14-401.4. Identifying marks on machines and apparatus; application to Division of Motor Vehicles for numbers.

(a) No person, firm or corporation shall willfully remove, deface, destroy, alter or cover over the manufacturer's serial or engine number or any other manufacturer's number or other distinguishing number or identification mark upon any machine or other apparatus, including but not limited to farm equipment, machinery and apparatus, but excluding electric storage batteries, nor shall any person, firm or corporation place or stamp any serial, engine, or other number or mark upon such machinery, apparatus or equipment except as provided for in this section, nor shall any person, firm or corporation purchase or take into possession or sell, trade, transfer, devise, give away or in any manner dispose of such machinery, apparatus, or equipment except by intestate succession or as junk or scrap after the manufacturer's serial or engine number or mark has been willfully removed, defaced, destroyed, altered or covered up unless a new number or mark has been added as provided in this section: Provided, however, that this section shall not prohibit or prevent the owner or holder of a mortgage, conditional sales contract, title retaining contract, or a trustee under a deed of trust from taking possession for the purpose of foreclosure under a power of sale or by court order, of such machinery, apparatus, or equipment, or from selling the same by foreclosure sale under a power contained in a mortgage, conditional sales contract, title retaining contract, deed of trust, or court order; or from taking possession thereof in satisfaction of the indebtedness secured by the mortgage, deed of trust, conditional sales contract, or title retaining contract pursuant to an agreement with the owner.

(b) Each seller of farm machinery, farm equipment or farm apparatus covered by this section shall give the purchaser a bill of sale for such machinery, equipment or apparatus and shall include in the bill of sale the manufacturer's serial number or distinguishing number or identification mark, which the seller warrants to be true and correct according to his invoice or bill of sale as received from his manufacturer, supplier, or distributor or dealer.

(c) Each user of farm machinery, farm equipment or farm apparatus whose manufacturer's serial number, distinguishing number or identification mark has been obliterated or is now unrecognizable, may obtain a valid identification number for any such machinery, equipment or apparatus upon application for such number to the Division of Motor Vehicles accompanied by satisfactory proof of ownership and a subsequent certification to the Division by a member of the North Carolina Highway Patrol that said applicant has placed the number on the proper machinery, equipment or apparatus. The Division of Motor Vehicles is hereby authorized and empowered to issue appropriate identification marks or distinguishing numbers for machinery, equipment or apparatus upon application as provided in this section and the Division is further authorized and empowered to designate the place or places on the machinery, equipment or apparatus at which the identification marks or distinguishing numbers shall be placed. The Division is also authorized to designate the method to be used in placing the identification marks or distinguishing numbers on the machinery, equipment or apparatus: Provided, however, that the owner or holder of the mortgage conditional sales contract, title retaining contract, or trustee under a deed of trust in possession of such encumbered machinery, equipment, or apparatus from which the manufacturer's serial or engine number or other manufacturer's number or distinguishing mark has been obliterated or has become unrecognizable or the purchaser at the foreclosure sale thereof, may at any time obtain a valid identification number for any such machinery, equipment or apparatus upon application therefor to the Division of Motor Vehicles.

(d) Any person, firm or corporation who shall violate any part of this section shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. (1949, c. 928; 1951, c. 1110 s. 1; 1953, c. 257; 1975, c. 716, s. 5; 1993, c. 539, s. 274; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c).)