Is "floating the title" or "title jumping" legal? (2023)

March 23, 2017 by Tom Roberts, Esq.

Q: Is it lawful to buy a car from one person, obtain the title without filling in the name of the purchaser on the title, and flip it to another buyer, filling in that 2nd purchaser’s name as the purchaser?

A. No, the practice is known as “floating the title” or “title jumping” and is not legal.

In Virginia, VA Code §46.2-600 requires that every person residing in the Commonwealth who owns a motor vehicle apply to the DMV within 30 days of the purchase or transfer for a certificate of ownership. §46.2-605 makes it a class 6 felony to knowingly and fraudulently alter, falsify or forge any assignment of title. This would include filling in the person’s name to whom the person “floating the title” is selling the car, since the 1st seller of the vehicle did not sell that 3rd person the vehicle. And the state is going to feel slighted because they missed the opportunity to collect sales and other taxes on the first sale.


The materials are prepared for information purposes only. The materials are not legal advice. You should not act upon the information without seeking the advice of an attorney. Nothing herein creates an attorney-client relationship.

Thomas H. Roberts, Esq.
Thomas H. Roberts & Associates, P.C.
105 S 1st Street

Richmond, Virginia 23219
(804) 783-2000 x 105
(804) 783-2105 fax

Category Contract Law, Criminal Law | Tags: dmv, flipping a car, flipping a car title, flipping a vehicle, flipping a vehicle title, floating the title, jumping the title, title

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