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Subject: Unauthorized use of vehicle

Rowlett, TX |

My ex currently has unauthorized possession of my vehicle. It is paid in full and titled in my name. We had a verbal agreement where he agreed to purchase the vehicle. He made a down payment and then would make monthly payments. He has not made the monthly payments. I requested the return of the vehicle based on default. He refused and has since hidden the vehicle. I sent a certified 10 day letter for unauthorized use of a vehicle requesting vehicle return, where vehicle was located so I could pick it up or pay full market value. I have not received certified return notices back yet (10 days have passed since letter was sent). I plan on filing a stolen vehicle report with police once notices are returned and vehicle is still not in my possession. If he asks for initial down payment back in return for the vehicle, do I have to give it back the funds (since he defaulted)? Can I proceed with police report for stolen vehicle?

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Attorney answers 1


The Texas Certificate of Title act prohibits sales such as you described. When he agreed to buy it, you should have transferred the title to him and placed a lien on the vehicle. Given that this started with a "deal," the police may or may not help you, and they and/or the DA may say that "it's a civil matter."

If the law enforcement folks won't help, you may need to sue him to get an injunction ordering him to give you the car. Unfortunately, injunctions are not cheap - you can't get one in small claims court. You may need a civil litigation lawyer to help you. Look for a local consumer law attorney on

Good luck. Next time you sell a car, do it right. If he has a wreck, commits a crime, or runs through toll booths or red light cameras, and the car is still titled and registered to you, you could face significant legal problems.

My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice. I give legal advice only in the course of an attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by individual consultation and execution of a written agreement for legal services.

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