Peace

What is a 'Breach of Peace'?

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July 14, 2015 2:59PM

Breach of the peace:

That means that the repossession agent in repossessing the vehicle cannot: forcibly remove you from the vehicle; stop you on the street or highway like a law enforcement arrest; enter a closed garage or your home; break into your house; create a disturbance such as a fight or other altercation; threaten any of the above actions; or pretend to be a law enforcement officer while conducting the repossession. If any of these actions occurred you should immediately report the incident to law enforcement authorities and contact an attorney.

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My loan was with Ford Motor Credit Company and had a Repo man, out of Oklahoma City dressed in an Oklahoma City Sheriff Cap with their logo, navy blue T-shirt with a yellow badge on his chest drive into a my employers MARKED "Private Parking" lot and repo my car after being asked to leave by company employees. He bullied his way in by driving his truck in, allowed me to call Ford Credit with no luck and seized my vehicle. I told my Dad who is a Reserve Officer for another County Sheriff's department what happened and he called this guy and told him that what he had done, by wearing his Sheriff Issued T-shirt & Cap was a felony. The guy got really upset and begged my Dad not to tell anyone because he would lose his job at the Sheriff's office. He even told my employer who asked about his logo on his cap that he worked for the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Sheriff's department! If I knew what my rights were, a call would of been placed to our local police department and told them my car was being stolen by someone who was posing as a law enforcement official. I did call my attorney, we were able to get another loan from a local bank and obtain the car within two days after paying the repo & lot fees they charged. Also, I e-mailed the president of Ford Motor Credit about the incident and was sent a reply that the gentleman was within his rights and could wear whatever he wanted. As far as my attorney went, I called a couple of times after to pursue this issue, but was never contacted back. Please, know this is NOT LEGAL during a repossession and you can call your local law enforcement agency. I someone who was blind, like me in what a Repo Man's Breach of the Peace can include. Thanks for reading. L

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"Anonymous" Ok Citizen,

Your whole statement there is inconsistent. Either the guy did work for the sheriffs office (Why would he be begging to keep his job at the sheriffs department if he didn't work there?) or he didn't and was imposing as one. Either way, he shouldn't have done it, but he is not imposing as an officer if he works for the sheriffs department.

"I certainly hope you meant 'impersonating'; not 'imposing' -- if you do not know the difference it somewhat defeats the sarcastic undercurrent of your answer..."

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The Rules of Repossession - Breaching the Peace Taking the vehicle from unsecured driveways, open carports, parking lots at work and city streets is generally allowed. But the repossession company may not:

• Enter a closed or locked garage, or otherwise break and enter onto property. • Enter into your home, unless invited by you. • Damage the vehicle during the repossession or attempts at repossession. • Threaten you or commit violence. • Touch anyone, force you out of the automobile, etc. • Threaten you will be arrested. • Claim the repossession agent is a police officer or has "special government authority." • Force you to pull over to the side of the road. • Have law enforcement personnel present unless the creditor has already sued you.

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Impersonatinga law enforcement officer? Certainly a crime. The penalty is a huge fine and jail time. You should have called the police and signed complaints and called the Sheriff's Office and reported him. Ford Credit is WRONG. Remember, your speaking to someone in customer service that is ignorant of the law. If he's working as a repo man as a second job,( which may be a conflict of interest) he CANNOT wear any logo's, badges, etc., pertaining to a law enforcement officer. Don't listen to the banks. They will tell you anything because for 1) they don't know the law and 2) to avoid a lawsuit. They wish for you to take their word and not to pursue the matter.

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...Additionally, an off-duty Sheriff may not use the imposition of his/her office outside the witness of (or) in order to foil a commission of a crime [Read: It is currently not a crime to be behind on credit payments.] More conditionally, if, an off-duty Sheriff working a second job as recovery agent witnesses you remove your automobile (scheduled for repossession by him/her) from your closed garage and (you) drive off -- he/she could not follow you, pursue you, or detain you under his/her power as a Sheriff in order to remove you from that vehicle AND reclaim it for a creditor. This is true in or out of uniform. Without an injunction, accompanied by a court order a Sheriff has no right to remove your vehicle from your property. An off-duty Sheriff may not present him/herself as law-enforcement to gain access to your home or property with the intention of repossessing your vehicle. If he/he does misrepresent him or herself in order to enforce a private agenda, that Sheriff is impersonating an officer (at that time.)

