By on July 14, 2011

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.

Source: PDF File House Bill 427 (North Carolina General Assembly, 6/23/2011)

[Courtesy: Thenewspaper.com]

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53 Comments on “North Carolina to Seize Speeding Cars That Fail to Pull Over...”


  • avatar
    mikedt

    I’m sure this law will be used righteously and exactly as intended.

  • avatar
    aristurtle

    Love that last bit. “Yeah, if the seized car is sufficiently awesome, don’t sell it, instead bolt on some red&blues and hoon the hell out of it.”

  • avatar
    cackalacka

    Haven’t read the full article, but FYI, Deb Purdue is a Democrat, not a Republican.

    Although, here in North Carolina, our Overton Window has a Doppler shift, so it is easy to confuse a Democrat for a Republican in this state.

    • 0 avatar
      cackalacka

      This is doubly-ironic, as given the local news/Highway Patrol of the past few weeks. A female motorist was pulled over for a dubious reason, refused a breathalizer, was taken to a station, blew a 0.0, was transported (and this is where things get dicey) to another facility, while her husband was following the trooper (who asked him to follow him), trooper texts his trooper friend (and gives him some details), goes more than 10 over (so as to lure the husband into speeding/getting caught by his trooper-friend), pulls a U-ey while the other trooper pulls the woman’s husband (so as to taunt the woman,) has a magistrate lecture the woman on the dangers of driving sober, and then lies about making contact with the other trooper in the police report.

      Oh, and for luring the other motorist into a dangerous situation, detaining a woman for false pretenses, and LYING in the police report, one of the trooper gets a vacation, and nothing happens to the other.

      The state highway patrol is under the purview of the Governor that signed this bill.

      I’m sure this confiscation bill will only be used for good and not evil /sarcasm.

  • avatar
    jimbowski

    What happens when you get tagged by radar and it takes the cop a long time to turn around and catch up to you? Could that be considered impound worthy?

    • 0 avatar
      cackalacka

      That depends on the police agency jurisdictions solvency/balance sheet. Some states toll the five mile stretch of interstate that happens to pass through them (cough cough Delaware cough) others will use eminent domain. It’s easier than raising taxes/cutting services to a responsible manner.

  • avatar
    ixim

    Another state to avoid.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Excellent, you know how many innocent people get killed in such chases?

    • 0 avatar
      cdotson

      According to cursory investigation and some quotes on pursuitwatch.org, there are 4000 injuries per year. Using statistics from another quote that may correlate to as many as 200 deaths per year. I assume that’s nationwide, but in any event I personally do not think it justifies complete disregard of property rights and constitutional rights against unjust seizure. A more appropriate reaction should be to abandon or reduce the scale of pursuits to minimize the chance of the crash happening to begin with.

      This law inherently does NOT prevent pursuits; it incentivises pursuits by rewarding the pursuers with financial gain. The crashes and deaths happen because of the pursuit. People who flee (lead the pursuit) have by necessity already broken a law; this law will not deter them from fleeing. Get some pictures/video/evidence and hand over to the detectives to track down the offenders in a safe manner at a later time.

    • 0 avatar
      MikeAR

      Volt, am I not catching your sarcasm or are you serious? What kind of a person would celebrate someone losing their own property for a misdemeanor? And if you are serious, then try to change police policy and not allow high speed chases. They can’t outrun the radio after all.

      • 0 avatar
        Jimal

        The alleged infraction you are being pulled over for isn’t what your car would be subject to seizure for; the failure to pull over is. In most (if not all) states failure to pull over OR engaging in pursuit OR flight (or whatever your particular state calls it) is a felony.

        I hate to say it, but if you go the extra step to evade perhaps you need to have your car taken. I respect personal property rights and everything, but if points or suspension or a heavy cash fines don’t prevent crims (and let’s fact it, if you’re running you’re running for a reason) from running for it, perhaps this will.

