A vehicle may be seized by a law enforcement or government agency because it was used in a crime. Usually the vehicle’s title is not recovered.
A seized vehicle can be titled by the agency that seized it, or sold to the general public at a sale or auction. Before the new owner can title the vehicle, all liens on the vehicle must be satisfied.
How do I title a vehicle that had been seized by a law enforcement or government agency?
You can apply for a title and registration in person at any of the MVA’s full service branch offices. You also can mail the documents to the MVA’s Mail In Title Unit in the Glen Burnie office, or go to an MVA licensed tag and title service where they will assist you in applying.
Typically, the title application documents needed (along with payment for taxes and fees) include:
- Application form – Use the Application for a Certificate of Title to apply for both a title and registration. Be sure to include your insurance information. Your policy must conform to Maryland’s minimum liability insurance requirements.
- Proof of ownership – To prove that you are the vehicle’s owner, one or more of the following documents must be submitted.
- Bill of sale – the bill of sale may need to be notarized; see proof of purchase price below.
- Court order – If the vehicle was seized, a court order will be present and should be submitted. It should include:
- the name of the law enforcement or government agency that seized the vehicle; and,
- the authority under which the vehicle was seized by the agency.
- Miscellaneous government or law enforcement agency forms - You may receive from the agency that seized the vehicle one or more forms that identify the vehicle and the authority under which the vehicle was seized. Any forms given to you should be submitted.
- Proof of purchase price – The bill of sale should include the purchase price. It must be notarized if the following conditions apply:
- the vehicle is less than 7 years old; and
- the purchase price is at least $500 below the book value; and
- the new owner (buyer) wants to base the excise tax calculation (6% of the vehicle’s value) on the sale price rather than the book value.
- Maryland Safety Inspection Certificate - The Maryland State Police form certifies that your vehicle meets Maryland safety standards. It is valid for up to 90 days from the date issued.
Under certain circumstances, additional information and/or forms may be required:
- Lien information – If you borrowed money to buy the vehicle, the lien information must be recorded on the application form. The MVA form entitled Security Interest Filing must be used if a second lien is placed against the title.
- Lien release – If a lien was placed against the vehicle, you must submit a lien release. For a vehicle that was titled in Maryland, this could be a properly completed and signed Maryland Security Interest Filing (SIF) or a signed letter from the lien holder specifically identifying the vehicle and stating that the lien has been released. If the vehicle is currently titled in another state, you may submit a signed letter of release from the lien holder or you may have the lien holder sign the title indicating that the lien has been released.
- Power of attorney - If someone other than you, the new owner, is signing the titling forms, this document is required.
Note that if you also intend to register the vehicle, additional forms may be needed. Registration requirements vary greatly by the type and intended use of the vehicle. The requirements for most vehicles can be found in Registration - Common Vehicles. If your vehicle is unusual, access the infoMVA homepage to find the applicable registration description.
Your title will be mailed to you regardless of how you apply for it. If you also register the vehicle, your registration card, license plates and expiration stickers can be provided immediately when you apply in person to the MVA; otherwise, these items also will be mailed to you.
Note: On July 1, 2015 all businesses wishing to title a vehicle will be required to show proof of the legal existence of the business. The business will be given a number with a "Z" to identify it.
- The fee for titling a vehicle typically includes a title fee, excise tax, and a security interest (lien) filing fee if required.
- The fee for registration varies by the type of vehicle, its weight, and/or its intended use. See Fees for Registration Plates for more information.
Mail In Title Unit
6601 Ritchie Highway, NE
Glen Burnie, MD 21062
For telephone questions:
MVA Customer Service Center: