Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrat Adam Taliaferro that would close a loophole in current law which prevents law enforcement from seizing ATVs and dirt bikes used in crimes including drugs sales, prostitution, and weapons transport was approved by the full Assembly Thursday, 73-0.
State law currently does not provide specific language for all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes among the motor vehicles used in the commission of a crime to be impounded. When an ATV or dirt bike is discovered to have been used in the commission of a crime, law enforcement is prevented from seizing the vehicle and ensuring it is not used in a subsequent crime.
“ATVs are particularly dangerous when used improperly,” said Taliaferro (D-Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem). “They can easily evade police cars though backyards and alleyways where officers cannot pursue. The ability to impound these vehicles as done with other vehicles used in the commission of a crime is an additional tool that will help keep our communities safe.”
The bill (A-3251) defines an all-terrain vehicle to mean a motor vehicle, designed to travel over any terrain, of a type possessing between three and six trees, excluding golf carts, and defines a dirt bike to mean a two-wheeled motorcycle designed and manufactured for off-road use.
Under current law, law enforcement agencies may impound motor vehicles for certain crimes and offenses, such as crimes involving firearms, or when the vehicle was used in the commission of prostitution or buying or selling a controlled dangerous substance. The bill clarifies that all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes are considered motor vehicles under this law.
The measure was released by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee on March 5 and by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on June 4. It now awaits further consideration by the Senate.