Master Car Keys and Criminal Liability

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What Is a Master Car Key?

Master car keys are designed to open the trunk or door and start the ignition for more than one car. In theory, each car should only be accessible by one key, or a duplicate of that one key. However, these keys exist to assist locksmiths and automobile professionals. Unfortunately, master keys are generally used in connection with stealing cars.

Can Someone Face Criminal Liability with a Master Car Key?

Most states have laws that govern the use and distribution of master car keys. Generally, in connection to a master car key, it is a crime for a person to:

As mentioned above, the purpose there is any type of criminal liability for a manufacturing, distributing, or possessing a car's master key is usually connected to other criminal offenses like carjacking or grand theft auto.

What Punishments May Someone Face for Committing a Crime with a Master Car Key?

Manufacturing, distributing, or possessing a master car key is typically a misdemeanor offense.  As a misdemeanor, common criminal punishments include:

Can Someone Lawfully Own a Master Car Key?

A car's master key can be used for other purposes than stealing a car, and thus most states have created specific exceptions to criminal liability. They include the manufacturing, distribution, or possession of a master car key by any of the following in the course of ordinary business:

Do I Need an Attorney?

If you are charged with a crime in connection to a master car key, it is strongly recommended that you contact a criminal defense attorney. This is a good general practice for anyone facing criminal liability, but because possessing a master car key may lead to potentially greater criminal charges, it is vital to secure one if you are accused of a crime connected to one. Only a local attorney will be able to adequately explain the issues and zealously put forth a defense.

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Last Modified: 09-09-2014 04:19 PM PDT

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