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View Full Version : Car Forfeiture


Scruit
04-25-04, 02:10 PM
Does your jurisdiction seize the car of a person involved in a drive-up drug deal?

If so, how do you handle cars that have an outstanding loan on them (and therefore a bank lien on the title)? Can you seize the car still?


99TAC
04-25-04, 04:28 PM
#1. I thought any time property was seized it was first offered to the federal government before local PD

#2. Unless the vehicle is expired for insurance cancellation or something I don't think the police have any involment with liens and stuff. All that is handled by reposession agents. It is not a police matter as far as I know.

rdp
04-25-04, 05:08 PM
We don't touch any bank/repo issues unless there is a disturbance from the repo event.

I have ran into 2 vehicles that were listed in NCIC as stolen out of AZ. From what I gathered, failing to pay the bank was a criminal act and the car was listed as stolen.

As far as seizing vehicles, we seize them whenever we can. It has to be used in the commission of a felony excluding mere drug possession. The owner must have knowledge of the vehicle's use.

We are now seizing leased vehicles too. The first seizure is a free-be. The owner will receive a notice of what the vehicle is being used for. If they fail to take it back on their own, it is surprising. If we have the chance to seize it again, we do.

The only time we offer property to the US govt. is cash seizures. We now do this because our state legislature thought it would be a good idea to use the police seized money for schools and thus hurting the depts. additional source of income. The state takes 70% if we seize it. If we turn the money over to the feds, they take 10% and we get 90%.


Scruit
04-25-04, 05:11 PM
#1: Dunno about that - I know that some jurisdictions will seize he cars of drug dealers/buyers, DUIs or Johns... And some of those jurisdictions will offer the car back to the perso it was seized from at a price.

#2: The problem I have is that is the title has a lien against it then it cannot be transferred to another person without the permission of the lienholder. If it is seized by the police then I will have no collatoral left for the loan and if I default on the payments or whatever and the lender wants to reposess then can they reposess from the government agency that now has it?

Seems to me that the lender loses out if the vehicle is seized, and that's kinda unfair to them as they have no means of controlling what the vehicle is used for, and they are no more responsible for drug activity in that a car as they are resonsible/liable to a 3rd party in a traffic accident...

Scruit
04-25-04, 05:15 PM
BTW My question does not relate to bank reposessions - only to seizures by the police for use in the comission of a felony...


We are now seizing leased vehicles too. The first seizure is a free-be. The owner will receive a notice of what the vehicle is being used for. If they fail to take it back on their own, it is surprising. If we have the chance to seize it again, we do.

So if I have a leased vehicle and it is seized, then the first time it is seized the lease company can get the vehicle back from the police for no money (and then probably terminate my lease...)

What about if there's just an outstanding loan in the car...? Does a seizure by the police override a bank lien on the title?

rdp
04-25-04, 05:21 PM
Yep....we take it. It is not our problem the bank chose to have a dirt bag as a client. They are out of $$ but that is the cost of doing business. The subject still owes the bank money. The bank can go after him in civil court and do it that way.

Think of it like this.........the car was stolen and weenie had no inusrance. He still owes 5k on the car. Even though the car is gone, he still owes the money.

We don't keep too many cars......we prefer to sell them back to the owner/lender.

If we worried about liens, then anyone could have a friend place a lien on a vehicle so the police couldn't seize it. It is SO easy to have a lien placed. All it takes is an affidavit and a lien is placed. The most common is a mechanic's lien.

Hightower
04-25-04, 06:12 PM
BTW My question does not relate to bank reposessions - only to seizures by the police for use in the comission of a felony...



So if I have a leased vehicle and it is seized, then the first time it is seized the lease company can get the vehicle back from the police for no money (and then probably terminate my lease...)

What about if there's just an outstanding loan in the car...? Does a seizure by the police override a bank lien on the title?

When we seize a vehicle, we will do a little research into the lien, if there is one. If it is a legit lien, it will usually be given back to the bank. But, if it is a really good car and there are not a lot of payments left on it, we might by the lien out. We look at it this way, we are not out to punish the banks or lenders for the errors of others.

Hightower

Lfpdlieu302
04-27-04, 12:34 PM
When we seize a vehicle, we will do a little research into the lien, if there is one. If it is a legit lien, it will usually be given back to the bank. But, if it is a really good car and there are not a lot of payments left on it, we might by the lien out. We look at it this way, we are not out to punish the banks or lenders for the errors of others.