      • 0 avatar
        MikeAR

        But the start was a midemeanor. I’m generally against asset forfeiture laws just because of the potential for abuse by law enforcement. And don’t try to tell me that they haven’t been abused. I don’t like militarized police forces either for that reason.

      • 0 avatar
        Dukeboy01

        @ MikeAR

        What difference does it make that the original offense that attracted the attention of law enforcement was a misdemeanor? Fleeing and evading is a seperate offense and a Felony in most jurisdictions that I’m aware of. That’s the offense that the new law trys to clamp down on, not simple speeding or other traffic violations.

        Misdemeanor situations turn into Felonies all the time. You shoplift a candybar. That’s a misdemeanor theft. The store owner goes to stop you and you punch him in the face. Now it’s a Felony Robbery.

      • 0 avatar
        MikeAR

        Dukeboy, you want to know what differnce it makes? I’ll tell you from personal experience having a local cop lie under oath on the stand and then challenge me to a fight as we were leaving court. He wouldn’t take his badge and uniform off though so I declined.

        Police throughout the country have been caught abusing their powers time after time. Why should we trust them to do the right thing in this case? You might live in an annex of heaven with all Andy Taylor cops but most of the rest of us don’t.

        People, even accused criminals, have rights and we all should support that concept. Are you some kind of LEO? You surely sound like it.

        Another thing, ban high speed pursuits, there are ways to solve the problem that don’t involve the accused and the police endangering a lot of innocent bystanders.

    • 0 avatar
      cackalacka

      No I do not know how many innocent folks get killed in such cases. Do you?

      I’m guessing that, as you didn’t bound your question over a geographical area or a time-range, this is either a rhetorical question (deferring to authority), or a sarcastic one.

      In the case that it is the former, I know what the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th Amendments state, do you? (Apparently Bev Purdue is a bit iffy on these.)

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    While The Newspaper is prone to exaggeration when it comes to this type of enforcement (and often heavily pimp bad-cop behavior) , they have a point here. The devil is in the details when it comes to civil forfeiture laws. Given the “performance car” exemption, this bill doesn’t pass the smell test.

    The elephant in the living room with this bill is the status of a leased vehicle. Many degenerate blue states (cough – NY – cough) are more than happy to take Carpenter Carl’s paid for, well maintained, 8 year old pickup. But they balk at taking the 1 year old leased Lexus from Larry Lawyer.

    What’s wrong with a law mandating a hefty fine ($5000?), a misdemeanor reckless endangerment charge, and a couple weeks in jail for not pulling over after a couple minutes of pursuit?

  • avatar
    noxioux

    I guess if illegal search and seizure is good enough for the TSA, it ought to be good enough for everyone.

  • avatar
    Acubra

    Yet another reason to laugh in the face of anybody claiming that the US is “the land of the free”…

    • 0 avatar
      M 1

      Now, now… we all know Obedience, Subservience, and the Will of the Collective trump such trivialities as property rights. What are you, some sort of cave dweller, with your Constitution and your “priorities”?

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    Another nail in the coffin of the auto businees and this country.

    As Acubra says, “Land of the Free” is becoming pretty laughable.

    And why bother buying a new car? I have to worry about confiscation, speed cameras, red-light camera, high ticket fines, surcharges on those fines–all this crap for driving 75 mph or more on a highway that’s posted for 65mph, or for doing 45 mph in a 30 mph speed trap.

    No, I think I’ll keep my 20-yr old car. It’s not as much fun to drive fast, which means I’m less likely to get harassed. IN the not too distant future, we’ll see that 1985-2000 was a hight point for the automobile, much like 1963-69 was viewed by the late 1970s.

    You would think the automakers lobby would oppose this type of crap legislation, but no, they are politically correct, or wards of the state, or most likely, all deluded and think their sales and market share will increase, so why worry?

