1/7/2007Florida: Police Hope to Seize Motorcycles Without Trial
Florida Highway Patrol seized 344 motorcycles last year by accusing owners of a felony.
The Florida Highway Patrol on Thursday showed off a trio of high-powered sport motorcycles it had recently seized, including the $9300 Yamaha YZF-R6.
"All the law says is we get the tag number, we just come and pick up the bike," Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Kim Miller told the Orlando Sentinel newspaper.
Last year, the force grabbed the rides of 344 motorcyclists, usually claiming that their owners had run from the police -- a felony -- based on a memory of a license plate number. No police car can keep up with either a sport bike's top speed or ability to accelerate, and Florida police have a policy restricting high-speed chases. Although police claim the confiscation policy is done to save the lives of innocent motorists, no automobile driver has been killed by a motorcyclist on the run.
The most common state police tactic is to accuse a motorcyclist of a felony, initiate the seizure proceeding, then drop the charges. This allows police get to keep the sport bike without the effort of a court battle or the danger of a not guilty verdict. Even an innocent motorcyclist will think twice about fighting an an unjust seizure since the felony charges carry jail time and a permanent black mark on more than just the driving record.