or advertising motor vehicles as an unlicensed dealers. Often times individuals are charged with a very large number of violations based upon the number of alleged sales or simply the number of alleged vehicles offered for sale. Contact Attorney Monte Robbins today for a confidential consultation regarding your unlicensed dealer criminal charges: 303-355-5148.