    Also, new cars have too much big brother crap. You’re being watched (on-star). You have 10 airbags–any one of which can accidentally go off and cause an accident, or kill you (don’t hear about those). You have tire pressure monitors–wait till they malfunction when the warranty expires. Stability control. All this “good” expensive crap to compensate for driver stupidity or ignorance.

    So, I’ll keep my 2001 Grand Prix and 98 Civic…and I suspect millions of others who CAN buy a new car will choose not to. And with demographics AND more govt stupidity (CAFE laws vs higher fuel taxes), well, you can kiss the US auto industry good bye. Maybe we don’t need it–after all, Britain is doing fine without it, right?

    There, now I feel better.

    • 0 avatar
      RichardD

      Not just “wards of the state.” GM is the state.

      Tire pressure monitors also can be used to track you since they broadcast a unique ID. More reliable than OCR on a license plate.

    • 0 avatar
      smlfox

      It depends on if the Civic is a sedan or coupe. They might see the coupe as being sporty, and thus a good target.

      At least they seem to think my bone stock, non-VTEC Integra is.

  • avatar
    ufomike

    We need to start a list of states to avoid.
    So far I’ve got
    Virginia – 81 in a 65 mph zone is considered reckless driving
    North Carolina – steals your car (not surprised that they border Virginia)

    Please add to the list if you guys know of any other states with similar laws.

    • 0 avatar
      jimbowski

      Super Troopers in Ohio

    • 0 avatar
      cackalacka

      MD and DC love them some speed cameras.

      • 0 avatar
        smlfox

        Virginia loves the cameras, too. Danville has one where they’ll snap a picture of your car for going the posted speed limit, but over the advised speed limit at an intersection.

        Kind of odd, really, having grown up and learned to drive in that town. We were told in driver’s ed that a yellow sign is an “advisory speed,” a suggested safe speed, but the white signs were the legally binding ones.

        I will admit it’s a dangerous intersection on Hwy. 58 West, but they’ve already got a light that flashes if you’re going “too fast for intersection.”

        I’ve watched the camera turn to snap a picture of a car, too.

    • 0 avatar
      Selektaa

      It gets better. Virginia recently passed a law that raises the maximum state speed limit to 70, and large sections of the interstates are now 70mph. 81 is still reckless, though. So to amend…

      Virginia – 81 in a 70 mph zone is considered reckless driving.

      Beautiful.

    • 0 avatar
      Japanese Buick

      There’s a world of difference, Virginia is much stricter than NC, in NC speeding tickets are routinely reduced in court to non moving or no insurance points violations, or disposed of with a “prayer for judgement continued” (google it for a better explanation than I can type here). Virginia’s courts show no such leniency.

      In NC, unless there are significant aggravating factors, only a fool fails to get a significant reduction of speeding charges.

  • avatar
    Mr Carpenter

    Hmmm, gee, yet another state filled with professional lawyer-politicians who aren’t apparently LITERATE enough to read the United States Constitution.

    I’d say that makes 50 of them plus DC (which goes without saying).

    Marvelous, ain’t it?!

    So much for a free country.

    Without a foundation of real law, no nation will stand long.

  • avatar
    fincar1

    OK, I see the way this will work. Cop red-lights the car, then immediately stops. Any citizen who didn’t pull over quickly enough is now running away from the cop. Bingo, one seizure. Which probably will be a contractor’s new F-250 pickup with a diesel fuel tank and $6,000 worth of tools in it.

    I’m only kidding, riiiight…?

  • avatar
    Dukeboy01

    The Newspaper’s editorial biases and lack of credibility are absolutely ridiculous. Here’s their hyperbolic third paragraph:

    “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.”

    Actually, no, neither of these situations would have triggered the new law had they happened in North Carolina. The law requires the suspect to reach speeds greater than at least 15 mph over the speed limit. That clearly did not happen in either of the two cases The Newspaper cites. No one, police or suspect, alleges in either case that it did.

    Credibility in reporting matters. The Newspaper doesn’t have it.