Hightower

we pretty much do the same. if the car is worth the cost, we will take it. now if the car is clean and clear, it definetly belongs to us.

Group9
04-28-04, 09:53 PM
When you seize a vehicle for violation of federal drug law under Title 21 USC 881, you have to conduct an investigation to look for "innocent" owners or lienholders and give them notice of the seizure so that they can petition administratvely (or file a claim in federal court if they want). The return of the car to them is not automatic. If evidence is developed of collusion ( in the case of a lienholder for instance, if they helped conceal the source of the down payment or if they assisted in the filing of a fraudulent credit application), they can find themselves losing their security interest.

The same thing can happen to an innocent owner who turns out not to be so innocent. Quite often, drug dealers will title their 2004 Escalade with the 5000 watt stereo system and "spinners" to their seventy year old grandmother who hasn't had a driver's license in ten years. These investigations can actually be a lot of fun.

If a lienholder is found to be legitimate, and the car is seized and fofeited, the lien will be paid out of proceeds at the sale of the asset.

If the vehicle is returned to the lienholder, which often happens if there is little equity in the vehicle, and the lienholder returns it to the drug dealer, they are in danger of losing their security interests if there is a second seizure for a new violation.

You ought to here them yell when that happens. :D

mcsap
04-28-04, 10:01 PM
The feds get nothing from us. If we can forfeit it for state charges, it is ours. Actually the DA decides. We just took a Dodge truck that was completely outfitted with extra fuel tanks, pumps , hoses and cans to " professionally" steal fuel.. He was caught in the act by one of our officers. The cars sit in alot until they can be auctioned off.

As others have said, if it is still upside down in the banks favor, the bank gets it back.

AnnaSwan
04-28-04, 11:20 PM
How does one "professionally steal fuel"? Do you mean drive up to the gas station, fill as many tanks as possible, and drive off? That seems logical to me, but if the guy (or gal) was doing it another way it would be interesting to know.

Scruit
04-29-04, 10:06 AM
Under what circumstances can a car be seized? Is it limited to crimes like drugs, DUI etc where specific seizure legislation exists?

Or can it be any crime in which the car is used as a criminal tool? (misd and/or fel?)

(IF any midemeanor using the car as a tool, then that could mean speeding... Or street racing. Is street racing a felony?)

rdp
04-29-04, 05:28 PM
We do it in cases where it was used in the commission of a felony or the car was purchased with funds that are from criminal activity.

I have heard of jurisdictions holding cars in impound for 60-90 days for racing and others seizing for DUIs.

Group9
04-29-04, 05:58 PM
Under what circumstances can a car be seized? Is it limited to crimes like drugs, DUI etc where specific seizure legislation exists?

Or can it be any crime in which the car is used as a criminal tool? (misd and/or fel?)

(IF any midemeanor using the car as a tool, then that could mean speeding... Or street racing. Is street racing a felony?)

It can be seized for use in commission of a crime whenever a state legislative body or Congress passes a law saying it can be seized and forfeited for that crime. Different states have different laws on when vehicles (or other property) can be seized.

Congress has authourized seizure federally in a lot of cases besides drug facilitation or proceeds. Use of a car in to faciliate violations of full automatic weapons prohibitons is one, for instance.

mcsap
04-30-04, 01:09 AM
Our fuel thief had two , one hundred gallon tanks in the bed of his truck , along with a fully oprerational electronic fuel pump and a hand cranked one. He had numerous 5 gallon cans, siphons, hoses etc. He also had a professional nozzle that would allow him to hook up to a fuel tanker or an underground tank.

He had NO job, license under suspension and his truck had receipts from the east coast. He was caught in the act of stealing fuel from 2 big straight trucks. When approaced that night, he laid the "running " siphon line on the ground and walked away letting the gas run all over the parking lot.

We convinced the DA and a judge to file for forfeiture of his truck and all of his fuel stealing equipment.

Scruit
04-30-04, 09:39 AM
At today's prices for regular, that's only $350 for 200 gallons... Do you know where he sold the gas?

mcsap
04-30-04, 10:46 AM
We don't know where he peddled his goods.