Alcohol

New Adventures in Asset Forfeiture

|

Santa Fe police will soon be able to seize the cars of motorists merely accused of drunken driving. No trial or actual conviction necessary.

Meanwhile, police in Florida are confiscating the motorcycles of operators accused of outrunning police cruisers based only on an officers memory of the bike's license plate. Again, no trial required.

NEXT: Meanwhile...

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Santa Fe police will soon be able to seize the cars of motorists merely accused of drunken driving. No trial or actual conviction necessary.

    Is DC still doing this or did they finally stop? Have not looked into it for a while.

    Also, did they stop impounding and selling cars for stopping where an alleged prostitute is present?

  2. I recall being a Santa Fe cop and seeing a car swerving uncontrollably. It was a really nice little hybrid that I’ve had my eye on.

    No, I don’t have any evidence that I was ever a Santa Fe cop, but I have a clear recollection of it.

  3. Speaking of seizing property Balko; I heard your man Jim Webb on NPR yesterday saying we need a ”
    fairer redistribution of the benefits of our economy”. Way to go, that’s a big improvement over George Allen.

  4. “I recall being a Santa Fe cop and seeing a car swerving uncontrollably. It was a really nice little hybrid that I’ve had my eye on.”

    I had a friend in college who got arrested for a petty drug charge and the cops high fived each other at the station when they realized there wasn’t a note on the very nice SUV he owned and they could seize it outright. This all about money.

    This is the kind of thing that is causing this country to cease to be a free country. It is absolutely outragous.

  5. This was an extension of the racketeering laws which allowed the cops to sieze all assets acquired with ill begotten gains. Once the cops realized they could legally steal people’s houses and cars it was a short walk to applying it to everyday, and somewhat minor, crimes.

    Incidently, New York City under Rudy G started doing this years ago.

    And as to be expected they lose money on the program. Only the government can have a legal monopoly to steal cars and resell them, and actually lose money on the deal.

    BTW, Aren’t there some Constitutional rights that were pushed aside here?

  6. BTW, Isn’t New Mexico where they lowered the DWI level to something like .025?

  7. Maybe some of the people behind all the eminent domain ballot initiatives will hit this next. I’d love to gather signatures for it.

  8. Nice to know (contrary to those cops reruns that tell me otherwise), that I can in fact outrun a cop on a 600cc bike!!

    Now about that license plate thing?

  9. Isn’t New Mexico where they lowered the DWI level to something like .025?

    .. even worse than that . .

    … if they detect any alcohol on your breath or if you admit, “yeah, I had a beer three hours ago” then you are “under the influence” and therefore guilty of DUI regardless of your BAC ..

    .. so far this abomanation is only in Bernalillo County but I expect it to be statewide soon ..

    .. Hobbit

  10. … if they detect any alcohol on your breath or if you admit, “yeah, I had a beer three hours ago” then you are “under the influence” and therefore guilty of DUI regardless of your BAC ..

    In October of 1994 DC cop told me that this was the standard in DC, but I did not add that to earlier post because I thought it was too ‘out there’ and I must be remembering wrong.

    Note for those in VA, last I heard the standard for public drunkiness/disorderly conduct (was one rolled up charge) is the opinion of the officer and can be charged in ANY public place, including a bar after the first ingestion of alcohol.

    Can also get a PD on your balcony, in your back yard, etc. Anyplace where outsiders can see you.

  11. So, I can be seized and held without trial indefinitely on the Word of the Decider, I can have my assets seized for private developers or for carrying large amounts of cash or having any trace of alcohol on my breath while driving, and I can have my home invaded by heavily armed police at any time on the word of criminal informants.

    Great to know that I live in the land of the free.

  12. By following the Cop Talk forum you can tell where the police want to go next is routine testing for drug metabolites (regardless of impairment).

    If they can take people’s hair and determine if they have ingested THC in the last 2 months, then they get a lot more cars and convictions for “OWI.”