    • 0 avatar
      MikeAR

      Of course credibility is defined as agreeing with you. So they just don’t have it then do they. Now why would you defend police misconduct? Maybe you’re one?

    • 0 avatar
      cackalacka

      God help me for agreeing with MikeAR here, but, say you’re going 5 over in a 65. “‘”Work-zone”‘” appears, dropping the speed-limit.

      Oh, hey, you’re now going 15 over, in a “‘”Work Zone”‘”.

      Cop sees you. Jersey-barrier blocking your ability to shoulder your vehicle for 200 yards?

      Welp, that’s a nice car you -used to have-.

      Remember it’s presumed guilty with asset forfeiture. And a broke community or jurisdiction which has been given license over your rights to property will exercise it’s license to it’s hearts content.

      • 0 avatar
        MikeAR

        Truth is, I can’t see how there could be ay disagreement on this subject. The NC law is indefensible, there’s no way to spin it as being reasonable or Constitutional.

      • 0 avatar
        cackalacka

        True that, but one will ALWAYS find a sizable plurality of folks willing to surrender their rights to authority; folks that do not see any problem with a large conflict of interest re: asset seizure directly benefiting enforcing parties.

  • avatar
    Junebug

    Purdue is a joke, a 1 term wonder that will share space with other dipsticks of politics. Even my “democrat in-laws” hate her. We just had the mid term elections and a bunch in DC and Raleigh got their walking papers, Bob Etheridge being one. So what did ol Bev do? Give Bobby a fat office/salary working on spending the “stimulus money” not already pissed away. Nah, no politics there! She can forget a next term, state workers ain’t had a raise in years and are looking at lay-offs too.

    As far as driving in NC, behave yourself and you’ll be fine. But I agree, the HP has some issues to work out, but, they’re extremely short handed (opps, guess they don’t want that to get out) too bad the local TV station spilled the beans about that the other night.

    • 0 avatar
      cackalacka

      As a pinko commie life-long liberal/resident of NC, I completely agree. Hell, after SlEasley, and despite disagreeing with 99% of his platform, I voted for Munger last election (over both major party guv nominees.)

      It would be nice if NC had small-d democratic “Democrat” state-wide candidates. Instead we have a choice between Republican and Republican-Lites.

    • 0 avatar
      smlfox

      The State Troopers are a joke, too. Over the past couple of months, I’ve seen them sitting at exit 34x (maybe 344) on I-40, but won’t pull people going 80 or 85.

  • avatar
    MarcKyle64

    So if I’m out exercising my 200 mph sportbike I have even more of an incentive to keep running?

    • 0 avatar
      ufomike

      You do if you are exercising it in the triple digit range and you just happen to be passing through a “construction equipment and pickup truck parking” zo…. i mean a work zone.

  • avatar
    Mikemannn

    Avoid Ontario, Canada too.

    $5000 fine, license suspended for a week, and car towed and impouded for a week if you’re caught “stunt driving”. (Suspected, not Convicted!)

    What constitutes “stunt driving” you ask?

    Driving 50km/h (30MPH) over the limit. (even on the freeway where the flow of traffic is generally 20-30km/h over to begin with)

    Attepmting to make your tires lose grip from the road surface. (even in winter? … wait… attempting? what’s next, attempted J-Walking?)

    Turning left from a light that just turned green without giving oncoming traffic time to proceed.

    Racing, which includes trying to “make time” on the road, or timing yourself from point a to point b.. you know, like a bus.

    among other things.

    • 0 avatar
      M 1

      In some Florida municipalities we have such wonderfully vague laws as “exhibition of speed” which is used to harass motorists for everything from minor speeding to accidentally chirping your wheels while pulling away.

    • 0 avatar
      musiccitymafia

      “Turning left from a light that just turned green without giving oncoming traffic time to proceed.”

