(TRENTON) – The full Assembly on Monday gave final legislative approval to legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Gilbert “Whip” Wilson that would allow law enforcement agencies to impound motor vehicles for certain crimes and offenses, including unlawful possession of a weapon.
“We need to send the strongest message possible that gun crimes will not be tolerated,” said Wilson (D-Camden/Gloucester). “This bill protects the rights of law-abiding gun owners while going after criminals.”
Under the provisions of the bill (A-4180), a law enforcement agency may impound a motor vehicle if: 1) a weapon was unlawfully possessed in the motor vehicle; 2) the motor vehicle was used in the commission of prostitution; or 3) the vehicle was used in the commission of buying or selling a controlled dangerous substance.
The bill also provides that a law enforcement agency may impose a reasonable administrative fee for a violation, which would be in addition to the costs for towing and storage of the vehicle. The fees would be imposed on the registered owner of the vehicle and a law enforcement agency may retain custody of the vehicle until the fees are paid.
In addition, the registered owner is entitled to a hearing, upon request. The bill requires that the registered owner of the vehicle be notified of the impoundment and of their right to a hearing. Lastly, the bill allows the vehicle to be sold at auction if the owner does not claim the vehicle within 30 days of impoundment and establishes a procedure for this process.
The bill passed both houses with a vote of 73-0-5 in the Assembly and (36-0) in the Senate on May 13. It now heads to the Governor for further consideration.