Senator DONALD NORCROSS
District 5 (Camden and Gloucester)
Authorizes impoundment of motor vehicles for certain crimes and offenses.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning impoundment of certain motor vehicles and supplementing Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. a. Any law enforcement agency is authorized to impound:
(1) a motor vehicle in which a violation of subsection a., b., c., or f. of N.J.S.2C:39-5 was committed;
(2) a motor vehicle which was used in the commission of any offense under subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:34-1; and
(3) a motor vehicle which was used in the commission of an offense under subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:35-10 or subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:35-5.
b. A law enforcement agency impounding a vehicle pursuant to this section is authorized to charge a reasonable administrative fee in addition to the fees charged for the towing and storage of the impounded vehicle. The law enforcement agency is further authorized to retain custody of the vehicle until the fees are paid. All administrative fees and towing and storage fees shall be imposed on the registered owner of the motor vehicle. The registered owner shall be entitled to a hearing, upon request.
The administrative fees shall be collected by and paid to the municipality imposing the fees. The towing and storage fees shall be collected by and paid to the person or entity that tows and stores the impounded vehicle.
c. The registered owner of the vehicle shall be provided notice of the impoundment and of the right to request a hearing.
d. If the owner-lessor of an impounded vehicle fails to claim the impounded vehicle by midnight of the 30th day following the day on which the vehicle was impounded, that vehicle may be sold at auction. Notice of the sale shall be given by the impounding entity by certified mail to the owner of the vehicle, if the owner's name and address are known, and to the lienholder, if the lienholder's name and address are known, and by publication in a form prescribed by the chief administrator by one insertion, at least five days before the date of the sale, in one or more newspapers published in this State and circulating in the municipality in which the vehicle is impounded.
At any time prior to the sale of an impounded vehicle, the owner or other person entitled to the vehicle may reclaim possession upon showing proof of registration and insurance and paying all costs associated with the impoundment, and reasonable towing and storage fees and administrative fees.
The owner-lessor of an impounded vehicle shall be entitled to reclaim possession without payment or proof of insurance and the lessee shall be liable for all outstanding costs associated with the impoundment, towing, and storage of the vehicle and the administrative fees.
e. Any proceeds obtained from the sale of a vehicle at public auction pursuant to subsection d. of this section in excess of the amount owed for the administrative fees, towing and storage fees and any other costs associated with the impoundment of the vehicle shall be returned to the owner of that vehicle, if his name and address are known.
2. This act shall take effect immediately.
This bill permits law enforcement agencies to impound motor vehicles for certain crimes and offenses.
Under the provisions of this bill, a law enforcement agency may impound a motor vehicle if: 1) a weapon was unlawfully possessed in the motor vehicle, 2) the motor vehicle was used in the commission of prostitution, or 3) the vehicle was used in the commission of buying or selling a controlled dangerous substance.
The bill also provides that a law enforcement agency may impose a reasonable administrative fee for a violation, which would be in addition to the costs for towing and storage of the vehicle. The fees would be imposed on the registered owner of the vehicle and a law enforcement agency may retain custody of the vehicle until the fees are paid.
In addition, under the provisions of this bill, the registered owner is entitled to a hearing, upon request. The bill requires that the registered owner of the vehicle be notified of the impoundment and of their right to a hearing.
Lastly, the bill allows the vehicle to be sold at auction if the owner does not claim the vehicle within 30 days of impoundment and establishes a procedure for this process.