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4/11/2007
Alaska: Cars to be Seized Over Speeding Tickets
Alaska is considering legislation allowing cities to seize cars permanently over a handful of speeding tickets.

Rep Berta Gardner
An Alaska House committee last month approved HB 169, legislation allowing cities to seize automobiles from motorists who accumulate a few unpaid traffic citations. State Representative Berta Gardner (D-Anchorage) introduced the bill as a way to allow Anchorage to collect $7.6 million in unpaid tickets.

"These numbers are shocking," Gardner said in a statement.

In response, the Anchorage, Alaska Assembly voted yesterday to implement its own traffic ticket seizure program, even before final passage of HB 169. The Anchorage ordinance claims that public safety concerns authorize the city to take any car for thirty days if a motorist fails to pay up after being charged with three moving violations worth $1000 after various late fees are assessed. The seizure rule applies even if the motorist is later found not guilty on any of the original charges. If the motorist accumulates another three tickets within ten years, the city will sell the motorist's car and keep the profits.

Each seizure is designed to raise an additional $390 in administrative charges, plus an estimated $140 in towing and storage fees. All hearings are held under civil procedures that allow the taking of property without the constitutional protections such as the prohibition of excessive fines.

Between 2001 and 2005, Anchorage issued 180,514 traffic citations for violations including careless driving, failure to yield, unsafe backing and miscellaneous "turning violations." The city's seizure ordinance is available in a 752k PDF file at the source link below.

Article Excerpt:
Alaska General Assembly

CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 169(CRA)
"An Act relating to municipal impoundment and forfeiture."
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:

* Section 1. AS 28.01.015(a) is amended to read:

(a) Notwithstanding other provisions in this title, a municipality may adopt an ordinance providing for the impoundment or forfeiture of a

(1) motor vehicle, watercraft, or aircraft involved in the commission of an offense under AS 28.35.030, 28.35.032, or an ordinance with elements substantially similar to AS 28.35.030 or 28.35.032;

(2) motor vehicle involved in the commission of an offense under AS 28.15.291 or an ordinance with elements similar to AS 28.15.291;

(3) motor vehicle used by a person whose license is suspended under AS 28.22.041; [OR]

(4) motor vehicle used by a person who fails to carry proof of insurance as required under AS 28.22.019; or

(5) motor vehicle used by a person who has $1,000 or more in delinquent traffic fines for violations committed within the municipality.
Source: PDF File Anchorage Ordinance 2007-60 (Anchorage, Alaska Assembly, 4/10/2007)



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