Beginning December 1, North Carolina will join Australia in having laws on the book mandating the seizure of vehicles for certain speeding offenses. On June 23, Governor Bev Perdue (R) signed the “Run and You’re Done” bill into law which authorizes a county sheriff to take and hold the car of anyone accused — not convicted — of speeding away from a police officer. The state House and Senate passed the measure unanimously.
Under the new law, the confiscation becomes permanent if a judge believes the car or motorcycle was used to elude a police officer while speeding more than 15 MPH over the limit with at least one other aggravating factor, such as having someone under 12 years old in the vehicle or the vehicle was at some point in a highway work zone, regardless of whether any workers are present.
Such charges could apply to drivers who have done nothing seriously wrong. In 2009, a Minnesota State rammed the minivan of a man accused of not using his turn signal, then arrested him for “eluding police” because he took less than a minute to find a place to pull over that was not covered in snow. He had his three small children in the car at the time. In 2008, a woman drove less than 10 MPH over the limit followed the general advice of waiting to find a well-lit area before pulling over. She was arrested by Greene County, Missouri police and only escaped charges when the incident hit the news.
Conviction under “Run and You’re Done” brings revenue to the police agency responsible for the seizure. The entity responsible for selling the vehicle will keep seizure fees, storage fees and sales fees. The remainder of the profit is distributed to the county government like a normal fine.
Under the new law, the vehicle can be seized and sold even if the actual owner of the vehicle is unaware of its use for speeding. Police only need to place a legal advertisement in a newspaper on two occasions and paste up three handbills near the place of seizure before selling the car. The process can be done in 24 days. A court clerk has the discretion to release a car to anyone he believes might be an “innocent owner.”
A special provision forbids the sale of highly modified performance vehicles. These, instead, are to be “turned over to such governmental agency or public official within the territorial jurisdiction of the court as the court shall see fit, to be used in the performance of official duties only.”
A copy of the legislation is available in a 70k PDF file at the source link below.