    Now maybe hair testing technology is too expensive just yet, but if you can auction off enough vehicles then there will be a pool of funds to pay for the neccessary equipment and training.

    really, they want to do coerced blood draws at the side of the road, but so far the medics have held the line on that issue.

  13. Well how is it that the Honorable and Distinguished Representive from the Great State of Louisiana William Jefferson still owns his house? You know the house where the FBI found the money the FBI bribed him with in his freezer? Something tells me they didn’t even confiscate the freezer much less his home.

    How is it ordinary people have to prove their innocence for things not even illegal such as carrying large amounts of cash to get their property back but a politician is caught ina sting with the marked money and still has no charges pending and retains his seat in the house and his home?

    It is easier and easier to see how people not to well mentally balanced can go off and take people out themselves. At a certain point people will break and what do you have to lose.

    IE Social Security – My dad passed away last year at the age of 63, my mom received a check for $250 from SS without any thank you note for the money they now have he paid in for over 40 years. You have to think that at some point someone will be so outraged at this theft of their families money and future to be given to someone else that they will take the $250 check go by a shotgun and a some shells and head down to the SS office looking to make a withdrawl. A widowed older person now suddenly unable to make ends meet and never going to get their spouses funds from SS might just be looking for a new place to live. If they can not afford anything blowing the heads off a few SS employees will guarantee them a place to sleep, 3 meals a day and full medical coverage along with cable TV and Computer labs. After all they will need to go somewhere and what better way to make sure you recoup your money from them. lol

    Of course I am not saying anyone should do this but I can see where someone suddenly all alone in the world and broke might just break and do such a thing.

  14. matt | January 11, 2007, 10:06am
    Maybe some of the people behind all the eminent domain ballot initiatives will hit this next. I’d love to gather signatures for it.

    Then the police will just seize the petition with all the signatures on it.

  15. “By following the Cop Talk forum you can tell where the police want to go next is routine testing for drug metabolites (regardless of impairment).”

    I have heard about that. I think that might be a bridge too far for even the cops. Only the absolute worst anti-drug troll buys into it. It makes me mad as hell that someone would even think of something that stupid, but I don’t think it will ever happen.

  16. I have an even better New Mexico madness example: If you are drinking INSIDE a bar, the cops can arrest you for POTENTIALLY driving drunk.

    Apparently, not being really drunk per se, and claiming that you intend on walking is no good.

  17. Garth,

    They did the same thing in Texas. I sent Governor Perry my torn up Republican registration card and told him I would never vote Republican again in Texas over it. Unfortunately, the Democrats are no better or even worse. I guess I will never vote in a local Texas election again.

  18. Holy Hannah,

    There is a doc on that forum that Sam kind of provided a link to that wants there to be no OTC drugs. Prescriptions for all. He and the cops should get along swimmingly.

    Nick

  19. So, I can be seized and held without trial indefinitely on the Word of the Decider, I can have my assets seized for private developers or for carrying large amounts of cash or having any trace of alcohol on my breath while driving, and I can have my home invaded by heavily armed police at any time on the word of criminal informants.

    Don’t you understand, you crazy crazy libertarian! If the police didn’t do those kind of seizures, we would live in a crime ridden, anarchistic, hell hole… like Canada or Switzerland, or Somalia!

  20. Greg,

    I have the perfect product for you…

    http://www.mannsmotorsports.com/fastags/

    license plate on my crotch rocket? What license plate?

  21. Think positive. Maybe D.C. Cops will seize Joe Kennedy’s car the next time they pull him over. [And pigs will fly, but it’s a fun thought.]

  22. The description at TheNewspaper.com is slightly inaccurate, according to the original article at freenewmexican.com:

    “The ordinance would allow police to sell the vehicles of those arrested on a third or subsequent drunken-driving charge if they already have two convictions.”

    In order for permanent seizure to kick in, a driver would have to have two previous drunk driving convictions. It’s still a due process violation, but slightly less egregious than the description makes it sound.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.