Dyer Act Law and Legal Definition

The Dyer Act is a U.S. federal legislation aimed to supplement states' efforts to combat automobile theft. It was enacted in 1919. This Act made the interstate transportation of stolen vehicles a federal crime. The Dyer Act is popularly called the National Motor Vehicle Theft Act. The provisions of the Act are found under 18 USCS § 2311 et seq.

Pursuant to 18 USCS § 2312, any person who transports in interstate or foreign commerce a motor vehicle, vessel, or aircraft, knowing the same to have been stolen, shall be fined or imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.

A person who aids and abets in the commission of this offense is equally culpable as a principal who has actually committed the crime. Any person who is involved in the sale or receipt of a stolen vehicle is also punishable under the Act. 18 USCS § 2313 specifically states that “ whoever receives, possesses, conceals, stores, barters, sells, or disposes of any motor vehicle, vessel, or aircraft, which has crossed a State or United States boundary after being stolen, knowing the same to have been stolen, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.”

There are three elements that must be established beyond a reasonable doubt if an accused is to be convicted under the Act: (1) a vehicle is stolen, (2) the defendant knows that the vehicle is stolen, and (3) the defendant transports the vehicle in interstate or foreign commerce.