Wilson Bill to Allow Authorities to Impound Vehicles Found With Illegal Guns Now Law

(TRENTON) – 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 has been signed into law.

“This new law will send the strongest message possible that gun crimes will not be tolerated,” said Wilson (D-Camden/Gloucester). “The law will protect the rights of law-abiding gun owners while going after the real criminals.”

Under the new statute, 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 new law 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 registered owner of the vehicle will be notified of the impoundment and of their right to a hearing. The new law also directs 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.