Old 05-23-11, 02:33 PM
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dougmc
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Originally Posted by nerys View Post
yes. when you title a vehicle (at least in PA and NJ I assume same elsewhere) you have RELINQUISH ownership (MSO COO) to the state they then generate a title THEY KEEP and you only get a certificate of title.

in legal parlance this is like "fee simple title" (which is what you have on your home) where the crown (state) owns the property and you are no more than legal tenant (owner) at the will of the state.
Wikipida's page on fee simple title disagrees with you. Now, perhaps you've found the wrong term, or perhaps wikipedia is wrong -- it wouldn't be the first time -- but what seems most likely to me is that you're either 1) simply wrong about who owns your titled vehicle (or house), or 2) you've decided that since they could take it (more on this in a bit) that it must be theirs to begin with.

The difference is a technical one. If you own a "desk" (allodial title) in your home they can not just "make up" a reason lawfully to come take that desk from you without cause. (or a car in your garagen same thing it only has to be registered to be in public or in "use" on public roadways)
Wikipedia suggests that you probably don't have a allodial title to your desk -- instead, it would be the fee simple title mentioned above.

In the US, they'll "make up a reason" to take your property, title or not. Typically this reason is that they say it was used in a crime or paid for with the proceeds of a crime (true or not, that would depend on the situation.) It's called asset forfeiture and it's highly unfair, but I don't see where not having a formal title is going to save you. (Yes, it's often used to take cars and houses, where one usually has a formal title ... but it's also used to take cash, where one usually doesn't.)

I'm not a lawyer and even I see serious flaws in your legal reasoning. Talking to a lawyer would be prudent before you make your 50 mph untitled motorcycle and get arrested riding it and get hit with fines and such that total several thousand dollars -- and if this lawyer is too expensive, well, you can take your risks if you want, but if it happens -- you may not get your motorcycle back until you pay the fines.
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