Public law #106-547, the Enhanced Federal Security Act of 2000 amends title 18 of the United States Code and became effective 12/19/2000. In short, it restricts badges (and their public uses) more and creates Federal penalties for impersonating an officer. The amendment can be read at the Library of Congress' Law Library's Global Legal Information Network database at www.loc.gov/law/glin by searching on U.S. laws enacted 12/19/2000 and looking for the Enhanced Federal Security Act of 2000.

Sometimes an offense is committed just by taking on the appearance of a local officer.

There are additional penalties if an officer-looking person performs what appears to be an official duty.

(a) A person commits an offense if: (1) the person makes, provides to another person, or possesses a card, document, badge, insignia, shoulder emblem, or other item bearing an insignia of a law enforcement agency that identifies a person as a peace officer or a reserve law enforcement officer; and

(2) the person who makes, provides, or possesses the item bearing the insignia knows that the person so identified by the item is not commissioned as a peace officer or reserve law enforcement officer as indicated on the item.

(b) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that:

(3) the item was used or intended for use exclusively for decorative purposes or in an dramatic presentation to gain false entry.

Depending on state law, impersonating a police officer may be considered either a felony or a misdemeanour. Punishments for impersonating a police officer include:

Imprisonment up to five years (sometimes more) Fines (usually $1000 or more) Probation Permanent criminal record

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Was this story made up? You really think that because you are wearing a shirt and hat with any law enforcement agency's insignia or letters is justifiably the same as impersonating an officer?? A repo agent can wear whatever he or she wants be it a police shirt, coat, hat, etc. one could even walk around in a dinosaur suit resembling t-rex. The fact remains that unless he a) stated that he was an officer of the law when he wasn't and b) you have sufficient proof of this (he said/she said is NOT sufficient) you have NO case.

CORRECTION: While you may not be "technically" impersonating an Officer, State Case Law is very clear on this subject. If the "repo man" wears any resemblance of a badge or presents himself as an "agent", even if generic. The repossession can and has been held as wrongful in a civil case.

In a case such as this, the Debtor need not prove anything. Merely a statement they were under the impression the person that took their car was with the government (because of a badge, swat pants, or police hat) and a sympathetic jury will do the trick.

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Let me tell you something, a repoman CANNOT wear a badge or uniform that portrays law enforcement. It adds what they refer to as "color of law". What is "Color of Law"? It is anything that would lead a member of the general public to believe that they were dealing with a member of law enforcement. A repoman CANNOT wear: a badge, t-shirt with a badge emblem, hat listing any law enforcement agency, ID card with any type badge. All a debtor has to do is think they are speaking to a cop and it adds color of law. The 4th Amendment of the Constitution prohibits the government from taking a citizens life, liberty or property without due process. If you add color of law then you essentially are making the debtor feel like the government is taking their property. I am sorry if you don't believe me but I can provide a list about 5 feet thick of attorneys and professional recovery agents that will back what I said up. Any decent, bonafide recovery agent will not need to use anything that would add color of law. In AZ, there is a law that makes it a class 6 Felony to hide a car from the repoman. In case you are wondering what that law is, it is ARS 13-2204. Problem with that is, the local PD will not arrest anyone on it because they will not get involved with a repo. Period. No wiggle room. No grey area. Back to the main point of the question, breach of peace in laymen's terms is basically anything that happens that involves the police/sheriff being called. Ie: debtor calls police, you call the police before leaving debtors property, neighbor calls police, passer by calls police, lock on gate gets cut, fence gets damaged, an assault occurs (either you Vs. debtor or Debtor Vs. you, it doesn't matter).

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Hey swrepo guy I'm glad to see there's at least one repo guy who doesn't think every repo guy can do no wrong.

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Well, I will be honest with you. I wish we could cuff some of these deadbeats and haul them off along with the car. However, we can't. I cannot afford the legal bills or loss of clients if I were to break the law doing a repo. It gets frustrating to us as recovery agents and to the lenders when we finally track someone down and find them only to find the vehicle behind a locked gate or in a garage that never opens. But no matter how frustrated I get or how many times I run an address, I never even get close to the thin line between legal and illegal. Too much risk.

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There should be more repo guys like you.You posted the Arizona code on another thread about hiding a secured asset(i.e. a vehicle in this case).I was wondering have you ever tried to sue someone for hiding a vehicle and asked for money as damages for each day they hide the car?That way you not the bank will get the money.Just a thought..

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No, that code I listed is actually a criminal code and not a civil code. Unfortunately, the local law enforcement where I reside will not arrest on it, even though it is a felony charge. It would be nice if I could though. I could just count the vehicle stored at their residence and not my lot.