      This is a reasonably common practice in lots of places. For instance Pittsburgh with it’s narrow streets and hilly terrain. The practice surprises you at first but then starts to make more and more sense. Then one day you try it yourself and are surprised at how much time you have to clear the intersection with absolutely no impact on oncoming traffic. All the cars stacked up behind you are free to proceed too.

      • 0 avatar
        Mikemannn

        @musicitymafia

        I used to do that at an intersection on my commute, the oncoming traffic is held far back of the intersection as the side street intersects at an angle – and the crosswalk doesn’t go 90 degrees to the main road either. You could reasonably turn left and be half way down the next block before an ‘oncoming’ car passed by your rearview mirror. The main road is busy, so now I hold up a line of traffic for (usually) an entire light cycle. There’s probably going to be an accident behind me as people scramble to get out of the left lane. On my motorcycle, I won’t even take that route; I’m likely to be rear ended and killed.

  • avatar
    stryker1

    I’ll go ahead and add that to the already very long list of things that make North Carolina a good candidate for nuclear weapons testing. Seriously, the hell with your state.

  • avatar
    outback_ute

    Living in Victoria, Australia as referred to in the linked “article” – compare it with the official press release containing the quote: http://www.police.vic.gov.au/content.asp?Document_ID=11521

    Cars are impounded not seized for a first offence, it takes 3 to have your car seized – which had happened 5 times in 12 months at the time of the press release in 2007.

    The laws are aimed at the ridiculous end of driving behaviours, there is a real problem with idiots on the road. Yes there is the potential for questionable charges etc but the courts are there in that case (and typically ‘soft’ which explains the quote re enjoyment).

    Most impoundments are for burnouts and the like or high-range speeding (>45km/h over) – on the basis that fines and licence demerit points have not proved to be a sufficient deterrent. A bit hard to argue against really, people getting their cars seized at this point are real slow learners.

  • avatar
    smlfox

    North Carolina is desperate for money, so I’m not too entirely surprised Purdue would sign such a bill into effect. It’s just another way to try to make up for the huge budget deficit.

    That being said, I’m not a fan of the Highway Patrol. A few years ago, I was heading back to school in Greensboro from my parents house near Topsail Island (about 20 miles from Wilmington) and between Burlington and Greensboro an unmarked Trooper comes up behind me (in the far right lane) and begins to tailgate me, as if egging me on to speed up. Maybe it’s because I drive a (stock) Integra, but who knows.

    He was behind me for a mile or two when I saw a WRX in my side mirror. An older Jeep Cherokee went flying past the WRX and the cop cut his lights on and pulled the Jeep. I will admit, I didn’t mind being tailgated by a cop since I got to see a dumbass getting pulled over.

    However, last summer I had two State Troopers gang up on me on I40 around Warsaw. They came out from the median and one pulled behind me and the other beside me. Pulled me for expired tags (by 1 day, the stickers hadn’t arrived yet) and a cracked windshield, which didn’t cross the line of sight. Got off with a warning when I said I was on my way to Chapel Hill for a doctor’s appointment. Guess he felt bad, and assumed it was something major.

    I watch people fly up and down I40, Hwy 17, Hwy 210 and rarely see people get pulled. It’s a little frustrating when we need money, but people are getting away with speeding. Makes me wonder how many cars would get confiscated.

  • avatar
    Japanese Buick

    I’ve lived and driven in NC all my life and in my experience it’s a pretty reasonable state for drivers. 9 over doesn’t cause insurance points and is generally tolerated. If you get a ticket, reductions are common, often to non moving violations if there are no aggravating factors. Heck, the trooper who wrote me for 70/55 this spring even told me if I came to court I could likely get it reduced to a non moving violation (which I successfully did).

    There are two significant inaccuracies in the article. First, Gov Perdue is a Democrat. Second, the state constitution requires all fines and proceeds from seizures to go to the state school system, not local authorities. This is why most speed cameras in the state were unplugged years ago, because the courts required the fines to go to the school system, not the vendors or the local governments. The Newspaper should know this, they covered it.


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