Friday, December 3, 2010

A Bill Is Born: Vehicle Impound Amendments

I recently opened a bill file regarding police authority to impound vehicles.  This legislation was proposed last year but did not have enough time to reach the floor for a vote.  I offered to submit the bill again in behalf of an outgoing legislator who was the original author.

The gist of this bill is to allow for police seizure of vehicles that are suspected in hit-and-run accidents that involve property damage, injury, or death.  Our existing law allows for our vehicles to be impounded without a warrant if we are driving on the road for over three months without registration. This bill proposes the same if our vehicles are suspected in a hit-and-run accident.    

The main benefit to this bill will be the time and resource savings from a law enforcement perspective.  Rather than having police stake out a vehicle or spend a lot of time running warrants through the court when a hit-and-run vehicle is found, the police will have the authority to act in a timely way.

UPDATE 12/21/10:  Upon further research it was discovered that current law allows for the impounding of vehicles involved in hit and run accidents without a warrant.  However, when documenting such incidents the police classify the the incident at "theft/possible theft" which everyone involved knows is not the best description of this circumstance.  This bill provides a legal description that fits the facts of the case and will help law enforcement properly document such instances.  In essence, the bill is a minor clerical change. 

The next step is for the bill to be assigned a number. Then it will sit in a pile of bills that will be heard "at committee" when the legislative session starts in January.  From there it is sent for a vote on the House floor, then to the Senate, and if approved, to the Governor for a signature where it becomes the law of the land.   

I will keep you posted on the progress of this bill.

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