Impoundment of Vehicles for 39:3-29 Violations

On June 9, 2004, the provisions of N.J.S.A. 39:3-29.1a become effective. This new statute (enacted last year) will require a person who has been issued a summons and complaint charging a violation of N.J.S.A. 39:3-29 for failure to produce insurance credentials to provide the issuing law enforcement agency with proof of insurance within 24 hours. Failure to do so shall result in the issuance of a warrant (the statute does not specify who will issue it) for the immediate impoundment of the vehicle. A copy N.J.S.A. 39:3-29-1a is included with this muni-mail.

39:3-29.1a. Failure to provide proof of insurance; impoundment and sale of vehicle

a. Upon the issuance of a summons for failing to possess or exhibit an insurance identification card in violation of R.S.39:3-29, the violator or registrant shall have 24 hours from the time of the citation to provide the issuing law enforcement agency with the insurance identification card, or other satisfactory proof of insurance. Failure to provide the insurance identification card or other satisfactory proof of insurance within the 24 hour time frame shall result in the issuance of a warrant for the immediate impoundment of the vehicle that was being operated when the summons was issued. A motor vehicle impounded pursuant to the provisions of this subsection shall be removed to a storage space or garage. The registrant shall be responsible for the cost of the removal and storage of the impounded motor vehicle.

b. (1) If the registrant fails to claim a motor vehicle impounded pursuant to subsection a. of this section and pay the reasonable costs of removal and storage by midnight of the 30th day following impoundment, along with a fine of $100 to cover the administrative costs of the municipality wherein the violation occurred, and after a hearing, the municipality may sell the motor vehicle at public auction. The municipality shall give notice of the sale by certified mail to the registrant of the motor vehicle and to the holder of any security interest filed with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, and by publication in a form to be prescribed by the director by one insertion, at least five days before the date of the sale, in one or more newspapers published in this State and circulating in the municipality in which the motor vehicle has been impounded.

(2) At any time prior to the sale, the registrant or other person entitled to the motor vehicle may reclaim possession of it upon providing satisfactory proof of motor vehicle liability insurance coverage and payment of the reasonable costs of removal and storage of the motor vehicle and any outstanding fines or penalties; provided, however, if the other person entitled to the motor vehicle is a lessor or the holder of a lien on the motor vehicle, he may reclaim the motor vehicle without payment. In such cases, the registrant shall be liable for all outstanding costs, fines and penalties, and the municipality shall have a lien against the property and income of that registrant for the total amount of those outstanding costs, fines and penalties.

(3) Any proceeds obtained from the sale of a motor vehicle at public auction pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection in excess of the amount owed to the municipality for the reasonable costs of removal and storage of the motor vehicle and any outstanding fines or penalties shall be returned to the registrant of the vehicle.

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