Liberty Planet Weblog

Registered . . . Where?

Posted on: February 16, 2012

I received the email below. I haven’t verified the source or the relevant laws of “COLORADO” (“this state”). More, even if the email’s allegations are true for “COLORADO,” that doesn’t mean that they would also be true for other administrative divisions (like “TEXAS” or “ILLINOIS”) of “this state”.

Nevertheless, this email has both the ring of truth and of brilliance. The insight offered is so damn simple that, if true, every student of traffic laws should be embarrassed to have overlooked such an obvious truth for so long.

Apparently, the email’s subject (“James”) read the “COLORADO” laws concerning vehicle registration. He realized that while “registration” of “motor vehicles” was required by state law, that law did not adequately define “motor vehicles” and did not specify where such “motor vehicles” must be “registered”.

Everyone presumes that their “motor vehicles” must be registered with their “state’s” version of a “Department of Motor Vehicles” (which, incidentally, is probably a private corporation).

Why do we make that presumption? Because when a new car is purchased, the buyer pays to price of the automobile to the dealer and then also pays an addition fee to “this state” for “Tax, Title and License”.

I’ll bet that every automobile dealer is licensed by “this state” to sell “in this state”. I’ll bet that it’s nigh unto impossible to persuade a licensed automobile dealer to sell you a vehicle without you “voluntarily” agreeing to also pay “Tax, Title and License” to register the new vehicle “in this state”.

Later, when you (the original car buyer) sells your used car to some new purchaser, the new purchaser will see the registration decal on the windshield and the registration papers in the glove compartment and simply presume that: 1) the original buyer registered the vehicle properly with “this state’s” department of motor vehicles; and 2) the new purchaser must continue to register with the same department.

But insofar as the state law did not specify where the vehicle must be “registered,” James decided to “register” his vehicle by using a UCC-1 form filed with the Colorado office of the Secretary of State. James challenged that presumption that the vehicle must be registered with the department of motor vehicles.

As required by law, James did “register” his vehicle . . . somewhere. But he didn’t register the vehicle with the Department of Motor Vehicles–he registered with the Secretary of State. By using a UCC-1 filed with the Secretary of State, James apparently created evidence that he–rather than “COLORADO” owned the particular vehicle. By doing so, he challenged the power of “COLORADO” to control the operation of his vehicle.

The UCC-1 can be one of, perhaps the, highest evidence of ownership of a particular property or thing. I presume that James filled out his UCC-1 so as to declare that he owned all right, title and interest in his “vehicle”. By doing so, he probably created evidence that he–rather than “COLORADO”–owned his vehicle.

“COLORADO” could probably dispute James’ claim of ownership–provided that “COLORADO” could produce the actual title (Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin; MSO) to the vehicle and prove that “COLORADO” owned that title and was therefore the true owner of the vehicle.

But there’ve been unconfirmed reports for at least 15 years that when the MSO is voluntarily sent to the “STATE” as part of the “Tax, Title and License,” the “STATE” creates a digital image of the MSO and then destroys the actual MSO (or some say, sells the actual MSO to some US or even foreign bank to be used as collateral for making loans). I don’t know what the truth is about how the “STATE” handles MSO’s, but I do know that if they can’t produce the actual, original MSO, they have virtually no legitimate basis for claiming ownership of a particular property or vehicle.

I believe the fundamental reason that we must have drivers licenses and insurance as conditions prerequisite to drive the automobiles we’ve purchased is that the original buyer voluntarily donated his MSO (title) to the “STATE” as part of the purchase agreements. (Remember? The cost of a particular car might be $20,000–”plus, Tax, Title and License”. The first buyer paid an extra fee to the “STATE” to compensate the “STATE” for assuming the legal title and consequent obligation to controlling the operation of the vehicle.). Thus, the “STATE” is presumed to own legal title to the vehicle and is thereby empowered and even obligated to control who can use the vehicle and under what conditions.

For example, if the “STATE” (as opposed to “The State”) owns legal title to “your” automobile, the “STATE” has every right to declare that it will only allow its vehicle to be driven by someone who has a drivers license. That requirement for a drivers license is not imposed by “law,” but by private law relating to the private ownership of the vehicle. More, if the “STATE’s” vehicle is not currently insured, that “STATE” will not allow it to be driven by anyone.

Today, the “STATE’s” claim to own legal title to the vehicle is reportedly based on the existence of a digital copy of the original MSO. So long as no one produces a higher form of evidence of ownership of a particular vehicle, the “STATE” will be able to control the operation of its vehicle.

James has apparently deduced that an actual, signed and registered UCC-1 can be a higher form of evidence of ownership than a mere copy of a now missing MSO. More, James has demonstrated an apparent brilliance in that he: 1) read the relative registration requirement laws; 2) realized that the “STATE” does not specify where to “register” his vehicle, and 3) therefore registered the vehicle by means of a UCC-1 with his Secretary of State rather than the local version of a “department of motor vehicles”.

James reportedly proceeded to devise his own “sovereign” license plate to indicate that his vehicle: 1) is registered with the Secretary of State: 2) is owned by James; 3) is not owned by “COLORADO”; and 4) is therefore not subject to the traffic laws of ”COLORADO”.

Of course, James was subsequently stopped for driving with a “sovereign” license plate and ticketed for “no registration”. His vehicle was towed. It cost James $250 to retrieve his vehicle the following day. He went to court, argued that the “registration” laws were unconstitutionally vague and that he had registered with the Secretary of State . . . you can read the result in the following email:

Adask Law


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