Civil Liberties

Arizona Expands Seizure Laws


…and reaps the bounty :

Last January, an Arizona law took effect requiring police to seize the vehicles of individuals accused—but not convicted—of certain violations. Already at least two jurisdictions are generating millions in revenue.

The law mandates that police impound a vehicle for 30 days if the police officer suspects its driver had a suspended license or a blood alcohol content of 0.15 or more. Pima County and Tuscon together tow nearly a thousand cars a month, bringing $5 million in fees and fines annually. Under the new law, each violation nets up to $450 in fees and fines divided up between the jurisdictions and towing companies who often are able to keep cars when the fees are inflated beyond the vehicle's value. These fees come on top of fines for the various offenses that can exceed $2000.

Jim Mooney, owner of Frontier Towing, told the Arizona Daily Star that he was purchasing four $85,000 tow trucks to keep up with the increase in seizures.

This is pretty interesting, too:

Tuscon also seizes automobiles from individuals who transport individuals for medical care without first checking their citizenship status.