Section 8-12-3Defacing identifying mark on encumbered personal property; presumption of guilt by possession.
(a) Any person who defaces, or permits the same to be done, with intent to defraud any trademark, or other identifying mark, on any automobile motor, other motor, guns, electrical equipment, radios, motor vehicles, refrigerators, furniture, household or office equipment, or any other personal property, when such property is encumbered with a mortgage, conditional sale contract, or other lien, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, shall be fined on conviction not less than $25 nor more than $500 and may be imprisoned in the county jail or sentenced to hard labor for not more than six months.
(b) Any person, other than the absolute owner of the property while the same is free and clear of mortgages, retention of title contracts or other encumbrances, found in possession of such property under any claim of right with knowledge that the property has been defaced by a person or persons with intent to defraud after the trademarks or other identifying marks have been defaced, shall be presumed to be guilty of defacing such marks, and shall be punished as provided in this section unless the person in possession overcomes the presumption by clear and convincing proof.
(Acts 1939, No. 667, p. 1061, §§1, 2; Code 1940, T. 57, §§94(1), 94(2).)