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No i understand they won't arrest on it what I am saying is you sue him in civil court for hiding the collateral from you as agent for the bank i.e. a secured creditor.Do this while he is still hiding the vehicle.There should be a parallel code in the civil code equal to the to the criminal code.You can ask for monetary damages because he is hiding the collateral from you which is costing you money.Because lets say the guy catches up on his payments or pays the entire loan off while you've been trying to repo it then the bank calls off the repo you don't get paid and lets say you have been at this guy for 6-7 weeks that's a lot of time/money.

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I understand what you are saying but there just isn't a court around that is going to allow a repoman to prevail on a case like that. Let's say that I do decide to file a civil case against the debtor. I will have to show that I was assigned the repo by the lender, therefore the lender will have to become involved and when you start mentioning involving courts and attorneys, lenders tend to say "Well, let's just close the account with you and have our legal department handle it." A lot of courts will only allow the lender to file the case as the repo man has no contract or lien with the debtor. It is the same scenario that prevents the repoman from reporting the car stolen, he is not on the title or listed as an owner. I feel you on this one, I mean I can see where you're really trying to provide some helpful insight but you gotta trust a guy who has tried the court system as an avenue before numerous times. The laws are set up to protect the debtors, not the repomen/women.

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Just to retouch on the subject of the deputy sheriff wearing his badge, here is a direct quote from the FDCPA,15 USC 1692e � 807.

False or misleading representations

A debt collector may not use any false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of any debt. Without limiting the general application of the foregoing, the following conduct is a violation of this section:

(1) The false representation or implication that the debt collector is vouched for, bonded by, or affiliated with the United States or any State, including the use of any badge, uniform, or facsimile thereof.

(2) The false representation of --

(A) the character, amount, or legal status of any debt; or

(B) any services rendered or compensation which may be lawfully received by any debt collector for the collection of a debt.

(3) The false representation or implication that any individual is an attorney or that any communication is from an attorney.

(4) The representation or implication that non-payment of any debt will result in the arrest or imprisonment of any person or the seizure, garnishment, attachment, or sale of any property or wages of any person unless such action is lawful and the debt collector or creditor intends to take such action.

(5) The threat to take any action that cannot legally be taken or that is not intended to be taken.

(6) The false representation or implication that a sale, referral, or other transfer of any interest in a debt shall cause the consumer to --

(A) lose any claim or defense to payment of the debt; or

(B) become subject to any practice prohibited by this title.

(7) The false representation or implication that the consumer committed any crime or other conduct in order to disgrace the consumer.

(8) Communicating or threatening to communicate to any person credit information which is known or which should be known to be false, including the failure to communicate that a disputed debt is disputed.

(9) The use or distribution of any written communication which simulates or is falsely represented to be a document authorized, issued, or approved by any court, official, or agency of the United States or any State, or which creates a false impression as to its source, authorization, or approval.

(10) The use of any false representation or deceptive means to collect or attempt to collect any debt or to obtain information concerning a consumer.

(11) The failure to disclose in the initial written communication with the consumer and, in addition, if the initial communication with the consumer is oral, in that initial oral communication, that the debt collector is attempting to collect a debt and that any information obtained will be used for that purpose, and the failure to disclose in subsequent communications that the communication is from a debt collector, except that this paragraph shall not apply to a formal pleading made in connection with a legal action.

(12) The false representation or implication that accounts have been turned over to innocent purchasers for value.

(13) The false representation or implication that documents are legal process.

(14) The use of any business, company, or organization name other than the true name of the debt collector's business, company, or organization.

(15) The false representation or implication that documents are not legal process forms or do not require action by the consumer.

(16) The false representation or implication that a debt collector operates or is employed by a consumer reporting agency as defined by section 603(f) of this Act.

So, if you want to wear your little Jr. Sheriff badge and go repoing, go right ahead but I hope you have a good lawyer.

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All though The laws are different From State to State I'm An recovery agent A "repo man" can were a badge if it has the name of the company he is working for or AUTO Repossessor or some thing to that. I where a badge when i am recovering an automobile there is nothing law enforcement can do unless you breach peace in some state and city they can use a right of way law. Which state that you have a right to access your property and a automobile is the property of the lien holder until you have pay it off. Most city's have laws that restrict police, dot, fire-fighter, and Political Fighters using their badges to Gain.

Multiple Definitions

Breach of Peace is an inclusive term that covers any violation of the 'public tranquillity'.

Examples: resisting lawful arrest, discharging a firearm in violation of an existing law, intentionally disturbing the peace of a neighborhood, family or person (loud party, loud abusive and/or indecent behavior and so forth.

The usual criminal charge when a person is arrested under breach of peace laws is disorderly conduct.