Consumer Title Resource | Since 2009!

Is “Jumping” A Car Title A Crime?

Very often, the subject comes up with an open title or a jumping title. Essentially, a title certificate contains all the information about a vehicle, and on the back, the owner can sign as the seller to the new buyer. However, if the owner just signs their name and leaves the buyer’s space blank, it’s called title jumping.

Risks for Sellers
As a seller, you may encounter situations where a buyer requests that you leave the title open for future filling. This practice, however, known as title jumping, can lead to several complications. Signing an open title means you have no idea who the actual buyer is, and you might be held liable for issues related to the vehicle.

Legal Consequences for Sellers
The back of the title explicitly warns against signing a blank title due to various reasons. Sellers might unknowingly contribute to tax evasion or become liable for fines, penalties, and imprisonment if caught title jumping. The seller’s lack of information on the buyer may expose them to criminal offenses.

Potential Problems with an Open Title
Failure to fill out additional details on the title, such as the sale price or mileage, can lead to problems. Odometer fraud becomes a risk when the mileage is not recorded, and altering the sale price can result in tax fraud. Title jumping is considered a felony and is illegal in most states, with severe penalties for intentional offenses.

Legal Consequences for Buyers
Buyers who unknowingly purchase a vehicle with an open title may face consequences at the DMV. The title might be seized, and in some cases, the vehicle might be impounded. To resolve this, options like bonded titles, court order titles, or magistrate titles may be pursued.

Bonded Titles and State Limitations
Bonded titles are a common solution, and contrary to popular belief, they usually cost around a hundred dollars. However, not all states allow bonded titles. Some states offer alternatives, like court-order titles. Check the list of states where bonded titles are not available, but other options exist.

Smart Buying Practices
To avoid complications, it’s crucial for buyers to ensure a valid and legal title transfer. If a seller cannot provide a certified title transfer, it’s wise for buyers to reconsider the transaction and protect their hard-earned money. Further information on bonded titles, court order titles, and related matters can be found on the website at

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