North Carolina to Seize Speeding Cars That Fail to Pull Over

The Newspaper
by The Newspaper

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.

House Bill 427 (North Carolina General Assembly, 6/23/2011)


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  • Smlfox Smlfox on Jul 15, 2011

    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.

  • Japanese Buick Japanese Buick on Jul 17, 2011

    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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