New Jersey recently passed a bill designed to deter criminals by confiscating the vehicles they use for criminal activity. A study in 2012 showed that 90% of cars involved in drug deals entering Camden came from outside the city — it is believed that impounding the cars used for criminal purposes will drastically reduce drug dealing, prostitution and the transport of illegal weapons.
The Norcross Wilson Act, named for its sponsors Senator Norcross and Assemblyman Gilbert Wilson, allows law enforcement to impound any vehicle suspected of being used for any of the following:
- Transporting illegal weapons
- Buying or selling drugs
- Committing prostitution
Vehicle owners pay the price
The owners of vehicles that are impounded for the above-mentioned activities will have to pay all of the costs associated with impounding their cars, including towing, storage and associated administrative fees.
Act fast to get your car back
The Act requires law enforcement to notify registered owners that their vehicle has been impounded. Owners then have 30 days to claim their car and pay all of the fees. Failure to claim the vehicle entitles law enforcement to sell the car at auction and deduct the fees from the proceeds. The registered owner is entitled to the balance of the sale price. In many cases, the driver of the car is not the registered owner of the car. Cars might be leased, borrowed or driven by other family members, or stolen and then used for criminal activity. Nevertheless, this Act targets the registered car owner exclusively.
Registered owners are entitled to appeal the impounding of their cars if they consider it unjust, but they must do so before the 30 days expire.
If your vehicle has been impounded under the Norcross Wilson Act and you believe that it has been unfairly taken, speak to a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer. The attorneys at Hoffman DiMuzio have been practicing criminal defense for more than 30 years in South Jersey and the surrounding areas.
Publication approved by Leonard L. Grasso, Jr., Esq., Associate of Hoffman DiMuzio